The cabins onboard American Empress have a charming Victorian feel, with dark wood cabinets and wardrobes, padded leather headboards, old-fashioned lamps and gold-framed pictures of the American West. They feel cozy and have plenty of storage for two people.
Each cabin onboard American Empress has either a king or two twin beds, a sitting area and a view; there are no inside cabins. Not all beds can be combined to form kings, so if a specific configuration is required, mention it at the time of booking. All cabins also feature Keurig personal coffee/tea machines, robes, safes, phones, hair dryers and binoculars. Suitcases can be stored under the beds.
Each cabin also has a flat-screen television with about a dozen satellite channels, including the major U.S. networks, ESPN and Discovery. Mini-fridges are filled with complimentary bottled water, which is restocked during the cruise. In a neat twist, the TV cabinet has a secret pull-out drawer where you can put your room service tray. Heating and air conditioning are controlled in cabins, and there are numerous U.S. outlets in the living areas and in the bathrooms; there are also two USB ports on the vanity near the bed. Audio is controlled in staterooms and allows you to listen to music and hear general ship announcements from the captain, cruise directors or riverlorians if you choose.
Bathrooms are the one spot where utilitarian supersedes elegance. They are small and simple; showers are quite compact and feature clingy curtains rather than doors. Decor is spare in the bathrooms, and the look overall is a bit dated. William Roam toiletries include shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower gel and lotion.
One small complaint about the cabins is that the walls are relatively thin between cabins -- we could hear conversations and flushing toilets from our neighbors -- but early nights are common onboard, so noise didn't disrupt sleep. (If you're a light sleeper, earplugs will help.)
Veranda: Four cabin categories come in at less than 200 square feet: Veranda Stateroom (12 of them at 150 square feet), Single Outside Stateroom with Veranda (one of them at 160 square feet), Outside Stateroom with Window (seven of them at 180 square feet) and Deluxe Veranda Stateroom (76 of them at 180 square feet). All feature larger-than-average windows that allow in plenty of natural light, but they can't be opened. Veranda cabins feature standard doors (rather than sliders) that open onto balconies, which vary greatly in size depending on location. Two synthetic wicker and metal chairs come standard on balconies. Eight Superior Veranda cabins come in at between 210 and 225 square feet each.
Suites: Six Suites with Veranda measure 310 square feet apiece and feature a larger seating area that includes a couch and table, as well as chairs. These suites are located on Deck 4 and feature large balconies with two padded chairs each. In addition to the standard amenities included in other cabin categories, suites include Bose sound systems and iHomes. Deck 4 also features a wraparound walking area in front of the balconies, so the balconies for these suites aren't private, but they are ideal for sightseeing and people-watching. They make for a social experience; it's impossible not to chat with passengers as they walk by.
The ship also features two Luxury Suites with Veranda, each at 410 square feet; one is located on Deck 2, the other on Deck 3. In addition to all the amenities featured in the other suites, these have in-suite bars for entertaining.
The ship has three accessible cabins. It has no adjoining or family cabins.