Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

Jasper's 85 river-view cabins are located on the Jewel (lower), Sapphire (middle) and Diamond (upper) decks. They are divided into six categories: Royal Panorama, Royal, Junior, Deluxe Balcony and Balcony suites, plus Standard Staterooms. In most cases, the use of the word "suite" is rather a misnomer as only the Royal Panorama and Royal cabins feature an integrated floor-to-ceiling sliding door, so they can be divided into two rooms with a separate living and bedroom area. However, all the cabins make excellent use of space and light.

The majority of cabins on the Sapphire and Diamond decks are Deluxe Balcony and Balcony suites, measuring 205 square feet and 225 square feet, respectively. Aside from the slight difference in size, there is not much to tell them apart. These decks also have Junior Suites, which are 250 square feet, and there is one cosy single cabin on the Sapphire Deck, which has all the standard amenities but is half the size of a Balcony Suite with a fixed window.

The most spacious cabins are on the upper deck. The four Royal Suites, located midship, measure 350 square feet, and the wow factor pair of Royal Panorama Suites, situated aft, are a generous 475 square feet.

The Standard Staterooms on the Jewel Deck measure 160 square feet and have a fixed window set high on the wall.

An innovative feature in all cabins, bar those on the Jewel Deck, is the "balconies", which are an integral part of the room. Typical outside balconies become redundant areas in bad weather, but with Jasper's set-up, the space can be used all the time. Each balcony comprises a floor-to-ceiling window that drops down halfway, or anywhere else in between, at the flick of a switch. This gives a real open-air feel on sunny days and provides fresh air at night. There are two wicker chairs and a table in this area, and it can be divided off from the rest of the cabin by folding concertina-style glass doors, but they are fiddly to use. We left ours folded back the whole time as it made the cabin seem larger.

The sense of space is amplified by the generous use of mirrors, which can take a bit of getting used to as you see your reflection at virtually every turn. There is a floor-to-ceiling glass mirror by the door, and additional mirrors on each side of the bed over the bedside cabinets, above the dressing table/desk, inside the bathroom door and, where you'd expect to find them, above the wash basin.

The blissfully comfortable beds can be configured as twins if required. Bed linen is Egyptian cotton, custom made for Scenic, and the pillow menu features seven down and synthetic options.

There is plenty of room to stow everything away in the main cabin area. Standard amenities include bedside tables with drawers, room under the bed for suitcases, shelves above the dressing table/desk and an adjoining narrow shelf. Although the sliding wardrobe doors make sense from a space-saving perspective, we found them rather irritating and noisy. When one door is open the other side of the wardrobe is obscured, and you end up constantly sliding them back and forth. Still, it's good to see proper wooden hangers -- not the horrid, awkward fixed ones that treat passengers as potential hanger thieves. (And if you need any more, for hanging in the wardrobe, of course, you can ask reception.)

All cabin categories have safes, iPod/iPad docking stations, iMac or Mac mini and keyboard, a pair of Tailormade devices, umbrella, two sets of Nordic walking poles, shoe horn and shoe shine. Ear plugs are a thoughtful touch for light sleepers, not that the ship is noisy. The electricity supply is 220v and there are European power points, plus one Australian socket. U.S. travellers with 110v appliances need to bring an adaptor and convertor. These are also available from reception for a small deposit.

Scenic loves high-tech gadgets. The grey cube on the bedside table is a clock. Clap or make a noise, and it bursts into life. The entertainment system, which includes a good choice of TV stations, films on demand and music -- divided into different genres -- also includes a soothing fireplace effect. It was unnerving to discover a "Big Brother" webcam pointing at the lounge, but it is only turned on during the cruise director's nightly talk for those who want to watch from their cabin. To save hanging "do not disturb" or "make up my cabin" signs outside the door, there are switches that illuminate a red or green light. For the uninitiated, it's easy to leave the former switched on.

The showers across all cabin categories are a good size with proper glass doors. The controls and variety of jets -- which include a rather odd one positioned at stomach level -- can take a bit of getting used to, so it's worth asking the butler for instructions. There is ample storage in the bathrooms, and the cabinet over the basin has a sliding door with shelves on one side and a fixed shaving/makeup mirror on the other, plus a good plug-in hair dryer. Towels are super fluffy, and quality robes and slippers are provided. All bathrooms are stocked with L'Occitane soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

Extras in Royal Panorama and Royal suites include bath tubs (and separate toilet in the Panorama cabins), larger sizes of L'Occitane products, nifty hydraulic air beds that can help you sit up or put your feet up at the touch of a button and a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Champagne on arrival. The minibars are also stocked with miniature bottles of Champagne (although any passenger can get a glass of fizz from 11 a.m. onwards at the bar).

A really useful idea, particularly for anyone not used to butlers or unsure about their duties, is a card in the room setting out butler services. These are on a sliding scale, dependent on cabin category, starting with a shoe shine, concierge service and restocking the minibar in Standard Cabins. In the top suites, extra services include packing and unpacking, arranging in-room cocktail drinks and even running a bath.

For all passengers, a handy touch is the "A to Z of Wonder" box, a sleek container housing a comprehensive ship guide, postcards, pen, notepad and other bits and pieces, keeping everything tidily in one place.

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