The ship has 106 river-facing cabins spread across four decks, including the enclosed section of the upper Sun Deck. Due to the size of the ship, the cabins come in a total of 16 categories, which might initially seem bewildering but many are the same and the main difference is down to their position on the ship. Although the cabin decor is somewhat bland with dark wood fittings and orange and cream decor with striped carpets, they are comfy and very well soundproofed.
Cabins on the lower Main Deck have fixed windows. Notably, cabins on all the other decks -- bar four -- have full walkout verandas.
The in-cabin radio, which is used for announcements and broadcasts music during the day or can be set to silent, has a novel wake-up feature. Switch it on when you go to bed and the following morning, at the time stated in the daily program, it broadcasts a gentle wake-up call of birdsong and soft music.
All cabins can be configured as singles or doubles, with the exception of the seven Standard Twins on the lower Main Deck, which have fixed single beds and the four Standard Cabins -- 218, 219, 237 and 239 -- situated forward on the Middle Deck, which have fixed doubles. Beds have separate European-style duvets for each passenger. All cabins have a for-fee mini-bar stocked with sparkling water, juice and soda; beer; small bottles of red, white and sparkling wine; nuts; and a candy bar. Prices range from 100 rubles for juice to 450 rubles for sparkling wine. The mini-bar is replenished daily. Other standard amenities include climate control, flat-screen TV, fixed one-setting hair dryer (which is fairly low powered so you might want to bring your own), safe, ice bucket, telephone and alarm, the latter located in the bathroom. Tap water is suitable for washing teeth but not for drinking and two complimentary bottles of still water are put in each cabin daily.
Each cabin has a decent-sized mirror over the dressing table/desk and a narrow mirror running the length of most of the wall above the bed head. There is no full-length mirror. Closets are divided into two sections with a high storage shelf and full-length hanging space with removable wooden hangars on one side and five open shelves on the other (one including the safe and another where life vests are stowed). Although many of the cabins are large for a river vessel, they lack other storage space, such as a chest of drawers, which we would have found handy. There is no room to stow suitcases beneath the beds, but there are two shelves beside the door for stowing cases (although we used them for extra storage and had plenty of room in the cabin to put the suitcases on the other side of the door without them getting in the way). There are two pairs of double hooks near the door that are useful for hanging coats and other items. A shoehorn, clothes brush and shoeshine cloths are provided. Cabins are accessed with a keycard that is also used to operate the electricity supply by inserting it in a slot inside the door.
Other fittings include bedside cabinets with a drawer and open shelf, and there are individual reading lights on each side of the bed. All cabins have a chair by the dressing table/desk. Suites have an additional chair and round table. Cabins with balconies have two rattan chairs with arms and a large glass-topped table, making it very comfortable to sit outside. The onboard voltage is 220 volts with two-pin European sockets, so North Americans and other overseas passengers from outside mainland Europe will need to bring an adapter. There is only one socket located in the dressing table/desk unit, which can make it tricky when you need to charge several devices. As a result, many passengers took advantage of the sockets situated around the lounge. A daily program, outlining the following day's timetable, including shore excursions, mealtimes and other activities is left in the cabin during the nightly turn-down service -- along with a chocolate on the pillow.
The TV, which includes a bow cam conveying live images of the ship's progress, has a variety of channels in different languages. English channels include the BBC, DW News, Europe News and Russia Today. There is also a channel on Vodohod cruises and at a set time on most nights a Russian-themed movie or documentary, such as "War and Peace," "Doctor Zhivago," "Rasputin" and "Wild Russia," is broadcast.
The bathrooms have a large mirrored vanity unit with three shelves and a mirror above with a good overhead light. The shower is an integral part of the bathroom and has a shower curtain. It is set slightly down from the main bathroom floor, which helps prevent flooding. The showerhead can be fixed or handheld and the water pressure is excellent. There is a grab rail in the shower stall and next to the toilet. Small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion, refreshingly large bars of soap, plus shower caps, are provided and replenished as required. There is a 220 volt shaving socket, towel rail and hook on the back of the door. Robes and slippers are supplied in suites but can be requested and provided free of charge in other cabins.
There are no wheelchair-accessible cabins.
Riverview: The Main Deck has Standard Double cabins, ranging in size from 123 to 130 square feet, and Standard Twins that measure 140 square feet and have two single beds. Also on this deck are Deluxe cabins that measure 201 to 210 square feet. All cabins on the Main Deck have large fixed windows that do not open.
Balcony: All the other cabins on the Middle, Boat and Sun Decks -- with the exception of the Junior Suites on the Middle Deck -- have balconies with glass doors that slide to open or can be tilted open at the top, along with a large fixed window. Standard cabins on the Middle Deck are 133 to144 square feet. Deluxe cabins on the same deck range between 164 to 186 square feet. Standard cabins on the Boat Deck are 136 square feet and the Deluxe cabins are 169 to 177 square feet. On the upper Sun Deck, the deluxe cabins are 169 to 175 square feet. Note: Balconies on the Main Deck have open mesh walls overlooking those on the Sun Deck that have glass panels, which provide great views for passengers sitting out on the veranda. The balconies on the Middle Deck have steel outer walls, which means views are obstructed if you are sitting down.
Suites: Unusually, MS Rostropovich has a Junior Suite on the lowest Main Deck that measures 243 square feet and is ideal for passengers who want a roomier cabin but aren't fussed about having a balcony or window that opens. There are four more Junior Suites, situated aft on the Middle Deck, which do not have balconies and these staterooms measure 233 square feet. There are two Bolshoi Suites on the Middle Deck that are 204 square feet and two more of the same size above them on the Boat Deck. Four Mariinski Suites, measuring 228 to 232 square feet, are situated on the Middle Deck and a further four are on the Boat Deck and are the same size.
On the Sun Deck, the two Hermitage Suites measure 204 square feet and are particularly light due to the floor-to-ceiling panoramic window next to the door that opens onto the veranda. The best stateroom on the ship is the Imperial Suite, which measures 322 square feet and occupies a stunning position forward on the Middle Deck and has triple aspect windows overlooking the forward, port and starboard sides of the vessels. Comprising one large cabin, one side of the room has a seating area with settees, a table and large cabinet and the bed is situated on the opposite side. This suite has an extra-large bathroom and is the only one on the ship to have a bathtub with an overhead shower. It also has tea and coffee-making facilities. The standout feature is a huge wraparound balcony surrounding the cabin with fantastic views over the front of the ship. Aside from when the sailors are working on deck in front of the balcony, this area offers complete privacy.
Suite passengers receive a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival and have robes and slippers.