Joanna Hall
Cruise Critic Contributor
3.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

The ship has 60 cabins and staterooms in three categories, all of which have a private bathroom, air conditioning, electric blankets for the winter months, and bath amenities (soap, shower gel, shampoo, shower caps and towels) provided per person. Accommodations are serviced daily, with nightly turndown including pillow chocolates. There are no telephones, televisions or alarm clocks, and there's no Wi-Fi in the cabins. Regardless of category, cabins and staterooms are all approximately the same size at just under 12 square metres (130 square feet), although they vary in configuration.

There are nine inside twin/double cabins on Chaffey Deck, which open onto an inside passageway and have portholes facing the outside. The 45 outside cabins on Randell and Cadell Decks open onto the outside deck, have small picture windows, and are configured as a twin/double or triple. There are also six staterooms on Randell and Cadell Decks; these open onto the outside deck, with the addition of an extra window, a fridge, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Four have a double and single bed, and two have a double bed only. The older-style staterooms have a simple decor with off- white walls, a greenish-gray carpet, pink and grey patchwork-style quilted bedcovers, and teak-coloured furniture including a small closet and a dresser with a chair. The picture windows on outside staterooms slide open for fresh air and have plastic Venetian-style blinds. The bathrooms are small, with a shower, minisink and toilet but very little storage space. Four cabins are designed for wheelchair access; two feature twin beds and two feature a double bed and a single bed, and all include continuous level bathrooms, special doors and handrails.

Our accommodation on the four-night Heritage Cruise was a newly refurbished stateroom located forward on the left-hand side of Cadell Deck, close to the wheelhouse. It had three picture windows, including one on the door. It was reasonably spacious, with a double and single bed fitted with crisp white linen, gold satin-finish bedspreads, and dark grey, patterned-fabric cushions for decoration. Although off-white walls remained from the old design, the carpet was new and chocolate brown in colour, with a flecked pattern. Also part of the new, more contemporary look were ash-wood wall panels at the head of both beds, with padded fabric insets sporting a grey background and a swirl of rich red and dark brown leaves. Furniture-wise, there were small, built-in bedside tables; a decent built-in chest of drawers in one corner, with six large, deep drawers and a large mirror above it; and a dresser with a recess for the small fridge and a door hiding a dustbin. The closet was quite small, with just six hangers; most of the hanging space was occupied by extra pillows, blankets and lifejackets. (Unfortunately, there wasn't really anywhere else to put them.) Completing the new look were two leather-finish chairs.

Our bathroom had received a little attention in the refurbishment, with a new vanity including a long narrow shelf, and a new toilet with a shelf above it, both providing storage for your toiletries. The chrome shower curtain rail was rusty in places, however, and the buttons used to flush the toilet stuck from time to time. (They didn't work at all on our first day on board, which was quickly resolved by the engineer.)

There were some nice touches in the room, including a live plant, a souvenir mug per person to use during your cruise and take home, and three bottles of spring water, which are refillable from the Paddlewheel Cafe on Randell Deck. (The tap water on board is fine for brushing your teeth, but as it's pumped into the ship from the river in an eco-friendly move, it's not suitable for drinking.) The tea- and coffee-making facilities included an electric kettle with three sets of cups, saucers and spoons, along with tea bags, sachets of instant coffee and sugar, tiny cartons of fresh milk in the fridge, and biscuits, all replenished daily as necessary.

As the Murray Princess is modelled on an authentic paddle wheeler, there are plenty of period-style fixtures. The air-conditioning is one; it comes through a central system in the middle of the ship, and pumps cold air through a vent midway up the wall in the bathroom. It isn't adjustable beyond opening and shutting the vent; while it worked fine on hot days while fully open, you have to have the bathroom door open to benefit from it, and you can hear some of what's going on in bathrooms in the staterooms around you, such as coughing, which can be a bit disconcerting at first. Outside staterooms also open onto decks, which is great for getting outside quickly to see something interesting, but results in a bit of a lack of privacy in your room. You also need to take care opening the door as it opens outwards, and you risk hitting someone passing by. The passenger decks outside staterooms are painted metal and can be noisy when people walk by wearing certain types of shoes, or worse still, when the early risers gather on deck to chat over morning coffee. Public announcements can also disturb you, as they are shipwide (including on the outside passenger decks) and include calls to meals and notifications as to when the souvenir shop is open.

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