TUI Skyla Review

4.0 / 5.0
4 reviews
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Editor Rating
Very Good
Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

TUI Skyla is one of a trio of vessels that marked TUI UK’s debut into the world of river cruising. The 151-passenger ship launched in 2021, along with sister ships TUI Maya and TUI Isla.

The ship sails under the brand TUI River Cruises and offer adults-only itineraries on the Danube and Rhine rivers. Aimed mainly at British travellers familiar with TUI package holidays and reflecting the ocean itineraries run by sister company Marella Cruises.

The ships originally sailed as TUI River ships for the German market, but were given a significant refresh in 2018 to turn them into UK ships.

They look and feel to all intents and purposes new; décor is stylish and modern, with a lot of glass – including a dome at the top of the stairs – and gold and chrome fittings, which give it the look and feel of a four-star hotel.

Everything feels fresh and modern, which is testament to the thoroughness of the refurb – from the public rooms to the carpets (fun fact: recycled from fishing nets), the furniture and the cabins.

All cruises are sold on a Full Board Plus basis, with meals and drinks at mealtimes included in the price. There is an optional excursion programme which allows passengers to do as much, or as little, as they want.

The deck plan includes two restaurants, two lounges, a top deck sundeck and a Wellness Centre.

For more information on river cruising, check out our river cruising tips and guides to help you plan your next getaway.

TUI Skyla’s Itineraries Include Danube and Rhine Cruises

TUI Skyla offers seven different itineraries on the Danube and the Rhine rivers. Throughout the summer months (March to October), TUI Skyla operates seven-day cruises on the Danube, from Budapest, via Austria, Germany and Czechia, taking in Vienna, Melk, Passau and Bratislava.

From October to early January TUI Skyla moves to the Rhine offering five-night festive sailings from Frankfurt and including stops in Mainz, Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Koblenz for the Christmas Markets, as well as sailings over Christmas and New Year.

TUI Skyla’s Deck Plans Include Two Restaurants, Two Lounges And a Wellness Centre

TUI Skyla is arranged across four decks. The sun deck is an attractive area little used during the colder months, but comes into its own from spring with sun loungers and room for a barbecue on sunny days plus an area for exercise classes such as yoga and stretching and a smoking area at the back.

On Deck 3 you’ll find the main lounge, or Observatory, which has a bar, a stage and seating. It is surrounded by glass windows and so makes a great place to watch the river go by on navigation days. There is a small outdoor terrace area right at the front.

The Observatory is not big enough to hold everyone and there is a small seating area just outside, which doubles as a library. You’ll also find the self-serve tea and coffee machine here. A corridor leads to the Deck 3 cabins and at the aft of the ship, The Club Lounge, an intimate lounge where you can get barista coffees, board games and books and makes a nice quiet alternative to the Observatory. Through here are the two restaurants, Verdastro and The Bistro.

On Deck 2 you’ll find the reception and The Wellness Centre, which is a real highlight on TUI Skyla. Rather than just a cabin given over to a bike, this takes the whole of the front of the ship on Deck 1 and includes a sauna, a hot tub, an exercise area with a bike (we felt it could have included a running track); a relaxation area, showers and a toilet. It can be booked for a fee, or just turn up for free. The sauna was extremely welcome after a day wandering around the Christmas Markets.

On Deck 1 you’ll find the Standard Cabins.

TUI Skyla Has Five Cabin Types Including Suites And Solos

TUI Skyla has a total of 77 cabins, in five cabin categories, including – unusually for river ships – five single cabins including one with a French balcony. It also has 14 suites.

All cabins were given a refresh in the makeover and so look and feel fresh and modern, with light-coloured curtains and furniture. Each cabin has a bed, fixed desk, wardrobe and cupboards with a safe, a chair, a kettle, hair-dryer, mini-fridge and a wall-mounted, flat-screen TV and a water bottle each as there are no single use plastics onboard.

Charging points are extremely limited – one above the desk and the other at one side of the bed.

Note: Both are European two pin, so take an adaptor. There are no USB ports.

There is air conditioning, but it is hit and miss – sometimes freezing cold, sometime like a sauna.

Standard cabins, located on the lower deck, measure 129 square feet and have fixed double beds and porthole windows at the water level. Similar standard cabins are also located on the middle deck and have a full-size window.

The one single cabin one the lower deck is also 129 square feet the same size and has a single bed plus a desk and armchair. Superior double cabins on the same deck measure 161 square feet and have a king-size bed, which can be converted into two singles, along with a desk and a lounge chair.

French Balcony cabins are situated on the middle and upper decks. They are all identical and measure 129 square feet. They have floor-to-ceiling windows that open, fixed double beds and a desk. A French Balcony cabin for single occupancy is located on the middle deck and is the same size, with the addition of a desk and chair.

Superior French Balcony cabins are also located on the middle and upper deck and these measure 161 square feet and can be configured as double or twins and also have a desk and chair.

Cabin bathrooms are glass-surround, though the glass is frosted. Showers are large, with a glass door. There is one sink and a toilet and above sink storage space.

The best cabins are the French Balcony Suites on the middle and upper decks which can be doubles or twins. These measure in at 258 square feet and have larger bathrooms, a dressing area, sofa, coffee table and desk.

Cabins to avoid are those on Deck 2 in a small corridor towards the Wellness Centre, which suffer from the noise of the engine.

TUI Skyla’s Food Caters Largely For Brit Tastes, With Some Regional Variations

TUI Skyla has two dining venues. Verdastro is the main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a buffet, while lunch and dinner are served a la carte. Dining is on an open seating basis with tables for two, four and six.

Things are a little more casual in Bistro, the second restaurant. It’s joined at the hip with Verdastro, giving passengers an extra dining option,; and like its neighbour, it’s open for all three meals.

Breakfast and lunch are dished up buffet-style, with a cooking station at breakfast for eggs done how you like them; at lunch fresh pasta is cooked how you like.

Food, like everything else onboard is geared 100% to British tastes, so expect a full English breakfast (i.e bacon, eggs, beans etc.) as well as a variety of breads, cereals and yoghurts, as well as smoked salmon and Marmite (and Vegemite, for any Aussie readers reading this).

What you won’t find are Continental-style breakfast buffets with regional meats, salads etc.

In fact, unusual for river ships, there is little regional fare on offer, unless you opt for the “German dinner”. However, there are local wines, though these didn’t vary as we made our way along the river.

Dinner is served á la carte and as well as a regional meal, there is also a Gala Dinner, once a cruise, which is served in five courses and the food on offer is a bit fancier.

If you’re feeling peckish between meals, you can always find a selection of biscuits at the self-serve tea and coffee machine in the atrium, where you’ll also find the water refill station.

In terms of dietary restrictions we were impressed that every single waiter asked us if we had dietary needs and every single dish has a symbol indicating allergens. There were also an almost equal number of veggie options at every meal.

Shore Excursions on TUI Skyla Include a Visit to a Chocolate Museum

Shore excursions are mostly walking tours or city tours, which are either included or are priced at a very nominal fee.

Some will include visits to museums or galleries, but TUI does not go in for the unique-to-the-line experiences that some river lines offer.

For example in Bonn, you can visit the chocolate museum, in cologne you can do a city walking tour and in Koblenz you can take a cable car (right beside where you are berthed) or a bus to the castle above the town.

Lectures and Enrichment on TUI Skyla

There are port talks every night, in which Cruise Director Daisy does a thorough job of imparting information on the place you are next about to visit.

We also had a commentary as we sailed along the Rhine during a sail day.

Nightlife on TUI Skyla Includes a Silent Disco and Live Music

Drinks are very reasonably priced, with beers for example costing around €5 and cocktails around €8.50, but many people opted for the Drinks Package which costs £21 per person per night and includes beer, wine, spirits, barista coffees and cocktails.

Considering the average age onboard of 65+, the ship was pretty lively till late, with a well-attended silent disco on till past midnight.

The main lounge is where all the action is, with music and entertainment – either from the onboard musicians or local performers – taking place every night.

Is TUI Skyla Family Friendly?

TUI Skyla is an adults only ship.


Great value, straightforward (TUI package includes flights), ideal for a first-timer


Possibly not the most culturally-enriching experience you’ll have on a river

Bottom Line

A great value cruise line which knows exactly what its demographic wants


Passengers: 152
Crew: 40
Passenger to Crew: 3.8:1
Launched: 2020


Included with your cruise fare:

  • · All dining venues

  • • Beer, wine and soft drinks at meals

  • · Shore excursions in select ports

  • · Gratuities

  • · TUI flights

  • • Wi-Fi

  • • Transfers

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • • Premium excursions

  • • Drinks outside of meals

Fellow Passengers

Who Is On Board TUI Skyla?

The clientele onboard is 100% Brits with an average age of around 65-years-old. Think your typical TUI package holiday customer. The ship has no lift and no accessible cabins, so would not be suitable for those with accessibility needs.

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TUI Skyla Cruiser Reviews

Rhine Christmas cruise

Just like their Marella ships, the Skyla was neutral in decor but of high standard in product and finish throughout.Read More
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many10+ Cruises

Age 74s

Excellent first European river cruise!

Well, we got a good deal on TUI Skyla.Read More
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many10+ Cruises

Age 40s


We have been with Tui(Thompson) on many occasions and The Skyla is one of their newest river cruise boats When we first arrived we were greated by exceptionaly friendly staff as well as the Captain theRead More
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many10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Xmas market river cruise

Pre departure no tickets,boarding passes or cabin labels Cabin labels where give at arrival airport .no waiting hours for them as on an ocean cruise.Read More
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many10+ Cruises

Age 60s

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