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River cruise ships generally sell from the top down, and cruise lines have been quick to see that guests snap up the beautifully appointed larger accommodations on higher decks. Now, lines are catering more specifically to guests’ tastes.
Many accommodations on the rivers are in the 300- to 350-square-foot range — comparable in size to suites on seagoing ships, such as Silversea Cruises’ 345-square-foot, one-bedroom veranda suite on Silver Whisper.
But it’s not just size that matters when guests are choosing between suites: Decor, design, amenities and service need to be factored in. In addition, there are two different philosophies among river cruise lines; one focuses on a limited number of large suites, while the other offers more suites with less square footage. Following are some of the most sought-after suites in river cruising.
Avalon WaterwaysFor instance, Avalon Waterways has at least two 300-square-foot Royal Suites on each ship, but its approach is about inclusivity rather than exclusivity. It is especially proud of its 200-square-foot Panorama Suites with Open-Air Balconies and marble bathrooms that can be enjoyed by most guests.
Crystal CruisesCrystal Mozart will introduce Crystal Cruises’ river product in July with two, two-bedroom, 860-square-foot Crystal Suites. Features will include a king-size bed, a fireplace, a French balcony, a walk-in closet, a shower with both overhead and handheld showerheads, a Jacuzzi bathtub, a dining room table for four, a Nespresso coffee machine and butler service. Guests will enjoy in-suite hors d’oeuvres and canapes, as well as Optional Experience arrangements.
Haimark Luxury River ExpeditionsHaimark Luxury River Expeditions’ Amazon Discovery has its 597-square-foot Amazonia Suite on the upper deck. The room offers a king-size bed and floor-to-ceiling, wraparound glass windows. Additional amenities include a complimentary 60-minute spa treatment for each guest and complimentary laundry service. A special scented bath is available upon request.
ScenicIf its luxury paired with larger accommodations that clients are looking for, plenty of plush suites can be found on rivers worldwide. For example, Scenic’s 68-passenger Scenic Spirit started its service on the Mekong River this year and features two 861-square-foot Royal Panorama Suites. The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows; a separate lounge and dining area; a walk-in dressing room with two wardrobes; a large bathroom with two sinks, a bathtub and a glass-enclosed shower; and a veranda with a whirlpool, a daybed, sun loungers and a table and chairs for dining.
TauckLike Avalon Waterways, Tauck considers the availability of multiple suites a strong selling point. It has fourteen 300-square-foot suites on its 110-meter vessels and 22 on the 135-meter ships. Each suite has two French balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows, a pullout couch that accommodates triples and families, walk-in closets, marble bathrooms with rain showers, pillow-top mattresses and goose down pillows, Nespresso coffee machines, Molton Brown toiletries and American breakfast room service.
Victoria CruisesOn China’s Yangtze River, the Shangri-La Suites on Victoria Cruises’ Victoria Jenna are nearly 600 square feet, not including a 200-square-foot-plus private balcony. Guests have access to exclusive ship areas and happy hours, complimentary Wi-Fi access and enhanced dining privileges.
Viking River CruisesThroughout Europe, the Explorer Suites on Viking River Cruises’ Longships are 445 square feet, each with a private wraparound veranda off the living room, a French balcony in the bedroom, a bathroom with heated mirror and floors and two Sony 40-inch flat-panel TVs with a premium entertainment package.
Un-Cruise Adventures In the Pacific Northwest, the Owner’s Suite on Un-Cruise Adventures’ Legacy is 600 square feet. Its classic wet bar is stocked with premium spirit choices, and evening hors d’oeuvres are served by a member of the hotel staff. An antique marble-topped dining room table seats four, and there is room for five in a sitting area with a 56-inch plasma screen television, DVD player, private DVD collection, game selection and book library. The bedroom features a king-size bed and 36-inch TV, and the bathroom has a whirlpool tub.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise CollectionOn Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s Maria Theresa in France, the 410-square foot Royal Suite lets guests live like emperors and empresses. The room features 18th-century decor, a professional butler, Hermes bath and body products, original art, a separate rain shower and tub in the bathroom, a handcrafted Savoir bed, in-room breakfast, a Nespresso coffee machine and fine teas, free laundry service and a special dinner in the ship’s Bar du Leopard.
Avalon Waterways www.avalonwaterways.com
Crystal River Cruises www.crystalcruises.com
Haimark Luxury River Expeditions www.haimarktravel.com
Un-Cruise Adventures www.un-cruise.com
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection www.uniworld.com
Victoria Cruises www.victoriacruises.com
Viking River Cruises www.vikingrivercruises.com