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Ambience, UK and Ireland

4

We looked forward to this cruise having sailed from Tilbury (30-45 minutes from home) in the past with CMV. Most things about Ambassador were what we expected as they are CMV ressurected.
Arrived at the terminal, our luggage was whisked away promptly and efficiently. Had to queue up to pass through the Covid checks and the hand luggage scanning but that was to be expected. Any delays there were mainly due to fellow passengers not being properly prepared with their Covid documents. Once past these, the main terminal was empty, plenty of seating (unused) and a good number of check-in desks. This flowed nicely and we were quickly through and on the way past the obligatory photographer. Who, after travelling to the port and going through check-in, wants their photo taken?
On board there was a sense of familiarity. The decor was the same as CMV's Columbus, even down to the small pictures in the Borough Market (in fact I believe they were the same as when Columbus sailed as Ocean Village). The cabins and bathrooms were the same, the beds were better though, nice and comfortable. Even some of the crew were familiar. A big shout out to Felix in the Borough Market who, on our first night came over to welcome us having at least twice previously met him on Columbus.
As we are not fans of formal dining (and finding out my suit trousers no longer fit) we used the Borough Market for the whole duration. The food was very good (the same as served in the Buckingham but without the waiter service and with larger portions), the staff were very friendly and helpul, especially Tasia, Jolena, and Hannah who kept me supplied with Banana Custard. Seating was only a problem during breakfast and lunch, mainly because some passengers like to linger with a tea or coffee rather than consider their fellows and vacate the tables.
There are plenty of bars and seating around the decks, although there was a lack of waiters, especially on the sun decks. Some waiting staff seem to be unaware of the levels of service passengers expect. An example was sitting outside the Botanical Lounge and seeing 5 or 6 staff standing around chatting while passengers at these corridor tables were waiting to be served. Twice a more senior member of staff had to point this out to them. It was almost as if they had tunnel vision and only saw customers as being inside their lounge. It is just an example of areas that need attention and I am sure over time this will improve.
Talking of areas that need improving, the ship herself really does need a proper overhaul. The air-con in the cabins does not adjust properly, there were leaks from the ceilings in a number of public areas. There were contractors on board doing repairs that should have been completed before the season started. The lack of information via the cabin TVs, or from the bridge (on Ocean Village passengers were informed when there were sightings of whales or dolphins for example).
There are many good things as well, the terminals on most decks where one could check their account, what activities were going on, and many other things.
The casino was a disapointment, tucked into a small space, with only slots and a couple of card tables. Why no roulette?
The entertainment was pretty good overall. I dislike the way some singers try to emulate the current batch of pop stars rather than making full use of their voices which were very good. The only show I disliked was the much acclaimed (by the cruise director) Anton Du Beke show. Nothing wrong with the singing or dancing, but it was too contrived with the pre-recorded ADB on the big screen behind them.
Ships excursions next. We paid for 3 excursions, Blarney Castle, Belleek Pottery and Giants Causeway.
The Giant's Causeway was spectacular, although a little rushed. We could have done with a little longer there. Blarney Castle trip was again too short, the emphasis seemed to be more about the Wollen Mill than the castle itself. Just enough time to get up the tower, kiss the stone, and get back for a quick look inside the mill and its shop. The "free" Irish Coffee offered at the adjacent pub was not worth the bother. Grumpy barman, instant coffee, dubious cream, YUK. Would have preferred to spend longer in the grounds of the castle which are quite extensive and beautiful. The pottery trip at Killibegs was good but again rushed and the 45 minute stop in Donnegal was pointless. Not enough time to shop, nor visit the castle nor anything really.
The Drinks Package. If you drink a lot on holidays, like decent coffees then buy it. If not, the prices on board are pretty reasonable. The advantage for us is we like wine with our meals, a drink or two before dinner, a few cocktails and liqueur coffees and plenty of water in the cabin. We totted it up at the end of the cruise and saved around £40. We rarely drink at home by the way. We didnt like the coffee in the cabin and from the machines, it could just be the water or the milk used, or just us.
So conclusion. Good but can do better.

Kevin
Post Date: 28/08/2022
Score
Cruise Overall
4
Ship Overall
4
Dining
4
Service Onboard
4
Accommodation
4
Public Rooms
4
Boarding & Disembarking
5
Excursions
4
Value for Money
4
Review Images
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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