Like all river vessels, cabins are small but Scenic Azure does its best to live up to the company's "Space-Ship" concept. Most people will stay in a balcony cabin, which has plenty of storage and enough room to walk around three sides of the bed. All but six of the 48 cabins have the trademark "sun lounge," which is an enclosed balcony with windows that stretch almost from floor to ceiling and can be opened halfway to let in fresh air (or closed to seal in the air conditioning). It does eat up a lot of space; however, it's lovely to have this sitting area, protected from the elements, for an in-cabin breakfast or simply gazing at the view.
Blackout blinds and a curtain separate the sun lounge from the rest of the room, which consists of a queen-sized bed, two bedside tables with lamps and a clock, a small desk and chair, double wardrobe, TV (with free movies) and a bathroom with a full-length mirrored door.
The very comfy beds are adjustable so you can use the controls to sit up and read or elevate your feet, which is not something we've seen before on a river ship. Four suitcases can fit under the bed, which can be configured as two singles or joined as a queen.
Each cabin also has a safe, hair dryer, two bathrobes, two pairs of slippers, a mini-bar, ice bucket, bottle opener, two wineglasses and two hooks on the wall near the door. The mini-bar is restocked daily with Coke, tonic water, apple juice, orange juice, red wine, white wine and 50ml miniatures of Smirnoff vodka, Gordon's gin, Ballantine's scotch, Bacardi white rum and Baileys. (There's nothing to help mix your drinks, so a swizzle stick or teaspoon would be a useful addition.) Bottles of still and sparkling water, Pringles and plain cookies are also replenished every day.
The compact bathroom has a good shower with three showerheads including one hand-held. (Only the Royal One-Bedroom Suite has a bath.) Of course, there's a toilet, sink/basin, a mirrored cabinet, an extendable mirror with a light, a shaver outlet and towels and facecloths that are replaced as needed. Complimentary L'Occitane toiletries include soap, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. Cotton pads, cotton buds, an emery board and shower caps are also provided. There's adequate storage space in the cabinet and under the sink but definitely only room for one person at a time. One bugbear mentioned by passengers was the positioning of the toilet roll holder, which requires a slight twist to reach behind you.
Every cabin has butler service, although you will share your butler with several other cabins and sometimes see him serving in the restaurant or handing out bottled water before excursions. Azure's three butlers have backgrounds in hotels or ocean cruising and receive one week's butler training. Although they do not appear often, nor offer to do things without your asking, it just takes a (free) phone call to request your butler's assistance. Butler services include shoeshine; two items pressed daily; serving breakfast, tea and coffee in your cabin; and making bookings for the salon and shore arrangements. Guests in the higher category suites have a more personalized butler service (see below).
Riverview:At 172 square feet, these four cabins on the lowest deck have a window but no balcony.
Balcony: The majority -- 38 out of the 48 -- cabins have this 215-square-foot layout with the enclosed sun lounge. Every cabin receives one free bag of laundry per cruise, and the other butler services mentioned above.
Junior Suite: These four bigger suites, all 247 square feet, have a similar layout, amenities and services as a balcony suite but two additional perks: pre-dinner canapes and the opportunity to hold an in-suite cocktail party with a small number of friends, with drinks and snacks served by your butler.
Royal One-Bedroom Suite: Coming in at 420 square feet, the biggest and most luxurious accommodation has a larger balcony, a living area and a spacious bathroom with a separate bath and shower, and a separate second toilet. Extra perks include a bottle of Champagne upon arrival, unlimited laundry, unpacking and packing of your luggage, evening canapes and newspapers delivered daily. If you so desire, your butler will draw a bath after a long day of sightseeing. Royal Suite passengers can also invite six guests to a cocktail party, held in their room with food and drinks served by the butlers. Scenic Azure has only two of these suites, so book early.