If you are considering a river cruise with TUI onboard the TUI Maya, TUI Skyla, or TUI Isla you may be wondering which cabin to pick.
There are a range of cabins available from those below the waterline to much larger cabins on higher decks.
I recently took a cruise onboard the TUI Skyla and spent a lot of time in both Deck 1 and Deck 2 cabins. We will cover if it’s worth upgrading from deck 1 within this post.
Superior Cabin Deck 1
The superior cabins on deck 1 are identical to the superior cabins on higher decks, apart from the fact that because they are lower down, there are porthole windows instead of large sliding doors.
Although these cabins are called superior, they are the most common size on the ship and there are only 4 cabins on deck 1 which are smaller than the ‘superior’ cabins. These are called standard cabins.
I didn’t get a chance to see the ‘standard’ deck 1 cabins during my cruise but deck plans look like these are just slightly thinner cabins with a fixed double bed.
I Had to Change Cabin, Pre Cruise
I originally booked a deck 2 ‘standard’ cabin without realising that the bed didn’t split into twins. As I was cruising with my brother, I had to call TUI to upgrade to a higher category and ended up in a deck 2 superior cabin.
The cost of the upgrade was only £59 in total and TUI were very helpful on the phone.
I usually book through an agent but I booked directly this time in order to get 10% cashback.
To learn more about how to use the cashback to get money back when you cruise, check out chapter 2 of the How to Cruise For Less cruise course here.
Initial Impressions of the Superior Cabin Deck 1
Our initial impressions were that the cabin was a good size and that the bed was very large. Although high up, the portholes did provide a lot of natural light and we were surprised how low down in the water we were.
If you’re somebody who likes to watch ducks swim by, this is the perfect cabin!
I liked the decor in the cabin and it felt very clean and modern.
There Weren’t Many Plug Sockets (2 Per Cabin)
It wasn’t a big problem for us during our cruise but it is worth noting that the cabin only has 2 plug sockets and one is taken up by the kettle/excursion boxes (an audio device that lets you listen to your guide) that often need charging.
I did unplug this to charge my phone but the cabin definitely could have done with a few more plug sockets.
There was one plug socket on the right-hand side of the bed and the other was on the desk. There is also a USB in the TV that you could use in theory but this is an extremely slow charge.
Both plug sockets are European sockets, so require adapters if you are from the UK or US.
I’d recommend purchasing an adapter that provides extra USB sockets. The one I currently use goes from European to UK and also has 2 USB sockets. Effectively turning 1 socket into 3. You’ll find my recommendations here: Cruise Essentials.
In the cabin there was also a wall mounted TV, a small desk area, a chair, table and bin.
Storage Wasn’t a Problem
The cabin does have less storage than it first appears to, thanks to the air conditioning unit which is taking up the two cupboards on the right, seen behind the chair in the above photo, and the fridge that’s in the cupboard on the left.
Despite this though, we had plenty of storage.
There is a closet with hanging space and another with shelves. This is where the majority of our clothes went.
Our suitcases fit under our beds without any problems.
The far left cupboard is a mini-fridge with a mini-bar which left us with 2 small drawers with 2 bigger cupboards below. There was also a bedside table on both sides of the bed with shelves.
The Cabin Was Noisey When Sailing
I had been on river cruises before this cruise but I had never been in a cabin on the lowest deck.
I was surprised by how noisey the cabin was when moving.
We didn’t hear specific loud noises like bangs or crashes but there was a constant hum of the engines and the sound of the water outside was much louder than I expected.
For many people (me included) this hum is actually very relaxing and can help you to sleep, if you are somebody who can’t sleep unless it is quiet though, I wouldn’t recommend this cabin for you.
Superior Cabin Deck 2 and 3
The superior cabins on deck 2 and 3 were almost identical to those on deck 1.
The only difference was that the cabins on deck 2/3 had large sliding windows. We loved being able to lay in bed while looking out at the scenery passing by.
It was amazing how peaceful the water was when sailing, if we had the doors open we would hear the noise of the water passing by and it was very relaxing.
As I was cruising with my brother, we had the beds split into two.
Both beds were very comfortable and we slept well here.
The ‘Balcony’ Isn’t Really a Balcony
On most river cruise ships, if a cabin says that it has a balcony what it means is that it has a large sliding door and a balcony type railing outside.
Viking are the excepiton to this as they often have balconies in the more traditional sense.
We sailed through Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia in March so it was quite nice that we could be ‘on the balcony’ while still sat in bed. It was quite cold and rainy during a lot of our cruise.
We did have an issue with our air conditioning not cooling the room. We spoke to reception about it and they were very helpful but unable to make the air conditioning work any better. We usually just had to have the doors open while in the cabin.
Fortunately because the weather on our cruise got colder and colder as the week went on we didn’t need the air conditioning but this would have been an issue if sailing in warmer weather.
We were on the first sailing of the season so thought it was important we reported these things to reception ahead of the summer season.
The Bathroom Wasn’t Exactly Private
By far my least favourite things about the cabin was the glass doors to the bathroom. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to have glass doors on a bathroom…
During the day you are able to see who who’s in the bathroom and what they are doing (are they showering, on the toilet etc) from the main cabin, it isn’t a big problem during the day but we found that it was far worse at night.
When it was dark in the room and the bathroom light was on you could see what a person in the bathroom was wearing and exactly what they were doing.
The below is a photo of me pretending to use the toilet (I was posing for the photo, taken from the main cabin).
As I was cruising with my brother we both decided that we would just shower in the dark for the duration of the cruise, not ideal but it was better than us being able to see each other in the shower.
This probably isn’t a big problem for couples but if you’re cruising with friends it’s definitely something to think about.
The larger suites don’t have this bathroom design so it may be worth upgrading.
The Bathroom Was Well Designed
The bathroom is a standard cabin size but well designed. Theres a couple of shelves for storage, a sink, toilet and large shower.
The shower was powerful and able to get very hot. There is a shower door instead of a shower curtain.
There were two large and two smaller towels. To have your towels changed you should leave them on the floor, if you’re happy to use them again leave them on the rack behind the toilet.
Toiletries are provided in the bathroom and include shampoo, conditioner and body wash. These are Molton Brown toiletries and come in a dispenser on the wall.
A bar of soap is also provided for hand washing.
There is no lock on the bathroom door, but it is easy to see who’s in there thanks to the glass doors…
All Cabins Have Tea and Coffee Making Facilities
Each cabin has a kettle and coffee/tea. This is regularly replenished when your room is made up by housekeeping.
TUI have twinings tea and also provide hot chocolate sachets.
To learn more about what is included in a TUI river cruise, check out this post next: Are TUI River Cruises All-Inclusive? Your Guide to What is Included.
Would I Recommend Upgrading to a Deck 2 Superior Cabin from a Deck 1 Superior Cabin?
If you are somebody who is able to sleep despite noise, and doesn’t mind sitting in a lounge or on the top deck while sailing to watch the view, a deck 1 cabin can be a great option.
If you would like to spend time in your room watching the scenery go by and would prefer a quieter cabin, I’d recommend upgrading.
It’s worth remembering that all superior cabins, regardless of deck have the same ammenities and space.
To learn more about river cruising, and why river cruises usually cost a premium, check out this post next: Why Are River Cruises EXPENSIVE? – The Truth Behind The Price
Marella have a £300 discount running at the moment for next year and theres no minimum spend, check them out: Marella Discount. (Affiliate link).