Ship review: Ambassador Cruise Line's first ship, Ambience
By Cruise International | 30 Jun 2022
Ambassador Cruise Line is the first British line to launch in a decade, and its debut is a celebration of classic cruising. Find out what to expect on board Ambience with a review by Kelly Ranson
Stepping on board the newly refurbished Ambience, cruisers will feel a sense of warmth, not only from the crew but also from the ship’s welcoming public areas, each bearing the name of a British icon.
From the bustling hub of the three-deck atrium ‘Centre Court’ to the ‘SW19’ bar, through to the ‘Borough Market’ buffet restaurant and the 700-seat main dining venue ‘Buckingham’, there are plenty of nods to British heritage.
As the first new British cruise line in a decade, Ambassador Cruise Line had a clear vision when it launched the 1,400-passenger Ambience in April: to offer premium-value cruises for over-50s sailing from Tilbury.
What is it like on board Ambassador’s ship, Ambience?
Ambience is not a new ship, having first set sail in 1991, but it’s been lovingly revamped with a fine balance of classic and contemporary.
It may not be the flashiest ship at sea, but when it comes to bars, guests are spoilt for choice with 11 options. The beautifully decorated Botanical Lounge is popular for pre-dinner drinks and the atmospheric Raffles Bar is the place to go for a nightcap.
Expect some traditional cruise favourites, including quizzes in the Purple Turtle pub, evening shows in The Palladium theatre, arts and craft sessions galore, and on formal nights, the retro Baked Alaska parade takes place in the Buckingham restaurant.
What is the dining like on Ambience?
For those wishing to splurge on dining, the speciality restaurants are well worth it. Sea & Grass’s seven-course menu of surf and turf costs £24.95 (£29.99 with wine pairings), while guests can enjoy a sumptuous Indian meal in Saffron for just £14.95. Finally, the chef’s table costs £89 and includes a galley tour with the executive chef followed by an eight-course feast with wines, in a private area of the Buckingham.
Drinks are not included in the cruise fare, other than tea and coffee in cabins and at various machines around the ship. Pre-paid packages are available, but onboard prices are reasonable with cocktails at £5, pints of beer at £4 and a glass of wine from £3.15.
So far, of the 798 cabins, only the 50 deluxe and junior suites have had a total refresh. The remainder are a little more dated but roomy, starting at 190sq ft, and have brand-new comfy mattresses and plenty of storage space.
Ambience is sailing 31 itineraries to 90 ports during its maiden season and there will be themed cruises featuring famous names, including a Cricketing Legends voyage and a Broadcasting Legends cruise. A second ship, Ambition, will join the fleet next year.