Five new Christmas Market sailings have been added, as well as two new Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve itineraries.
The decision comes off the back of strong results for TUI River Cruises, with bookings up more than 30% year on year. Earlier this month, TUI's cruise business reported occupancy on many sailings near 2019 peaks.
Chris Hackney, MD of cruise, TUI UK & Ireland, said, ‘We’re seeing strong demand from customers, with bookings increasing by 30% compared to last year, and we’ve responded to this appetite by increasing our offerings. These itineraries feature stops at fairy tale cities and bustling Christmas markets, and we are confident they offer something for everyone.’
For the sailings, TUI flights will be available from Manchester and Gatwick airports. Flights from Birmingham and Edinburgh airports will be offered through TUI’s partner airlines.
TUI River Cruises' winter 2023 voyages launched last summer.
TUI Skyla will operate the additional five Christmas market sailings. Departing from Mainz, the five-night itineraries may include Frankfurt, Cologne and Dusseldorf in Germany, as well as a combination of other destinations, such as Bonn, Breisach, Mannheim or Speyer also in Germany or Strasbourg in France,
Passengers will be able to visit the 100-year-old carousel and the famous life-sized manger from Bethlehem in Dusseldorf, take in Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik's Christmas tree standing at 107ft tall and decorated with over 400 baubles, or ice skate in Bonn.
On board the vessel, traditional mulled wine, Christmas decorations and festive film screenings feature.
Christmas Day & New Year’s Eve cruises
TUI Skyla will additionally offer two seven-night sailings covering Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Carols, a traditional Christmas dinner and special entertainment will take place on board.
Passengers who welcome in the New Year with TUI can celebrate at a gala dinner followed by a party and the traditional countdown to midnight. The following morning, a New Year’s Day brunch will be held.
Calls may include Mainz, Koblenz, Dusseldorf, Bonn, Cologne, and Boppard and Rudesheim in Germany.