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

The Varuna has 12 staterooms -- the majority in a twin-bed configuration -- which are all river-facing and located on the Upper Deck (deck 2). In keeping with the rest of the ship, they have been very ethically designed and feature sustainably sourced bamboo fixtures and fittings along with fabrics and handicrafts made by indigenous villagers.

There is a natural light brown, cream and green color scheme in all the cabins, which have floor-to-ceiling wood-covered walls, with pictures of local birdlife, and polished teak floors. The beds have duvets and additional blankets, if needed, are stowed in one of the three drawers beneath the bed. The other drawers can be used to stow soft and small suitcases and other belongings.

All cabins have individual climate control, a half-length mirror, proper plug-in hair dryer and safe. There is no telephone or TV. Two complimentary one liter bottles of water, in attractive bamboo holders, are left on the bedside shelf on arrival, with a third in the bathroom for washing teeth. Passengers can request further new bottles as required, but are encouraged to refill their own from the water cooler on the Sun Deck, which is available 24/7. The ship's water supply comes from the Ganges after passing through a filtration plant. This water is suitable for washing but should not be drunk.

The cabins are light and airy and they all have floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, plus a bug screen, which can both be opened halfway (from side to side). At night, these are completely covered by full-length drapes. Two cushioned rattan armchairs are situated next to the window so passengers can watch the passing scenery. There is also a small round rattan table, large enough for books, magazines and a drink, between the two chairs.

The closet comprises a half-length handing area, with removable rather than fixed hangers on one side, with two open shelving units beneath. The opposite side has four shelving units, with the safe in one of them, along with laundry bags for the ship's washing and pressing service and bamboo flip-flops. Elsewhere, there is one hook on the inside of the cabin door and two on the wall, which provide additional hanging space.

There are overhead ceiling lights and two reading lights set in the wall above the individual or double beds. The onboard voltage is 220 volts and there are two electrical sockets in the main cabin area above and below the bedside shelf and one in the bathroom. Passengers will need to bring adapters for their electronic devices and it is worth noting that Indian sockets are compatible with European two-pin adapters.

A daily program, outlining the following day's timetable, including shore excursions, mealtimes, the weather forecast, sunrise, sunset and the distance being covered during sailing is left in the cabin at nightly turn-down. The reverse of the program features useful snippets of history -- usually in the form of extracts from books -- which make interesting bedtime reading.

For a small ship, the bathrooms are a good size and feature a surprisingly large walk-in shower accessed by a glass door. There is an adjustable shower nozzle that can be set to different heights, plus a fixed mid-height showerhead on the wall. The shower can also be switched to a lower faucet setting -- perfect for washing feet at the end of an excursion. There is a grab handle on the wall of the shower and a removable rubber nonslip mat on the floor. The small soap tray contains a sponge and bar of Biotique soap. There is a mirror above the wash basin and toiletries can be stored on the small area next to the sink or in the large closet underneath, which has a closing door. There is a shelf next to the basin, where the hair dryer is provided inside a wicker basket along with a box of tissues, and this provides some additional storage space. There are two towel rails, containing bath and hand towels, and each has a hook for hanging wet towels. To conserve water towels will only be changed if they are left on the floor. There is another hook on the back of the bathroom door. Small bottles of Biotique shampoo (no conditioner), shower gel, body lotion, a shower cap and an additional soap bar, are provided in dishes next to the basin and are replenished as needed. Other amenities include a plug-in anti-bug diffuser in a socket that can be used for a shaver or hair dryer.

There are no adapted or wheelchair accessible cabins and the ship does not have any suites or balcony cabins.

Riverview: The 10 twin-bedded cabins measure 185 square feet. The two cabins with fixed double beds (numbers 11 and 12) are situated aft and are slightly larger at 227 square feet. Size aside, the interiors and amenities in both cabin categories are exactly the same.

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