River Empress Cabins
- Pro: Impeccable service, sumptuous cabins and delicious cuisine are hallmarks of the ship
- Con: Limited facilities compared to more modern river ships
- Bottom Line: An outstanding ship, with some of the best service on the water
River Empress Cabins
If it wasn't for the fact there was a river directly outside your window, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were staying in a boutique hotel when you first step into your cabin. The walls are padded with an elegant blue pattern, and swirls of braided yellow throughout. The bed is vast and supremely comfortable. The carpet is thick and plush, and the walls are adorned with prints.
The overall effect is of high-end, traditional luxury: sumptuous, inviting and -- despite being quite small -- somewhere you'd be quite happy to stay awhile, read a book or just watch the river go by.
Riverview: The 65 cabins are an identical 153 square feet, the only difference being the deck they are located on and size of the windows. Those on Deck 4 have two floor-to-ceiling sliding-glass windows, creating a French balcony. Cabins on Deck 3 have two large windows, while those on the lowest deck have small windows located just at the waterline, which can be slightly claustrophobic especially when entering locks.
The cabins are exquisitely designed and despite the massive (very comfortable) bed right in the center of the room, make the most of the space. A floor-to-ceiling mirror at the back of the bed -- which takes up a whole wall -- adds to this feeling of spaciousness.
The color scheme is pale beige and wheat, with touches of deep blue. Cabins are outfitted with a dressing table/desk topped with black-and-beige-veined marble, a small round table and chair, two closets (with a pair of slippers inside), six drawers, a safe, a hair dryer (in the bathroom) and a flat-screen TV that carries an enormous number of channels including CNN, CNBC, BBC World News, Sky News, MTV, RTL and some non-English channels, as well as radio channels.
Beds can be arranged as two singles or one queen; a small bendy reading light is positioned over each bed. Cabins feature wonderfully comfy Savoir-brand beds, a choice of Egyptian cotton duvet or sheets and blankets, and a pillow menu, complete with monogrammed pillowcases.
Heavy drapes keep out any trace of sunlight.
There are a variety of plug sockets beside the dresser, catering for European, UK and U.S. passengers.
You also get a branded metal water bottle to use on shore excursions and to take away as a souvenir. It's a very nice touch.
The bathroom is small, but very efficient with a marble-tiled shower and a glass folding door. The shower is powerful and hot and can be detached to use as a spray. Products are high-end L'Occitane from the South of France, but apart from in the suite bathrooms, they are in dispensers fixed to the walls (except, oddly, the the conditioner, which comes in a small bottle).
A white porcelain sink is inlaid in a wood vanity with a small trashcan and storage space; the drinking glasses are white porcelain -- a nice touch. There is a fluffy robe hanging on the door.
There are 12 interconnecting cabins (eight on the 400 Deck, and four on the 300 Deck), which are ideal for families.
Suite: The four suites are 225 square feet in size and are roughly one and a half times the size of a standard cabin. They have three floor-to-ceiling windows, two of which slide open, and a third which is fixed. There is a separate sitting area, with a small desk and two chairs.
There is a large desk, with a coffee machine; as well as a complimentary mini-bar and an extra cupboard.
All suites share a butler, on hand to help with making reservations or confirming shore excursions, amongst other duties. They also get premium drinks included (and in the suite), part of the ship's "Diamond Selection" of premium alcohol brands.
The bathroom is also about one and a half times as big as a standard bathroom, with twin hand basins and a large shower space. The products are Hermes, supplied in small bottles.
There are no cabins accessible for wheelchairs.
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