TUI might be making waves in the cruising world with Marella Cruises, but they’ve also decided to move into the river cruise market with three river ships in summer 2020. Exciting stuff!

TUI River Cruises

The three ships named TUI Skyla, TUI Maya and TUI Isla will each accommodate a homely 155 passengers across 79 cabins, with a mix of bars and two restaurants.

The three vessels will be adults only and set to sail over five of Europe’s best and most popular rivers – the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle, over seven and 14-night itineraries. Launching under the name of TUI River Cruises, this new venture went on sale on 25th April 2019 – with 19 itineraries to begin with!

TUI have said life onboard will be all about flexibility, offering their friendly and personal service that they’ve become well known for. With two packages for customers to choose from, you can go a la carte or completely casual.

Dining options are set to include al fresco dining on the top deck, with romantic tables for two. There’ll also be more casual dining, perfect for large groups of friends and optimum socialisation.

Marella Cruises are known to mainly sail at night, allowing more time to explore each port during the day. And it seems TUI River Cruises will be on the same wave length! You’ll be able to dock in more central locations – right in the heart of city centres – meaning even less travel time to discover the delights of some of Europe’s most enchanting locations.

The lead in price stands at £1,099 – and when you realise everything that includes, it’s pretty great in terms of value. It seems as though this venture will follow in the footsteps of ocean sister Marella Cruises when it comes sorting you the perfect package – with tips and service charges already being covered in the initial cost.

River cruise in Budapest

Introducing the fleet

TUI Skyla, TUI Maya and TUI Isla will be adults only, with each having the same dining and leisure facilities onboard. And you can wave goodbye to Inside Cabins – as each room will have either a porthole, large window or full French balcony. It’s all about those river views!

What’s included?

Although not All Inclusive, TUI River Cruises have basically everything covered for you. From direct flights from UK airports to transfers, Wi-Fi and even £120 worth of credit for shore excursions – there’ll be very little left to worry about.

Cabin type

All cabins on Deck 1 come with a porthole, cabins on Decks 2 and 3 will either come with a full-sized window or French balcony.

Standard Cabin – measuring up to 12m2, these come with a desk and fixed double bed.

Standard Single Cabin – the same size as the standard cabins but you instead get a single bed as well as a desk and lounge chair.

Superior Cabin – measuring 15m2, you’ll have a king size bed which can be converted into two singles. Along with a desk and lounge chair.

Standard French Balcony – These are the same size as the standard cabins however come with the added bonus of a French balcony. Floor to ceiling doors make your views unmissable, you’ll also have a double bed and desk.

Single French Balcony – Again the same as above, amazing floor to ceiling doors for unbelievable views but instead of the fixed double bed, you’ll have a single, desk and lounge chair.

Single French Balcony Cabin - Tui River Cruises

Superior French Balcony – Just like the Superior cabins, you’ll have a convertible king size bed with lounge chair and desk. Your floor to ceiling glass doors will also lead out onto a French balcony.

Tui River Cruises superior French balcony Cabin

French Balcony Suite – A French balcony suite is the optimum treat. Measuring at 24m2, you’ll again have the convertible king size bed, plus the luxury of a bigger bathroom, dressing area, sofa, coffee table and a desk.

French Balcony Suite Tui River Cruises


With 2 bars, 3 restaurant areas, a library stocked with books and games and the entire top deck filled with facilities – these vessels may be small there’s still plenty to work your way around.

Get drinks at the Observatory and Club Lounge where you can expect widescreen views, special guest acts and delicious coffee and cocktails.

Dine at Verdastro an elegant main dining room which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. There’s a buffet service for breakfast while lunch and dinner are an a la carte affair with full waiter service. Your second option Bistro is a little more casual, it’s again open for each meal of the day and has both a la carte and buffet options for you to sample a bit of everything.

Verdastro Tui River Cruises Restaurant mock up image

Bistro dining onboard Tui River Cruises

Top desk is where you’ll get those views worth swooning over. Split into zones with different areas for activities and those simply for relaxing. They’ll be space for BBQs, sofas for lounging and daybeds and sun-loungers for those wanting to top up their tan. For those liking to keep busy, head to the activity area where sessions such as yoga and Pilates classes will take place!

Al fresco dining set up on tui river cruises

Words from the manager

Chris Hackney – Marella Cruises managing director, will be adding the new river cruising side of the business to his portfolio and will therefore become the UK & Ireland Cruise Managing Director.

Tui River Cruises will only be sold to the UK market and Hackney has already hinted that more ships may be added to the fleet. Stating this was just the start for them, Chris Hackney said “in terms of how big we get it depends on consumer appetite at this stage” Having just launched, he acknowledged this and the opportunity European rivers gives the company. He followed saying “At the moment we are concentrating on sailings from Amsterdam and we will probably go as far down as Serbia.”

He said the scope of the business was considerable and even suggested the line could offer sailings on the Douro in Portugal, which is becoming a “very popular” river cruising destination.

Tui River Cruises is promising that same great service that Marella Cruises currently offers with it sitting under the same Tui umbrella. Hackney told how each guest will receive a £120 credit for excursions which could include bike tours, sightseeing tours or even cookery classes! – A nice additional benefit if we say so ourselves.

Tui has bought the ships from operators Werner-Tours and Reisebüro Mittelthurgau Fluss. Tui will take over the ships come October when they’ll undergo their refirs and be renamed.

Interested in getting onboard?

Tui River Cruises are set to sail from Summer 2020 and will actually be available to book through retail in late April 2019! They’ll eventually be bookable through Tui’s contact centres at a later day so keep an eye out for future updates!

River cruising not for you? – Why not take a look at our lastest Marella Cruises deals for the same fantastic service just on a slightly bigger ship!

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