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Monarch Empress Cabins

4.0 / 5.0
11 reviews
Editor Rating
Very Good
Jeannine Williamson
Cruise Critic Contributor

The vessel has 72 staterooms -- 64 standard cabins and eight suites -- which are located on three decks. Ranging in size from 140 to 210 square feet, all cabins are river-facing and 58 have French balconies with panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows that slide open and allow passengers to lean out, rather than step out. The cabins are well designed to make the best use of the available space and include some useful features that you don't find on all riverships, such as an alarm in every cabin.

In keeping with the vessel's name, the color palette in all staterooms is a regal combination of royal blue with cream touches and traditional wood finishes. All cabins can be configured as twins or doubles and beds have individual duvets for each person. There is ample storage, including space for suitcases to be stowed under the bed. Standard amenities in every cabin include climate control, flat-screen TV, full-length mirror inside the closet door, plug-in hair dryer, safe, mini-fridge and robes. Instead of telephones with an outside connection (and who needs these nowadays when most people have cell phones to call and text friends and family?) there is an emergency phone that is sited in a practical position next to the bed with a direct dial to the 24-hour reception desk. Two complimentary bottles of still water are provided in the cabin each day.

Closets have ample full-length hanging space with plenty of removable, rather than fixed, clothes hangers. There are also shelves, with two of them used for the safe and fridge -- an unusual spot to find the latter, but it's situated at shoulder height so easy to use without having to bend over. There are further soft-close drawers beneath the curved dressing table/desk that occupies the rest of the cabin wall next to the closet, with mirrors above the whole length. There is a cushioned stool that slots beneath the dressing table/desk, which is on wheels and has a handy wooden handle to pull it in and out; another neat little design touch. There is an additional chair, or two, depending on the cabin category.

Other standard amenities in all cabins include bedside cabinets with an open shelf for storing smaller items. There is ample lighting set in the ceiling, along with individual reading lights on each side of the bed. The onboard voltage is 220 volts with European two-pin sockets, so passengers need to bring adapters for their electronic devices. Cabins have a good number of sockets that are easy to reach. A shoe polish mitt and sewing kit is in the drawer with the hair dryer. A daily program, outlining the following day's timetable, including shore excursions, mealtimes, activities and the vessel's arrival and departure times is left in the cabin at nightly turn-down -- along with a chocolate on the pillow.

TV programs include CNN, CNBC Europe, BBC World and Sky News. A documentary and film are screened on a continuous basis on two video channels and change daily. The daily program is also available on the TV and there is a bow webcam so passengers can watch the ship's progress from inside their cabins.

The bathrooms are lovely, with extensive marble-effect finishes and a large glazed walk-in shower with, in most cases, an integral seat running along the side opposite the shower head that can be used to sit on or store toiletries. The showers have one large height adjustable nozzle, which can be used fixed or handheld, a good-sized soap/toiletry rack and a retractable clothes line. There is plenty of storage space in the area around the wash basin and in the cupboards beneath. There are two towel rails and two hooks for towels and gowns on the back of the door. There is a large mirror over the basin plus an extendable, illuminated makeup/shaving mirror. Small bottles of Hydro Basics shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and a soap bar (one by the basin and one in the shower), are provided and replenished as required. Other amenities include a nightlight, shaver socket, shower cap, vanity set with cotton wool buds, cotton wool balls and makeup remover pads, and a combined nail file/polisher. At first we searched for the trash can before realizing it is fixed inside one of the cabinet doors beneath the basin.

There are no single cabins or specially adapted or wheelchair accessible cabins.

The 64 standard staterooms are spread across the Duchess (lower), Countess (middle) and Empress (upper) decks. They come in five categories, which relates to their position on the ship, size and a small difference in some amenities.

Riverview (Duchess Deck): The 14 Category E cabins all measure 140 square feet and have a fixed window that cannot be opened. It should also be noted that the elevator does not go to the Duchess Deck and these cabins are accessed by a flight of stairs.

French Balcony (Countess and Empress Decks): On the Countess Deck are 10 Category D cabins situated aft and closest to the ship's engine room. They all measure 150 square feet and have a French balcony. There are 14 Category C cabins on this deck, all with French balconies and measuring 170 square feet. On the Empress Deck are 10 Category B French balcony cabins, located aft and measuring 150 square feet. There are also 14 Category A French balcony cabins that are 170 square feet. Category B, D and E cabins do not have a fixed seat in the shower cubicle.

Suites (Empress and Countess Decks): The suites are situated forward on upper Empress Deck and middle Countess Deck -- four on each -- and measure 210 square feet. They have an expansive French balcony, stretching right across the front of the cabin, which makes them particularly light and airy. The extra room in these cabins is devoted to a larger living area and a bigger bathroom. In addition to the stool beneath the dressing table/desk, there are two chairs and round marble-effect table. In the bathroom, there is a double sink unit. Passengers in suites also get slippers.

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