River Royale Cabins
With only one suite, cabin selection on the River Royale depends on location and whether you have a French balcony, window, or porthole. All the standard cabins are fairly small by ocean ship standards (but rather large for a river ship), but they're magnificently decorated and luxuriously appointed.
Standard cabins with windows or portholes (only the 10 cabins on the lowest deck have the latter) are 154 square ft; French balcony cabins -- a feature River Royale is the first in the fleet to offer -- are slightly smaller at 141 square ft. Opinions are divided over whether the French balcony was more useful than the extra space in the window cabins; some passengers like to keep the door open for natural ventilation (note that the air-conditioning shuts off when the door opens; it comes back on when the door is closed), while others prefer the slightly deeper cabin. Regardless, all contain the same furnishings: a queen-sized bed that can be separated into twins, two nightstands, two chairs and a cocktail table, a vanity/desk with stool, a large hanging wardrobe and a smaller one with shelves, and a fairly generous bathroom with shower.
All the cabins have flat-panel televisions with BBC World, CNBC Europe, CNN International and Sky News plus two movie channels, a ship information channel, and a "view from the bridge" channel; a direct-dial phone; a powerful hair dryer; and an electronic keypad safe. The lighting is extraordinary and consists of various types of direct and indirect lighting and dimmer switches that are backlit when turned off (so you never have to fumble for them in the dark). You'll also find both European 220V and North American 110V electrical outlets in both the cabin and (for shavers only) the bathroom.
The decor and appointments of all the cabins are first-rate. The French balcony cabins, on Deck 3, Azure Deck, are decorated in white and blue; the window cabins, on Deck 2, Burgundy Deck, in cream and red; and the porthole cabins, on Deck 1, Champagne Deck, in cream and tan. The decor may strike some as a bit overdone -- especially the red Deck 2 cabins, which have wallpaper that's far too busily patterned for a small space -- but the quality of materials and workmanship is first-rate, and continues through to things like the superb monogrammed Egyptian cotton bedding, the same featured in the five-star Red Carnation Hotels owned by Uniworld's parent company.
Bathrooms, while compact, are still larger than those on many oceangoing ships and have wood floors, granite countertops, big under-sink drawers (in lieu of medicine cabinets), magnifying makeup mirrors, soft night-lights under the sink, and fully tiled walls. The shower is a fairly spacious, fully-glass enclosure with a detachable showerhead with good water pressure and plenty of hot water. Toiletries -- un-branded but of very high quality -- come in big bottles that are refilled daily and again come from Red Carnation Hotels, including shower gel, conditioning shampoo and body lotion.
For those wanting more space, the ship's sole suite is similar to the French balcony cabins albeit with a bigger bathroom with a larger shower and a separate room for the toilet, a sitting area with sofa, and more storage space. It measures 215 sq ft and is a worthy splurge for those who like to spend time in their cabins. (This is one area where the ship differs from those designed and built for Uniworld; those have four larger suites. Since River Royale only has one, it's in high demand; book early if you want it!)
Next: River Royale Dining
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