Sally Gunnell christens first ship for new British cruise line Ambassador
By Katie McGonagle | 21 Apr 2022
The former athlete and Olympian is godmother to Ambience, a refurbished ship from the first British cruise line to launch in a decade
Sally Gunnell christened Ambassador Cruise Line’s first ship, Ambience, in a ceremony held at London Tilbury port. It marks the launch of the new British cruise line, which offers no-fly, “premium-value” cruises aimed at the 50-plus market.
Gunnell said being asked to be godmother to the vessel was “a massive honour” and that the company’s sustainability efforts and partnership with environmental charity Orca were a key part of the appeal.
She said: “I’m from Essex so Tilbury is part of my life. I can see the whole community they have created here. [The ship] is smaller, it’s got a lovely feel to it, and it’s friendly.
“As we get older, we have got to keep ourselves active and engaged, and this is a great way to do it. People are ready to explore again and this is such a great way because you don’t have to fly.”
— Katie McGonagle (@katie_mcgonagle) April 19, 2022
The 1,400-passenger ship has been renovated and refurbished with nods to British culture and heritage, including main restaurant Buckingham and a three-deck atrium known as Centre Court.
Its maiden season includes 31 sailings around the British Isles, Norwegian fjords, Nordic countries, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland, and will be followed in winter by trips to the Canary Islands, Cuba and the Caribbean. It will be joined by a second ship, Ambition, next year.
Ambassador Cruise Line chief executive Christian Verhounig said: “We saw a gap in the UK market for a British cruise line.
“We offer classic, traditional ships with a massive space ratio and a friendly welcome.
“I think what’s unique about this ship is that we have upgraded the environmental side, which is becoming more and more important.”
The ship has been given the highest ‘tier III’ rating by the International Maritime Organization, meaning it can sail in areas where emissions are strictly controlled. Verhounig said the renovation had reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 95%, sulphur dioxide by 80%, as well as installing state-of-the-art waste water treatment systems and a bio-digestion system for food waste.