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Credit: Ambassador Cruise Line

First look at Ambassador Cruise Line’s new ship Ambience

Author: Vicky Mayer

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Ambassador Cruise Line finally launched its brand new first cruise ship Ambience this week. World of Cruising headed onboard to see what the vessel is really like.

Ambassador Cruise Line officially welcomed Ambience at a ceremony held at London Tilbury port on April 19.

My first impression is quite how much space there is, think roomy corridors, generously proportioned cabins with masses of storage space and cavernous public areas decked out in soothing natural tones where there’s always a seat for everyone.

Where you’re not getting jostled in the corridors or lifts, you can easily order a drink and there’s plenty of room at the Borough Market buffet on deck 12.

Ambience is a mid-size ocean ship and can hold up to 1,400 guests in 798 cabins. Onboard there is a choice of five different restaurants and two cafes, as well as nine lounges, a swimming pool, gym and a spa.

In keeping with the British heritage of the new line, Olympic star Sally Gunnell was on board to rename the ship. She told us that she was super chuffed to be asked to be the line’s first godmother and that cruising was one of her and her family’s passions.

On the eve of the ship’s maiden mini voyage to Hamburg from its homeport Tilbury, there’s a real sense of excitement in the air as those first to embark (including World of Cruising) check out what’s onboard.

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Ambassador Cruise Line: Ambience history

When she made her debut in 1991 the ship was called Regal Princess and her godmother was Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She subsequently joined the P&O Australia fleet, sailing as Pacific Dawn so this will be her third incarnation.

Wooden decks, the enormous Observatory Bar at the front of the ship on deck 14 and an old-school funnel give her a lovely iconic feel and the size of her cabins on a cost-conscious line like this is almost unheard of.

But before you think that Ambassador Cruises has just given an old ship a lick of paint and set her on her way, think again.

- READ MORE: Ambassador boss on community, 'luxury' space & no 'gimmicks' -

Ambassador Cruise Line: Ambience common areas

Public spaces – including the three-deck Centre Court atrium, beautifully designed Botanical Lounge on deck 7, folly British pub the Purple Turtle and the Buckingham Restaurant (the main dining room) – feel fresh and new.

You can feel how much love and work has been put into these areas and not surprisingly, by mid-afternoon they are being well used.

Ambience: Visit the beautifully designed Botanical Lounge on deck 7. Credit: Ambassador Cruise Line

Ambassador Cruise Line: Ambience dining

The Borough Market buffet bar on deck 12 serves some fab lunch choices including the Asian-inspired Points East counter and British favourite chip stall ‘Salt & Vinegar’. Another plus point here is that it's designed so you don’t feel like you’re sitting in a school hall.

On the night before the ship set sail, we were treated to a deluxe seven-course celebratory meal in the Buckingham Restaurant. The food, including a feather-light cheese souffle, scallop amuse bouche and perfectly cooked sea bass was delicious with perfect portion sizes so you could eat all the courses.

The piece de resistance though was the retro but fun sparkler-lit Baked Alaska dessert that was paraded through the restaurant before being bought to the table by the smiling staff. Who doesn’t live a bit of classic cruise fun?

- READ MORE: Ambassador offers half-price coach service to passengers -

If you’re planning a longer cruise, you might want to visit the three speciality restaurants onboard.

There's Saffron, an Indian curry house; Sea & Grass, a surf and turf restaurant known for its prime cut steaks; and Chef’s Table, a VIP multi-course dining experience created and hosted by the Executive Chef.

Charges apply for these restaurants with prices starting from a very reasonable £14.95 per person at Saffron through to £24.95 pp at Sea & Grass.

You can also buy a drinks package for your trip with prices starting at £79 per person for a three-night cruise. Whether you need to do this though is debatable – the onboard prices are decent – with a pint of beer at £4, a small glass of house wine at £3 and cocktails at £5.

Ambience: We tucked into a deluxe seven-course celebratory meal in the Buckingham Restaurant. Credit: Ambassador Cruise Line

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Ambassador Cruise Line: Ambience cabins

While the cabins aren’t as modern as the main areas of the ship, what they lack in snazzy interior design, they make up for in size with roomy balconies.

- READ MORE: How to choose the best cabins for your needs -

It's easy to find staff on attendance in the corridors if you’ve got a question to ask. And the afternoon canapés go down a treat.

Even better for us fussy Brits, the plugs in all the cabins are British and you can make your own tea or coffee too.

Ambience: What cabins lack in snazzy interior design, they make up for in size with roomy balconies. Credit: Ambassador Cruise Line

Why should you cruise with Ambassador Cruise Line?

Can this new British cruise line make it in an increasingly crowded market? Judging by what we’ve seen so far, we’d say a definite yes.

The line is aimed at a core market of over 50s British cruisers who love no-fly cruises and speaking to the guests on board, they really appreciated the effort that Ambassador Cruise Line has made to rejuvenate Ambience.

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Everywhere you look, you’ll see the company’s signature purple colour not to mention a lot of cheery passengers reaping the benefits of a fun, friendly, well-run, well-thought-out and reasonably-priced line.

The company’s second ship Ambition is all set to make her debut in 2023, and if she’s as good as Ambience, she’ll be an instant success too.

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