Ambassador Cruise Line, Ambition

Ambassador Cruise Line: Ambition is a ‘renovation success story’


Cruise Trade News stepped aboard Ambition, the latest ship from Ambassador Cruise Line, to discover how £10 million transformed a 25-year-old vessel into a contemporary masterpiece. Calum Brown reports.

Renovations are all the rage. From classic cars to Georgian houses, we’re told that restoration and refurbishment prolongs lifespan. So, what about reconditioning a cruise ship?

It’s not uncommon for lines to breathe life back into a mature vessel and Ambassador Cruise Line is the latest to prove that new ships don’t always mean better value.

Britain’s youngest cruise line (established only two years ago) has succeeded in taking the original Mistral of 1999 and upgrading her into a strong and exciting second act, following Ambience’s smash-hit debut.

The verdict? We believe Ambassador Cruise Line has succeeded with merit. There’s no sign of difficult second album syndrome. In fact, it’s very difficult to find fault with Ambition once on board.

The cruise line has spent its money wisely and cracked the code for premium value, without compromising on quality or service.

Ambassador Cruise Line, Ambition naming ceremony
Ambassador Cruise Line CEO Christian Verhounig and the ship’s godmother Shirley Robertson OBE

A ‘sense of calm’ with Ambassador Cruise Line

From the moment I step into the swish foyer of deck five, the décor’s airy and easy-going mantra lulls me into a sense of calm.

There’s a varied mixture of glass walls, brass railings and smart carpets to provide the kind of soothing welcome usually reserved for swanky hotels.

And just like the most welcoming of hotels, Ambition offers bright and spacious communal areas, mixed with intimate comfort and understated furnishings.

It could have been oh-so-different should efforts have become overblown in a vain attempt to impress, but thankfully that’s not the case here.

In fact, the ship’s atmosphere is a breath of fresh air within a crowded market.

Interiors and cabins feel homely with clean lines and a healthy dollop of nautical glamour, providing a sense of dignified regality that transcends the ship’s premium value stance.

The same story applies to the dining experience.

Delicious dining

Ambassador has pushed the boat out (excuse the pun) to provide nourishment that outstrips the usual experience afforded to premium value travellers.

There’s an all-encompassing range of eateries and bars to suit all tastes and moods, from the Asian-inspired Saffron Restaurant specialising in Indian cuisine, to the buffet-style Borough Market and the oh-so-fancy Buckingham Restaurant – offering à la carte dining.

Looking for a drink? The Purple Turtle is perfect for hunting down a crisp glass of wine, whereas the Pendennis Bar provides all manner of fine beverages alongside classy live piano music.

Ambassador Cruise Line, Ambition, dining
The Saffron Restaurant on board

A mix of entertainment

Seeking entertainment? Well, Ambassador has that covered, too. There’s an army of on-board theatrical types who appear to take great pride in demonstrating their talents.

Some productions aboard rival ships can hit with the sour twang of a shrapnel bomb, yet the Ambassador Theatre Company put their heart and soul into each lyric and dance manoeuvre.

Further to that, the on-board Cabaret venue – named The Cavern – provides enough scandalous humour, gameshow glamour and elaborate quiz staging to set the senses alight.

However, it’s not all about riotous nightlife.

If rest and relaxation are required, the well-stocked Bronte Library is a great place to find solace from the busy world, or the Green Sea Spa – offering massages and sauna exploits to boost circulation and stave off yet more daydreaming about the Borough Market’s next serving.

A triumph for Ambassador Cruise Line

All these aspects are neatly housed within a ship that’s had more than just money thrown at it. There’s a sense of installed loyalty to passengers that oozes from each design trait and every delineation.

The entire mantra for Ambassador revolves around ‘best value at sea’, and I firmly believe they have cracked it with Ambition.

The upgraded ship gives some dignity back to the ‘value’ term.  So, don’t knock Ambition purely because of her original launch date prior to the new millennium.

She’s been transformed into the blueprint for success in this sector. It’s as close to Rolls-Royce service for Ford Mondeo money as you can get.

Ambassador Cruise Line took a hefty risk in restoring Ambition for the masses, but they have succeeded where others faltered.

Unlike other ‘heritage’ ships that remain landlocked in a museum capacity or as a floating hotel, Ambition can be enjoyed where she belongs – at sea.

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