All the accommodations on L'Austral are located forward, with all the public rooms aft. There's only one stairwell, at the aft end of the accommodations section, so the forward elevator comes under some pressure, although given the small size of the ship, this is hardly a concern for the able-bodied.
Because several of the cabins interconnect to create suites, the capacity of the ship can vary. The maximum configuration is four suites and 128 non-suite cabins (132 staterooms total), and in a heavier ratio of suites to non-suites, it's 24 suites and 88 non-suite staterooms (112 staterooms total). L'Austral and its sisters are often booked for full charters or corporate events, which makes this flexibility handy.
There are six categories of cabins, although there's not much difference between the middle categories besides their location. Decor is beautiful throughout, featuring calming neutrals of chocolate, taupe and cream, and sumptuous textures of silk, satin, white leather and marble, with potted orchids by the beds and photographic prints on the walls. All accommodations have individually controlled air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, iPod chargers and flat screen TVs. The bathroom products are L'Occitane in the standard cabins and Sothys in the suites. What's special about the bathrooms is that, in all categories except the Owner's Suite, a panel slides across to reveal a wall of glass, so you can stand in the shower and look out to sea if you wish -- an innovative touch. If you're sharing the cabin and want to preserve your modesty, you can, of course, shower with the wall panel closed.
The Owner's Suite (484 square feet with a 97-square-foot balcony) on Deck 5 has a separate living and dining area, as well as a large bathroom with bath and a guest bathroom, and a double-width teak balcony. Three Deluxe Suites (290 square feet plus a 54 square-foot balcony), also on Deck 6, each have a sofa, two showers, a built-in bar and dressing room, and they're wider than the next category down.
The Prestige Suites are essentially two Prestige cabins (situated on Decks 4 and 5), combined to create an area of 398 square feet plus an 86 square-foot double-width balcony. Each of these has two bathrooms with showers and a sofa where the second bed would normally be; they're ideal for families. Half of one of these is a Prestige stateroom (200 square feet plus a 43 square-foot balcony). These are no different in size from the 28 Deluxe staterooms; it's purely location that defines the price. Finally, there are eight Superior staterooms forward on Deck 3, slightly bigger at 226 square feet, but with picture windows in place of a balconies. All cabins have sitting areas with sofas and long vanities with drawer space. Wardrobe space, too, is generous.
Furniture on each of the standard balconies is two rattan chairs and a small table. A handful of balconies at the forward end of the ship have solid panels, so check carefully if a private sunbathing space is important.
Three cabins are wheelchair-adapted; the whole ship is wheelchair-friendly, but split-level decks mean complicated chairlifts need to be used to get up or down the equivalent of a few stairs.
Next: L'Austral Dining
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