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Ambience, Northern Europe


A Couples View on Their Return to the Ambassador Ambience

Itinerary - Tilbury - Copenhagen - Ronne - Tallin - Helsinki - Stockholm (overnight) - Visby - Skagen - Tilbury

Having been on the first two Ambience cruises, where it would have been fair to say, you certainly needed a sense of humour, we were really interested to see how the Ambience had progressed when we booked this last minute cruise. In fact, despite all the initial problems we have grown to become big fans of this small but friendly cruise line, and we are probably more forgiving than we would be of a larger established company.

From an Ambassador perspective, the embarkation process with a lot smoother. this time though we did note there was no priority boarding for their suite guests, despite it being listed as a benefit, Ambassador really need to sort this out.

Unfortunately, not for the first time, our experience of Tilbury Cruise Terminal was not a positive one. We can’t understand why they would want to make passengers, many of whom are elderly, stand out on the street, when there is a hall full of empty chairs when you check in. It’s bad enough in the spring and summer, we can only imagine what it’s like in the winter months. We feel really strongly about this, so will be expressing our views to the port management and local health and safety authority.

Anyway, back to the ship. We were greeted by name by four different members of staff, within twenty minutes of boarding, who remembered us from the maiden cruise in April. This is part of what we describe as the essence of cruising, something you mainly only experience on smaller ships like the Ambience.

We look upon the Ambience as a grand old lady she’s been around a long time, and externally it shows, but for us, it just adds character.

This was one of a couple of multi- generational cruises the line were undertaking this year - and from our perspective it went well, even though we weren’t travelling with children ourselves.

Internally, the lounges and public areas are all tastefully designed, the Botanical lounge is a particular favourite of ours. One of the many things we love about Ambience is the amount of outdoor areas, particularly on the aft, that are available to experience the true essence of cruising.

We always have a junior suite, which is spacious internally, though the balcony is a tad too narrow. Internally there is plenty of storage space, the beds are really comfortable, and there is a bath and a shower. Personally, we don’t think that Ambassador provide enough information on the room’s tv system, for example, unusually, there is no view from the bridge, nor is there any weather information provided, which we could imagine could be frustrating if you had an inside cabin, but maybe it’s just us.

There are plenty of bars around the ship and we think the drinks are reasonably priced, as are the drinks packages, some of which include gratuities. Oddly, the two outside bars Poolside on Deck 12 and Consulate on deck 10 aft close way too early on our opinion, around 6pm and 5pm regardless of good weather and having a lot of passengers around the area.

We believe the shops and spa are reasonably priced in the context of cruise ship pricing, and the gym though small is well equipped. There is also a sauna, library, games/card room, arts and crafts area, laundry and small casino on board, and a table tennis table at the back of the ship on deck 14, together with a yoga studio and running/ walking track.

There is always a full programme of events on Ambience including some of the traditional activities. Passengers are invited to join the choir, there are varied arts and crafts sessions, a book club and you can even watch the occasional short play, professionally staged by the ship’s excellent entertainment team. There are also the usual game shows and quizzes and some great fun parties on the pool deck which are really enjoyable. The show company productions in the Palladium are first class too.

Now for the destinations. Obviously this is our opinion and many of us look for different things in the places we visit. We had come to the Baltics many years previously on a larger ship and had endured poor weather. This time the gods smiled on us with a decent amount of sunshine and not much rain.

In Copenhagen we took a ships tour - land and water that was excellent and pretty good value for money - we saw all the main sights from both, and got to visit the square where the Royal Palace is.

In Tallin, Stockholm and Visby we decided instead to do our own thing which included touring on the Hop on Hop Bus. Loved Tallin and Stockholm - we should also mention that the sail in to Stockholm in beautiful - don’t miss it !

Our favourite stop of all was Helsinki - again we did a ship sightseeing tour - a fascinating city for us that we look forward to returning to.

Due to bad weather in Ronne we anchored at the opposite side of the island and in Skagen, the most northerly point of Denmark we stayed aboard

In our view there are traditional cruise ships, and there are the larger ships that we would describe as floating hotel resorts. We have been on both, twice in recent months, this Ambassador Ambience and the P&O Iona. They could not be more different, but it’s not about good or bad, it’s just different experiences.

We prefer this small ship experience, as we said earlier, the Ambience is old but she has character. There are plenty of outdoor areas, mainly on the stern, but unusually these days also on the bow where there is a viewing area. This together, with all of the activities really exudes what we describe as the essence of cruising.

We wish the in room entertainment system was better, that the outside bars were open for longer, and temperature is a personal thing, but we would have preferred the great venues inside the ship to be warmer. That said, we love the atmosphere where you are made to feel part of the family. Being a small ship, it’s much easier to get to know the staff a little better.

We also really love the fact that the main Buckingham restaurant is even open on port days. Of course it’s subjective, but we think the food is good and varied. The two speciality restaurants Sea&Grass (24.95) and Saffron (14.95) are fantastic value with quality food and service too.

The ships entertainment company are amongst the best we have seen in over 60 cruises and the cruise director George Cross is top notch. The officers are both visible and approachable.

The spa represents reasonable value for money and the drinks are less expensive than many cruise lines. Ambassador also have a number of cruises with a smaller supplement for single travellers.

We will definitely be sailing more often with Ambassador on both the Ambience and the Ambition which launches next year and will be sailing from Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast and Bristol as well as Tilbury.

Oh and finally, Thank you Ambassador for showing the lionesses on the big outdoor screen demonstrating your responsiveness to your customers requests.

Tony and angie
Post Date: 09/08/2022
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Customer Reviews
Ivan wrote a review in May, 2022
It was the Maiden voyage, so its the shake down cruise. Yes it did need a shake, but all in all it was a very pleasant 4 night journey to Hamburg and back. Entertainment was fantastic, food was up...
Susan wrote a review in May, 2022
Wonderful 5 star food staff couldn’t have been better
GRAEME wrote a review in May, 2022
The ship really needed one or two more weeks preparation to get it ready to take paying passengers. Some areas had not been completed and were not available. There were technical problems, such as plu...
trevor wrote a review in May, 2022

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