Tui River Cruises launched in 2021 and offers affordable river cruises in Europe. A suite on a Tui river cruise is a fraction of the price of other river cruises, but how does it measure up? In this review, I take a look at what you can expect from a Tui Skyla French Balcony Suite.
All French Balcony Suites are the same on Tui Sklya, Tui Isla and Tui Maya so this review will help you for any Tui river cruise ship.
What is a French Balcony Suite on Tui River Cruises?
A French Balcony Suite is the highest grade of cabin on Tui River Cruises. These suites are only located on Deck 2 and Deck 3, with the most expensive suites found on Deck 3. This is because when docked, there are times when Deck 2 may be below ground level and so there is no view.
A Tui River Cruises French Balcony Suite is 24m2 and has an abundance of storage. It has two French balconies and an ample size bathroom with shower.
There are a number of additional benefits that are included with a French Balcony Suite to make your cruise a little more special.
French Balcony Suite Size
At 24m2, a Tui River Cruises suite is a good size.
Here are examples of typical suite sizes on other river cruise lines:
- AmaWaterways – 33m2
- Uniworld – 28.3m2
- Viking – 25.5m2
- Scenic – 21m2
- Avalon Waterways – 18.6m2
- Emerald Cruises – 16.7m2
One thing to note is that some river cruise lines offer balconies, whereas Tui River ships only offer French balconies.
The French Balcony Suite on Tui is an excellent size for two people sharing. As Tui River Cruises is adult-only, family rooms are not offered.
Tui Skyla French Balcony Suite Tour
You can watch my tour of a French Balcony Suite on Tui Skyla right now.
Best French Balcony Suite Locations on Tui Skyla
French Balcony Suites are found on Deck 2 and Deck 3 of Tui river ships, but which should you choose for your cruise? Ultimately, there are a few things you might want to consider when choosing the location.
All three Tui River Cruises ships are (almost) identical except for Tui Skyla because there are actually more suites on Tui Skyla.
|Tui River Ship||No. of Suites|
This means that there are less passengers on Tui Skyla but the Club Lounge is slightly smaller to accommodate more suites.
We’d recommend avoiding French Balcony Suites on Deck 2 directly underneath The Observatory (205, 206 and 207) because this is where the evening entertainment will go on until at least midnight.
We’d also avoid the French Balcony Suites directly next to the Club Lounge (Tui Skyla 323 and 324) because although there isn’t any music played in this lounge, it’s a place where people congregate to enjoy a drink in the evening.
We booked suite 304, which is very close to the ship’s atrium, 24-hour drinks station and a staircase to access the top deck. This was extremely convenient for getting on and off the ship, meeting tour groups and going to the upper deck to relax and watch the scenery.
It’s fairly close to The Observatory where evening entertainment takes place each evening. This is handy if you want to use your own bathroom during the evening but I did notice faint noise coming from The Observatory. If you’re likely to go to bed before the entertainment finishes, I’d recommend choosing a suite further down the corridor on Deck 3.
Port or starboard cabin on a river ship?
In reality, river ships do not always dock on port side (this is also the case for ocean cruise ships) BUT there is a good way to predict which side the river ship will dock.
Generally, river ships have to dock facing up-river so this means that if the ship is sailing the same way that the water is flowing, it has to turn 180 degrees to dock.
You can check on a map, which side of the river the destinations are located to give you an idea of how often the ship will dock port side or starboard side.
French Balcony Suite Storage
The amount of cupboard and wardrobe space in a French Balcony Suite is huge with plenty of space for clothes, shoes and other items like cameras, books etc.
There are wardrobes and cupboards by the door as well as a desk with drawers and ‘walk-in wardrobe’ area towards the bathroom.
In the bathroom, there’s a generous-sized drawer under the wash basin as well as space around the wash basin for toiletries. In the shower area, there is a shelf for toiletries too.
There are bedside tables on either side of the bed with two small drawers in each.
We simply didn’t have enough belongings on our 7-night cruise to use all of the storage options!
Bathroom in a French Balcony Suite
The French Balcony Suite’s bathroom is a spacious with a wash basin, large shower and toilet. The bathroom is divided into two sections, with the toilet and wash basin in one, and the shower in the other.
The rainfall shower is huge and is actually big enough to have fit a full size bath in the same area. The separate toilet and wash basin in the suite is a nice feature and definitely makes it useable for both people to get ready at the same time.
The suite comes with Molton Brown toiletries in the shower and by the wash basin, that are replenished throughout the cruise.
There are plenty of mirrors around the wash basin and behind the toilet so that when you sit on the toilet, you can see a hundred of yourself in the reflection! The only improvement here would be a magnifying mirror for shaving and make-up. This was a nice feature that AmaWaterways has in its cabins.
The only other improvement that’s needed in the bathroom is a plug for the wash basin. The design meant that you couldn’t fill the wash basin, which makes it difficult for men to have a shave.
Tui River Cruises Bed
Tui River Cruises’ beds and pillows are very comfortable and we had no trouble with sleeping at night (or snoozing in the afternoon). The pillows are square, rather than rectangular but this wasn’t an issue for us.
The king-size bed can be made into twin beds if you request.
One of the best things about a French Balcony Suite is the orientation of the bed so that you can sit or lie in bed and watch the scenery go by the two French balcony windows.
We took photos of our view from the bed throughout our cruise. Most of the time we had a view but when another river ship was docked against Tui Skyla, we only had the view of the side of that ship.
Be very careful before you open your curtains in the morning or you might get a shock if you come face- to-face with a passenger on the other ship!
Bedside tables with drawers are either side of the bed and there are two reading lights located just above.
A nice touch are the USB sockets located next to the bed (one on each side).
It’s worth noting that all plug sockets on Tui Skyla are European.
Read all about the plug sockets on Tui River Cruises for each cabin here.
Tui Skyla French Balcony Suite Layout
We thought that the layout of the suite was very good and made great use of the space. There was ample space for all of our belongings and there was plenty of places to leave things like paperwork, cameras, binoculars etc without it feeling cluttered.
The bathroom behind the bed created the feeling of more space and completely divided it from the bedroom.
The chaise longe and desk chair offered the option of sitting somewhere other than the bed.
The area between the bedroom and bathroom felt almost like a walk-in wardrobe and added a touch of luxury. We challenge anyone to run out of space for clothes in this suite!
One thing we did notice in the French Balcony Suite was the amount of mirrors. Mirrors can make a room appear larger although we didn’t think it really needed this.
In the bathroom, there were three mirrors around the wash basin and one behind the toilet, so when you were sat on the toilet it was like an infinity mirror!
A lot of things are included in your cruise fare with Tui River Cruises regardless of the cabin you choose:
- All meals
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during meals
- 24-hour hot drinks
- £120 credit to spend on excursions
- See the full list of things included on Tui River Cruises
It’s close to being all-inclusive, so you don’t need to worry about trying to calculate additional costs. It creates less friction, so you can relax and enjoy the cruise however you like.
A suite does comes with a few extra perks that are not included for all guests.
The suite has a complimentary minibar with soft drinks and local beer. This is replenished on a daily basis but there’s also space to store your own drinks.
Room service is only available to guests staying in a suite. You can order breakfast drinks and pastries using a card left outside your suite before you retire to bed.
Room service can be ordered for delivery between 8.00am and 10.00am on the hour or half past the hour.
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
We’ve created a handy guide to dining on Tui River Cruises, you might find useful.
Suite guests have bathrobes and slippers available to use that come in handy for the Wellness Area too.
The complimentary Molton Brown toiletries, that you can take home are in the bathroom but really are so small there isn’t much point in them!
Price of a Suite on Tui Skyla
A French Balcony Suite on Tui Skyla can differ in price depending on the deck. Deck 2 suites are slightly lower in price than those found on Deck 3.
Here are some examples of prices of French Balcony Suites on Tui Skyla’s Danube Treasures itinerary.
|Tui River Cruise 7-night Danube Treasures||Deck 2 Suite||Deck 3 Suite|
|departing 20th March 2023||£2,049pp||£2301pp|
|departing 3rd April 2023||£2,169pp||£2421pp|
|departing 15th May 2023||£2,669pp||£2,949pp|
|departing 19th June 2023||£2,689pp||£2,969pp|
|departing 10th July 2023||£2,599pp||£2,879pp|
|departing 14th August 2023||£2,569pp||£2,849pp|
|departing 14th September 2023||£2,689pp||£2,969pp|
|departing 9th October 2023||£2,109pp||£2,361pp|
The French Balcony Suite offered by Tui River Cruises offers good value for money in comparison to other river cruise lines. You can take a look at my tour of a Suite on AmaWaterways to help you compare (prices start at £4,274pp for a similar cruise in 2023, excluding flights).
Tui Skyla’s French Balcony Suite offers an excellent amount of space and storage with a few additional perks such as room service breakfast and a complimentary minibar.
The bathroom is very spacious and is perfect for two people sharing.
Despite Tui river ships being older, the refurbishment has given them a clean and fresh feel and the decor is very tasteful.
This suite is the highest grade of cabin on Tui River Cruises and so understandably the most expensive but is actually very good value when compared to similar suites on other river cruise lines that operate on the Danube.
To help you choose the right cabin for you, take a look at the different cabin options on Tui River Cruises.