TUI River Cruises is to debut its first purpose-built river cruise ship on Portugal’s Douro River in spring 2025.
The new ship will be named TUI Alma, which translates as “soul” in Portuguese. It will operate seven-night roundtrips from Porto, calling at Entre-os-Rios, Peso de Regua, Vega de Terron and Barca d’Alva. According to TUI, there will be a “heavy focus” on daytime sailing and shore experiences. Guests will also benefit from a TUI Flying service from London Gatwick to Porto.
The four-deck ship will be able to accommodate 123 guests in a total of 62 cabins, which will include six standard balcony cabins, two suites and one room for solo travellers. Other onboard highlights will include a main restaurant, a Portuguese-inspired alfresco dining space, and a top deck featuring a shallow pool with seating areas, sun loungers, a bar and food service.
“The top deck is going to be one of the most beautiful venues and very different to what our competitors offer,” said Katy Berzins, head of TUI River Cruises, speaking at a press event. “We want to make the most of the fantastic weather, so we’ll have an alfresco bar and dining area and pods where guests can sit and look at the scenery.
“We’ve put our heart and soul into this product. The opportunity for us to bring a new ship to the market that we can design with our customers in mind is a hugely exciting step forward for us in our journey.”
TUI Alma will also feature hybrid venues to enable the brand to offer different experiences throughout the day.
“We’re designing the ship with true flexibility and choice in mind by making spaces different from day to night to allow the customer a choice of how to spend their day/evening onboard,” said Logan.
TUI Alma will be the fifth vessel to join the TUI River Cruises fleet. It launched in 2021 with three vessels – TUI Isla, Maya and Skyla – all of which are marketed primarily at British customers and sail on the Danube, Rhine and Moselle. The brand will also begin operating cruises on the River Nile with TUI Al Horeya in winter 2024.
“This is a huge moment for TUI River Cruises and a defining moment in our journey,” said Chris Logan, managing director of specialist business at TUI. “Given we only launched back in 2021, it’s a testament to the response of our customers that we’re able to deliver a newbuild ship. We’re so excited to create something amazing for our guests.”
TUI River Cruises has also unveiled its summer 2025 programme, which features 21 itineraries across 12 countries. The programme includes three new itineraries, including a five-night ‘Windmills & Waterways’ sailing in the Netherlands in April 2025, a six-night ‘Sail the Southern Rhine’ voyage in Germany and Switzerland, and the seven-night ‘Danube Gems’ cruises, which calls at some smaller ports of call along the Danube. TUI Maya and TUI Skyla will sail on the Danube whilst TUI Isla will operate on the Main, Moselle and the Rhine, all offering various voyages ranging from three to 15 nights.