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Credit: Ambassador

Ambassador Cruise Line boss on Ambience's community, 'luxury' space and no 'gimmicks'

Author: Harriet Mallinson

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Ambassador Cruise Line voyages went on sale this week ahead of its sailings in Spring 2022. The brand is the first new cruise line in Britain in over two years - what's special about it?

World of Cruising caught up with Ambassador Cruise Line CEO Christian Verhounig about the company's "bold move" of launching post-pandemic.

"What we see in the market is a massive pent up demand for going on holiday," explained the Ambassador boss, who is currently based in Salzburg, Austria.

So what is the company doing differently? First up, "we're putting forward the authentic maritime experience," said Christian.

Building a community of "like-minded" passengers is at the heart of what the new cruise line is trying to achieve and Christian hopes their first vessel, Ambience, will be the "friendliest ship afloat."

"The ethos of sailing with friends and finding a community between guests and also with crew is at the centre of everything we're doing."

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The prices are friendly, too. "The cruises are very affordable," says Christian.

For instance, Ambassador's six-night Fjordland cruise, leaving on April 10, 2022, starts from just £509pp.

The cruise line is also offering two special discounted fares - “Fair Maiden Fares” and “Ambassador Fares” - which are capacity controlled and valid for all bookings made by July 31, 2021.

Both offer up to 20 percent off full fares and onboard credit of up to £630pp, with the latter providing further savings.

To continue the theme, Ambience is also environmentally friendly and even "looks like a dolphin," according to Christian.

"One of our main focuses is that we are here for the long haul and that we want to ensure that our environmental footprint is reduced," he details.

- Read more about Ambience and its fares -

Fjords
Ambassador Cruise Line offers a wide variety of itineraries, including s Norwegian Fjords cruise. Credit: Shutterstock.

Single-use plastics will be limited onboard, in-room amenities and uniform will be "eco-conscious products" and there will be no printed menus (unless requested).

Smart technology will create a "frictionless journey" throughout, from boarding to disembarkation. "We are trying to practice being environmentally conscious," confirms cruise boss.

As for who will get to benefit from all this, Ambassador's target audience is 50-plus and, while they expect couples and groups onboard, they're also keen to welcome solo cruisers.

Christian details their research shows "the solo market is extremely overlooked by the industry."

Therefore, Ambassador has allocated 89 of the 198 cabins to solo travellers, all split over five different categories and offered at a special 30 percent single supplement against the equivalent twin fare.

Older couple
Ambassador Cruise Line: "Absolutely we want to bring passengers together," chuckles Christian. Credit: Shutterstock

I'm keen to know whether those looking for love might be catered for onboard Ambassador ships, and the good news for the singletons out there is yes.

"Absolutely we want to bring passengers together," chuckles Christian. "As standard, there will be a singles welcome party." Solo travellers will also be invited to sit together in the restaurants and there will be activities put on for them.

Of course, if you don't want to get up close and personal with other sailors, then fear not; Ambassador is very proud of how much space can be found onboard.

"We have a massive space ratio onboard the vessel," explains Christian. Ambience may be able to fit 2,000 cruisers onboard but only 1,400 will sail in her.

Cabins are "very spacious... they are on average in excess of 18sqm," he adds.

What's more, the crew to passenger ratio is one staff member to 2.15 guests which, clarifies the CEO, "normally brings you into the luxury sector."

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Onboard, cruisers will be treated to gala evenings and speciality dining (there are five restaurants, two cafes, nine lounges).

There will also be live music and entertainment shows in the evening and an enticing enrichment and lifestyle programme.

Fitness and leisure facilities can be found onboard. "We have a dedicated yoga and pilates room on the vessel," shares Christian. There are also two swimming pools and a spa.

However, what you won't find on Ambassador vessels are "gimmicks," emphasises Christian.

"What we are concentrating on is the relaxation and the joy of cruising, so you won't find bumper cars or ice skating rinks."

This shouldn't put families off sailing on Ambassador's multi-generation cruises offered next summer, though.

Ambassador hopes families who come together on these summer holiday voyages will be able to enjoy quality time together which lockdown has perhaps prevented over the past year and a half.

"We will have a programme on board in such a way where grandparents, parents and their children interact together and actually spend time together, rather than dropping them off in the children's facility," says Christian.

He goes on: "It's something different... I think there are so many things where you can bring families together... and this is what we will do."

Port of Tilbury 2
Ambassador Cruise Line: All are sailing roundtrip from London Tilbury in Essex.

Ambassador cruises went on sale on Thursday, June 24, with itineraries spanning the British Isles, Norwegian Fjords, the Baltics, St. Petersburg, Greenland, the Arctic, Iceland, the Canary Islands, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde, and Scandinavia from 6 April 2022 to 16 May 2023.

All are sailing roundtrip from London Tilbury in Essex "which in itself is an exciting place because there are very short distances; from the car park to the gangway is less than 200 metres," Christian enthuses.

While he's "personally a big fan" of the cruise to Canada which sails to Greenland, he explains "there's something for everybody...it gives a real choice for people to choose from."

Last but not least, who will be Godmother of Ambience? Alas, this cannot yet be revealed. "Many are in the running but we are not ready to announce it yet," Christian smiles.

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