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Elbe Princesse Cabins

Editor Rating
Brittany Chrusciel

Elbe Princesse accommodates up to 80 passengers in 40 cabins across two decks. There are 24 rooms on the upper deck, also called the Pont Superieur, and 16 cabins on the main deck, or Pont Principal. Of these, 34 are standard cabins, two are small category A, and another two are small category B. There is one single cabin and one accessible cabin. The color scheme of black and white with teal and magenta accents is found throughout the ship, and this includes the cabins. All cabin doors are pink; beds have crisp white comforters with throw pillows that are teal on one side with a black-and-white pattern on the other. Curtains are teal, as well as the plush stools near the desk (with a black strip in the middle and black-and-white detail). There's also a white plastic chair that tucks into the desk. Color does not carry over to the bathrooms, which are pure white, save a small-tile mosaic border that looks like stones in various tans and browns.

Upper deck staterooms feature a French balcony with sliding-glass doors, while the lower deck rooms have rather large windows; aside from that, there is little difference between the two. One room on the upper deck is wheelchair-accessible. All beds face a window, and can be divided into two separate twin beds or pushed together to form one. Although they were comfortable, we found the beds to be narrow, even when pushed together; rolling across from one to the other would be a challenge. All cabins are equipped with an air-conditioning/central heating unit, a shower with folding-glass door, a flat-screen satellite TV (that can fold up into the ceiling), a desk nearly the length of one wall, storage, cabin-to-cabin phone, safe, hair dryer and 220 V electrical outlets. It's important to note that there are no U.S. outlets available on the ship, so adapters are essential (and converters if you plan to use a hair straightener, for example). Do not disturb/please makeup my room door tags are located on the back of each cabin door, but so is a tag indicating a need for repairs, which we've never seen.

We felt the room lighting to be a little strange -- often too dark or too bright. Your key card is required to use any electricity, meaning your phone won't charge if you're not in the room. A switch outside the door provides ample light for the bathroom, but no low light at night. The cabin could be fully lit, but we preferred to turn on the low-lit strip behind the bed or behind the desk, along with the funky one-dimensional desk lamp that emitted a substantial glow. Two reading lights could be found with thin metallic switches on either side, but we wished there was a way to turn that shared light off from both sides. There's a switch to fold the television screen in or out from the ceiling, but it was such a terribly noisy affair we didn't touch it the entire sailing. (There are about three English-speaking news channels, with the majority in French and then German.) During the day, the natural light from the window or sliding doors was enough (and of course, you want to take in the view). Like many river cruise ships, however, Elbe Princesse is often docked very close to other vessels or right in town, so privacy goes out the window. A sheer curtain behind the thick teal curtain could possibly solve this problem. Instead, it was all or nothing -- the main curtain does not part so you must entirely block out the outside or risk putting on a show for passersby.

Standard Cabins: The cabins on Elbe Princesse are compact at 156 square feet. Twenty of these cabins are located on the upper deck, and 14 on the lower deck. We felt cozy as a solo traveler in a French balcony room and had trouble imagining the room with a second person in it. Two closets offer plenty of nice wooden hangers to store jackets or dresses; a shelf is above for folded shirts as well as below, to organize shoes. There are two other cabinets with narrow, tiny shelves; we could just fit a hairbrush horizontally, a fellow passenger laid out his ties. Suitcases fit under the bed. The desk offers plenty of surface area to put your things, with a small cubby that runs underneath, along with a deep drawer. The desk is where you'll find your audio device, with a charger and headphones for tours. At first we found it strange the air vents were built into the desk, but when we had a damp umbrella, it quickly dried by laying it across and turning on the heat. (Hint: The cabinet underneath will not reveal more storage, but the inner workings of the air system, so don't open it.) A dial shows temperature in Celsius, but indicates a line for room temperature (we found the heating and cooling to work well). A wooden frame offers a shelf above the bed (where the life jackets are stored) and a cubby on either side, with plenty of space to charge a phone, put a book or leave a glass of water. Having two mirrors -- a large square one above the desk and a full-length one near the bed -- was refreshing while getting ready.

All bathrooms offer travel-size bottles of CroisiEurope-branded shampoo and a shampoo/bodywash combo in lime-flower-and-gingko scent; oddly, there were two versions of shampoo but no conditioner. The showerhead made up for the lack of toiletries, thanks to four push-button settings -- our favorite was the rotating jets that did something like a figure eight. It's also adjustable, a bonus for tall people. Bathrooms also have a nice-size, fog-free makeup mirror with a built-in light. A plug for razors is on the wall to the right of the bathroom mirror. Near the sink there is room for toothbrushes, hand soap and toothpaste, but the only other place to leave things in the bathroom is a small space above the toilet; if two people use a lot of lotions and potions, they might very well run out of room. The toilets utilize flush tanks and not vacuums, which is an interesting choice given that the latter are more water efficient. This left us holding down the appropriate flush buttons for an extended time to make sure everything flushed, rather than getting sucked out automatically like many other ship toilets.

Smaller Cabin A: These rooms, located on the upper deck (204 and 216) contain two twin beds and measure 129 square feet. Cabins in smaller categories only have a small side table and not the same storage space as standard cabins. They also do not feature a full-length mirror.

Smaller Cabin B: Two rooms on the lower deck (104, 116) measure 117 square feet, and feature two twin beds.

Accessible Cabin: Room 202 is the wheelchair-accessible cabin onboard. At 141 square feet, the doorway clearance is wide and the bathroom features a large shower with no lip, a curtain and a bench. The layout makes it feel more spacious than a standard room. It is a rarity to have an accessible cabin on a river ship, and this one is located right on the lobby so there is ease of access to the front desk and the gangway. However, the restaurant is downstairs and there's no elevator onboard. The line does not suggest traveling onboard this ship if you are unable to climb the stairs down to the dining room. (Other ships in CroisiEurope's fleet are three decks and those have an elevator onboard.)

Single Cabin: One cabin is categorized for the solo traveler onboard -- room 224 -- located on the upper deck. It measures 123 square feet and features just one single bed.

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