In a few months time Ambassador Cruise Line will officially set sail on its inaugural voyage. Ambassador Cruise Line is a premium-value cruise line and the first British cruise line since 2010.
Ambassador Cruise Line offers a premium-value, authentic cruise experience, sailing for the British market from its home port of London Tilbury. The new cruise line offers no-fly itineraries that are adult-focussed and primarily aimed at the 50-plus market. Ambassador’s first ship, Ambience, is designed to carry approximately 1,400 guests, creating a welcoming and social atmosphere.
Marked by a turbulent past, Ambience was first delivered in 1991 to Princess Cruises by the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy as Regal Princess. In 2007 the vessel was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia, underwent major refurbishment, and was renamed Pacific Dawn. In 2020 the ship was sold to Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) and renamed Amy Johnson. But when CMV ceased operations in 2020 the ship was sold to Ocean Builders Central, and renamed Satoshi. The company intended the first crypto cruise ship to become a floating residence and tech hub for small businesses in the Gulf of Panama. After failing to obtain insurance for the proposed operation, the ship was ultimately bought by Ambassador Cruise Line.
Ambience features 798 cabins, a choice of five restaurants offering a selection of locally inspired dishes, including speciality dining options, as well as two cafes, nine lounges, two swimming pools, a spa, day and evening entertainment, fitness and leisure facilities complemented by enticing enrichment and lifestyle programmes.
Travellers, particularly in the age demographic Ambassador Cruise Line is targetting, often travel alone and their needs tend to be overlooked by the travel industry or made prohibitively expensive. Ambassador has a dedicated solo activity programme onboard and has assigned 89 of the cabins onboard its first ship, Ambience, to solo cruisers. These single occupancy cabins spread over five-cabin grades and are offered at a highly-competitive supplement that is cheaper than the industry standard. This will not only enable the growing solo traveller segment to cruise at a more attainable price, but all guests will benefit from the improved guest/space ratio.
Ambassador’s proposition is to bring back the joy of cruising in ships which look and feel like cruise ships and which take environmental responsibility seriously. As such, prior to its first voyage, Ambience will be upgraded with emission reduction technologies to be IMO Tier III compliant prior to the start of the cruising season. The Tier III of the IMO NOX regulations – aiming to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 70% compared to the Tier II standards, will come into force by 1 January 2025.
In addition, Ambience will be equipped and outfitted with the latest ballast and sewage water treatment systems enabling her to sail in all seas, including those strictly environmentally protected. Guests will notice that single-use plastic onboard has been eliminated, and technology has been used as an innovative alternative to printing menus, shore plans and activity schedules. The huge investment in this area means Ambience will be an innovator in its class and fully Tier III compliant.
Ambitious growth plans
Fueled by a strong belief in the British cruise market, Ambassador Cruise Line recently announced the addition of a second ship to the fleet. The company’s second ship, to be named Ambition, will enter service in 2023.
Ambition, like her sister ship Ambience will offer no-fly sailings predominantly targeting the 50-plus market with a premium-value, authentic cruise experience. In addition to London Tilbury, she will also offer a summer 2023 programme of regional departures from ports such as Newcastle, Dundee, Belfast, Liverpool, Bristol and Falmouth, enabling guests across the UK to have a shorter distance to travel before experiencing Ambassador’s onboard service.
Ambition will carry up to 1,200 guests in considerable comfort and space in her 714 cabins, 125 of which have balconies and 113 are suites with up to 62m² of living space. She has two main restaurants and speciality dining options, a more casual bistro style café, four bars and lounges and a pub. These will be complemented by a tiered main theatre, casino, card room, library, and craft studio. Guests will also be able to enjoy the wellness centre, gymnasium, two swimming pools and a range of retail shops, all designed to create a friendly atmosphere on board and cement Ambassador’s reputation for creating a ‘community at sea’, whilst giving all guests room to breathe.
The ship has been purchased outright from Costa Crociere which operated her under their AIDA brand, as AIDAMira, mainly targeting the German market. Prior to entering service with Ambassador Cruise Line, the vessel will undergo similar extensive upgrades as her new sister ship, Ambience. These will include the installation of the latest emission reduction technologies to secure IMO Tier III compliance. This will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 95% compared to current standards. Along with installing updated ballast and sewage water treatment systems, both ships in the Ambassador Cruise Line fleet will be among circa 10% of the current world cruise fleet authorised to sail in strictly environmentally protected seas.
These investments are a key part of the Ambassador Cruise Line strategy of operating with a high level of environmental responsibility as well as meeting the increased demands of guests who want to enjoy all the benefits of travel whilst making the lowest possible impact on the destinations they travel to.
The maiden season for Ambience and Ambassador Cruise Line commences on 6 April 2022 with an inaugural short break cruise to Hamburg, before embarking on a mixed itinerary programme with sailings to the Norwegian Fjords and the British Isles planned throughout spring. The first full year programme operating until May 2023 will consist of 33 sailings visiting over 90 different ports, featuring the Baltics and St. Petersburg, Greenland, the Arctic, and Iceland, whilst for the winter months a range of expedition style voyages will sail to the Canary Islands, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.