6 exceptional river cruise suites
Rivers from the Danube to the Amazon are home to some of the finest ships to ply the world’s waterways – and these exceptional staterooms, writes Amelia Hungerford.
This article appeared in volume 27 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.
Royal Suites on SS Maria Theresa and SS Catherine Presidential Suites on SS Joie de Vivre
This river cruise line’s opulent décor reaches an apogee in its Royal Suites aboard SS Maria Theresa and SS Catherine, and the Presidential Suites on the newly launched SS Joie de Vivre. The line’s signature Savoir Beds guarantee an indulgent sleep on the finest linens and invite you to wake up to views of European life as you drift along the Seine or Rhine. Guests in suites also enjoy the services of a private butler for pressing clothes and organising tailored shore excursions. Just as the rest of these river ships take on the aesthetic of their destinations, these top-of-the-line suites are bedecked with wallpapers, objets d’art and paintings that embody the spirit of their namesakes: the great Austro- Hungarian empress, ever-elegant French actress Catherine Deneuve, and the unrelenting passion of 20th-century Paris.
Deluxe Suites on Delfin I
This $100 million resort development brought a new level of beachside chic to the laidback surf town when it opened along Belongil Beach in 2016. Following the complimentary hour of First Light Yoga each morning at sunrise, take the pace back down in the Osprey Spa, a shrine to relaxation in wood, neutral hues and shades of white. The treatment emphasis is on organic products from Australian spa brands iKOU and LaGaia, served up on a degustation menu of sensory rituals for face and body.
Try: The Quench Body Hydration ritual with foot care, facial cleanse, sun soother body mask and wrap, and head and neck massage. It’s 75 minutes of bliss.
2-Bedroom Crystal Suite on Crystal Mozart
While Crystal Cruises is reinventing European river cruising in terms of service and amenities, the staid decor that once prevailed in river ship staterooms for decades has been reinvigorated with elegant fittings and a refined colour palette more commonly found in chic New York penthouses. Aboard Crystal Mozart this modern take on styling reaches a peak in the 2-Bedroom Crystal Suite with French Balcony, adjoining a connected room. Rich fabrics, a marble fireplace, and a butler service to arrange packing, unpacking and in-suite canapés are the final touches on this incredible experience.
Luxury Suites on AmaDara
Intimate in scale (there are just 14 suites), this Mekong-plying river ship brings the grace and elegance of Vietnam aboard in its decor and service. While all staterooms feature two balconies, the 46-square-metre Luxury Suite ups the ante with a cosy sitting area. Relax on your king-size bed or soak in the standalone bathtub as the Mekong drifts by.
Celestial & Imperial Suites on Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer
This 124-passenger river ship unveiled an elegant top-to-toe makeover in March. As well as her 38 deluxe cabins and 22 suites, she showcases the beauty of Chinese culture in her two 110-square-metre specialty retreats: the Celestial and Imperial Suites. Each one features a panoramic position at the ship’s bow and is adorned with traditional Chinese objets d’art, down to the lacquered bedside tables. Savour a birdcage-encased afternoon tea in your suite or take a journey through the art of Chinese calligraphy.
Royal Suites on Avalon Suite Ships
Space on the rivers usually comes at a premium, but Avalon Waterways has been the first to reconfigure its Panorama Suites. Its revolutionary approach includes Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows that open more than two metres to create an open-air balcony. Enjoy the spectacular scenery from the cosy viewing area, or just as easily from your king-size window-facing bed. A private library, two balconies and extra space complement the air of contemporary refinement in the Royal Suites.
The armoured Town Sedan belonged to the infamous mob boss until his 1932 prison sentence.