Complete Tui River Cruises Dining Guide

Tui River Cruises is offering affordable river cruises to the British market but what can you expect from the food onboard it’s river ships? In this Tui River Cruises Dining Guide, I share everything we ate on our river cruise on Tui Skyla, the restaurant options and food onboard.

What restaurants are on Tui River Cruises?

Tui River Cruises offers two main dining venues on its river ships:

  • Vedastro (main dining room)
  • The Bistro (casual dining)

Both restaurants are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day.

Verdastro Dining Room

The Verdastro Dining Room is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on every day of your river cruise.

It’s important to know that there is no set time dining on Tui River Cruises (except on Gala Night). This means that you can go to the Verdastro Dining Room during any meal times and have a table of your choice.

As a guide, these are the times that the dining room is typically open on Tui River Cruises. Times may vary slightly due to port times.

  • Breakfast 7.00am – 9.00am
  • Lunch 12 noon – 2.00pm
  • Dinner 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Tables are arranged in various figurations from tables for two to eight people. There is no requirement to share a table with other passengers.

The main dining room spans the width of the river ship and has floor to ceiling windows on either side so you can enjoy the views of the river or port during your meals. This is particularly enjoyable whilst sailing because you can watch the scenery go by during your meal.

The Verdastro Dining Room is located on Deck 3 of all Tui River Cruises’ ships between the Club Lounge and Bistro Dining Room.

This dining room is large enough to seat all passengers in one sitting as this where the Gala Night dinner is held.

The Bistro

The Bistro is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on every day of your river cruise. This restaurant offers more casual dining, with a buffet during breakfast and lunch.

The dinner menu is different in the Bistro to the main dining room. Set menus are served, with at least two different menus available on a 7-night cruise. For example, one menu during the first half of the cruise and another available on the second half of the cruise.

On our cruise, the Bistro offered an Asian-inspired menu for the first half and a Hungarian-style dinner for the second part of the cruise.

austrian menu on tui river cruises skyla bistro danube cruise
Austrian Menu in the Bistro Restaurant

Despite being more casual, a reservation is required for the Bistro for dinner. This is because capacity is limited. You must make a dinner reservation at Reception by 2pm the previous day to guaranteed seating. There is no additional charge for this reservation.

As a guide, these are the times that the Bistro is typically open on Tui River Cruises. Times may vary slightly due to port times e.g. 12 noon – 1.30pm for lunch.

  • Breakfast 7.00am – 9.00am
  • Lunch 12 noon – 2.00pm
  • Dinner 7.00pm – 9.00pm

Tables are arranged in various figurations from tables for two to eight people. There is no requirement to share a table with other passengers.

The Bistro spans the width of the river ship and has floor to ceiling windows on either side so you can enjoy the views of the river or port during your meals. This dining room feels lighter and brighter than the Verdastro.

It’s located on Deck 3 of all Tui River Cruises’ ships at the aft. To access it, you must walk through the Verdastro Dining Room and down a small staircase.

Breakfast on Tui River Cruises

As previously mentioned, breakfast is available in the Verdastro and Bistro dining rooms between 7.00am and 9.00am.

Buffet breakfast is available in both restaurants. The cold buffet is situated in the Verdastro and the hot buffet is in the Bistro but you can choose from both wherever you’re dining.

Food available on the breakfast buffet:

  • Fruit
  • Cereals
  • Yoghurt
  • Pastries
  • Toast
  • Smoked fish
  • Cheese
  • Cold meats
  • bread rolls
  • Hot breakfast items (bacon, sausages, eggs, beans, etc)
  • Omlette station
cold buffet breakfast tui river cruises dining
Cold breakfast
hot breakfast plate on tui skyla
Hot breakfast

In the Verdastro restaurant, you can also order from a breakfast menu. I opted for the Eggs Benedict and it was very good.

breakfast menu Tui River Cruises dining
Breakfast menu in the Verdastro restaurant
eggs benedict on Tui Skyla
Eggs Benedict in the Verdastro restaurant

Room Service Breakfast

Room service breakfast is only available to passengers staying in a suite. If you have paid for the ‘Little Extras’ package (£35pp) you can order room service breakfast on one day of the cruise (your choice).

Room service can be ordered for delivery between 8.00am and 10.00am on the hour or half past the hour.

You must hang your breakfast order form on your cabin door handle by midnight, the night before.

The room service menu has the following available options to order:

  • Hot drinks (coffee, decaf coffee, tea, mint tea, camomile tea)
  • Milk (hot or cold)
  • Juices (orange, apple, multivitamin)
  • Yoghurt (plain, fruit, curd cheese)
  • Bakery (croissants, rolls, toast, sweet rolls)
  • Cereals (corn flakes, muesli, cereal with fruit, cereal with chocolate)
  • Butter and jam (butter, low fat margarine, sugar free jam, strawberry jam, apricot jam, honey)
  • Fruit (fresh seasonal fruit, fresh fruit salad, plum compote)
  • Cold cuts
  • Cheese selection

Tui River Cruises dining options for lunch

Lunch is served in the Verdastro and Bistro on Tui river ships.

The Bistro offers a lunch buffet with plenty of salad items. This is a great option if you only want a light lunch.

The Verdastro offers a three course lunch, which changes daily. Below is an example of a lunch menu.

We very much enjoyed lunch in the Verdastro and tended to dine in this restaurant whilst we were cruising or in between excursions.

Dinner Menus

We ate in the Verdastro restaurant all but one evening on our cruise and found the food to be very good. There were some stand out favourites and the odd one that we weren’t as keen on.

Before our cruise, we’d heard that the portion sizes were small but did not find this to be the case, especially when eating three courses.

The dinner menus followed a similar format each night:

  • There is always a soup starter and a salad starter
  • The main course always has meat, fish and vegetarian options
  • The dessert course always offers a fruit option and a cheese plate

Embarkation Dinner Menu with Photos

This was our first meal onboard and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the dishes.

Day Two Dinner Menu with Photos

The grilled pears and blue cheese starter had a great flavour combination and the braised beef ribs were melt-in-the-mouth!

Day 3 Dinner Menu with Photos

My favourite dish from this menu was the tuna tataki and if I was greedy, I would have asked for another portion. You can do this if there are two dishes you want to try or if you want extra of the same dish.

There is always a cheese plate available as an alternative to a dessert and the cheese selection changes each evening.

Day 4 Dinner Menu with Photos

This dinner menu had my least favourite dish of the cruise – the salmon terine. It was more the texture than the flavour, which resembled a soggy sponge.

Day 5 Dinner Menu

The garlic cream soup was particularly tasty. The pork tomahawk was very large and would satisfy someone with a big appetite.

Gala Dinner

Gala Night Dinner is the only dinner that requires all passengers to arrive at the same time for dinner, 7.00pm.

The evening starts at 6.00pm in The Observatory, where you are re-introduced to the crew. This is an excellent opportunity to show your appreciation.

Canapés and pink Prosecco is served by the crew. The individual portions are nicely-presented but be careful not to eat too many as the Gala Dinner is 6 courses!

Gala Night canapés on Tui River Cruises
Canapés and Prosecco in The Observatory for Gala Night

The Gala Dinner is served in the Verdastro Dining Room and there is a special touch made to your table. If you require a larger table to dine with friends, I’d recommend requesting this in advance.

Gala Night Dinner on Tui Skyla

The Gala Dinner offers 6 courses with an optional vegetarian dish for main course. Pescatarians can request a fish dish in advance.

Gala Night Dinner menu on Tui River cruises
Gala Night Dinner Menu

BBQ on Tui River Ships

Once a cruise, there is the opportunity to enjoy a BBQ lunch onboard. The Tui River Cruises dining team will serve this outside on the top deck, unless weather does not allow. It usually takes place during scenic sailing.

If the weather is too wet or windy, a BBQ buffet will be set up in the Bistro and passengers can eat this in either restaurant or on the outside deck.

The BBQ we enjoyed on our Eastern Danube cruise included local Serbia grilled meat and accompaniments.

BBQ tui river cruises dining
BBQ lunch on Tui Skyla

Tui River Cruise Afternoon Tea

Once a cruise, there is the opportunity to enjoy an Afternoon Tea. It’s likely to be on a day when the ship is docked so unfortunately, like us, you may miss it.

It’s best to keep an eye on the daily programme on the Tui app to see when Afternoon Tea will be held.

The Afternoon Tea is buffet-style and held in the Bistro, usually between 3.00pm and 3.30pm on one day of the cruise.

tui river cruises daily programme

What is full board plus on Tui River Cruises?

Full board plus means that during lunch and dinner, you can enjoy unlimited tea, coffee, soft drinks, wine or beer. During breakfast, juice, tea and coffee is served. This is included in your cruise fare.

The waiting staff are tentative and are always on hand to top up any drinks at the table.

At the start of lunch and dinner, recommended wines are brought to the table, usually white and red, with the option of rose on request.

Outside of lunch and dinner times, drinks are paid for individually unless you have the All-inclusive drinks package. To find out what’s included in the drinks package, I’d recommend reading my complete guide to Tui River Cruises drinks.

What is the dress code for Tui River Cruises dining?

The dress code for dinner on Tui River Cruises:

In the evenings, the dress code is smarter. Men will need to wear long trousers or smart tailored shorts, a shirt or polo shirt and closed shoes. There’s the opportunity to get dressed up for our gala dinner which takes place once per cruise, but there’s no requirement to do so.

Tui River Cruises

In reality, there was no dress code enforced on our cruise for dinner. We saw people wearing varying degrees of smart-casual as well as casual clothes (shorts and trainers).

You must be aware that formal wear on a river cruise is far more casual than on an ocean cruise. There is no requirement for men to wear a suit or tie. If you choose to dress as you would on an ocean cruise, you can by all means, but you are likely to be in the minority.

Personally I wore a combination of summer dresses, trousers, jeans with smart tops.

For further guidance, read my guide to what to wear on a river cruise in Europe.

Does Tui River Cruises dining cater for dietary requirements?

Tui River Cruises caters well for vegetarians with guaranteed options on every menu. The menus do not cater for vegans as well but dishes can be altered to suit if you speak to the maître d’ in advance.

Gluten-free, dairy-free and diabetic-friendly meals are available on request in both restaurants. If you have a dietary requirement, you should contact Tui River Cruises’ Customer Welfare Team on 0203 451 2688 when booking your trip.

Can you get food outside of meal times on Tui River Cruises?

There are very few options to get food outside of meal times on Tui rivers ships but there are two options you have:

  • Cookies and macaroons available next to the 24-hour drinks station in the upper atrium
  • A small selection of bar snacks available from The Observatory for an additional charge
snacks on tui river cruises
Jars of cookies and macaroons next to the drinks station

Bar Snacks Menu

Pringles (small pot)€2.50
Tortillas nacho cheese and salsa flavour€4.00
Bifi sausage caraza (similar to a Peperami in bread)€1.75
Bifi ranger (meat roll)€2.50

Final Verdict on Tui River Cruises Dining and Food

Tui River Cruises dining did not disappoint. All breakfasts, lunches and dinners are included in your cruise fare and offer excellent quality and value.

The menus have been designed in a way to minimise waste so similar ingredients may appear on menus during a day. This did not concern me, and in fact, shows Tui’s commitment to creating meals with minimal waste.

The soups served during lunch and dinner are excellent and well worth trying. The main courses offered variety. Vegetarians on our cruise were very impressed that there were always options for them to choose.

Overall, portion sizes are good and you can ask for extra if you need/want more although the portions of pasta sre quite large and I rarely cleared my plate. One evening, I opted for two starters as I couldn’t choose just one.

The Gala Dinner is a special event that enabled all passengers to dine together on the penultimate evening of the cruise. During this evening, passengers dress a little smarter but not as formal as ocean cruising.

Dining times mean that there is very little food available outside of meal times but because passengers spend most days off the ship exploring the ports, this isn’t an issue.

The flexible dining during meal times means that you don’t have to be ready with other passengers and you can choose a table when you arrive at the restaurant.


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