Ambience is the debut cruise ship from Ambassador Cruise Line, and re-launched in April 2022 with Olympian Sally Gunnell as godmother.
Ambience is not a new vessel, starting life in 1991 sailing as Regal Princess, before becoming P&O Australia's Pacific Dawn (interesting fact: the ship's godmother was former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher). The ship had been due to join Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) but due to the collapse of the line in 2020, it never joined the fleet.
Born out of the ashes of the now defunct Cruise & Maritime Voyages (which went bust in 2020), most of Ambassador Cruise Line's management team are from CMV and the ship will fill the gap that CMV left in 2020 proving affordable no-fly cruises to the over-50s.
The 1,400-passenger ship has been completely refurbished and fitted with emission reducing technologies.
As a 30+ year old ship, Ambience's deck plans don't break the mould when it comes to design, but they work and everything is easy to find.
There are 11 passenger decks on Ambience packed full of bars, restaurants and entertainment spaces.
Passengers embark on Deck 5 right into the heart of the ship's three-storey atrium known as "Centre Court" -- with warm green tones and light wood furniture, there's no opulent chandelier, but there's a sweeping central staircase and plenty of seating and amenities to ensure it's the hub of the ship at most times of the day.
Ambassador's Ambience has six dining options, including a main dining room, the Buckingham Restaurant on Deck 7; and a buffet called Borough Market on Deck 12.
For fee options include Alfresco Grill, Saffron and Sea & Grass (both on Deck 12) and Chef's Table, which offers a speciality gastronomic experience.
In terms of entertainment, Ambience has a number of day and night venues including Aces & Eights bridge and card room and the Ambassador Casino on Deck 6. Other facilities include Kapoor's, an onboard crafting studio, Bronte's library, and the shopping galleria, all of which can be found on Deck 6.
Evening entertainment can be found at the Observatory (Deck 14) and The Palladium (Decks 7 & 8). Drinking venues include Raffles Bar, Botanical Lounge and SW19 (all on Deck 7) and The Purple Turtle Pub on Deck 8.
Deck 12 and 14 (there's no Deck 13) serve as the pool and sun deck and during its refit Ambassador Cruise Line upgraded the wooden decks, swimming pool, two hot tubs, and the iconic funnel, which is painted in the line's distinctive purple colour. It can be quite a busy spot on a sunny day (and when activities are taking place), but the aft has some lovely tucked away spots with lounge chairs and cabanas to get some quiet time.
When it comes to cabin locations, Deck 4 through to 11 include cabins of all categories -- excluding the Promenade Deck 7 where you'll find the main dining restaurant and various bars. Balcony cabins and suites are however reserved for Deck 10 and 11.
Location wise, cabins at the aft of the ship are ideal for quicker access to both the Buckingham Restaurant and the Borough Market. Although saying this, there are three sets of lifts (which have a quirky design, left from its Pacific Dawn days) spread across Ambience, meaning it's pretty easy to manoeuvre your way around.
During Ambience's refurbishment, out of the 798 cabins only the suites and junior suites were given a full makeover -- and they are great with fresh, contemporary décor and extra touches.
However, while the décor in the lower grade cabins does look a little tired, we were impressed with the space they have (the smallest is 17.7 sqm), as well as the variety of options available to solo cruisers – more on this in our cabins section.
Cabin sizes come in at an average of 17-18 sqm, with cabin types broadly classified as standard, superior, premium or de-luxe.
Located on Deck 11, there are 36 Junior Suites with a separate sitting area. These average 34.5 sqm, with a 4.3 sqm balcony. The junior suites include separate showers and bath tubs.
Also on Deck 11, there are 14 De Luxe Suites with which include a separate sitting area and a dressing area. These are 51.8 sqm, with a. 6.2 sqm balcony. The suites include separate showers and bath tubs.
All cabins and suites have tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge, hair dryer, safe, UK three pin electrical sockets and USB ports. There is also a flat screen TV.
The first full year programme operating until May 2023 will consist of 33 sailings visiting a total of 88 different ports, featuring the Baltic, Greenland, the Arctic, and Iceland, whilst for the winter months a range of expedition style voyages will sail to the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.
The 1,400-passenger ship has 798 cabins, of which there are 14 suites and 36 junior suites. The ship has 11 decks and comes in at 70,285 grt.
Full board (breakfast, lunch. Afternoon tea, dinner) in the main dining room and buffet
Captain's cocktail party and gala dinner
All theatre shows and most entertainment options including quizzes and deck games
Range of fitness, dance and wellness classes
Use of the gym, pools and hot tubs
All drinks aside from tap water, tea & coffee at machines around the ship and in the buffet
Speciality dining restaurants
Gratuities (£6 per person, per night or £5 per person per night for cruises over 16 nights)
Craft sessions (from £5 per person)
Typically, Ambience is geared to British, over-50s cruisers. During our sailing it was an older crowd, but there were a few multi-generational adult families, too. It's an attractive ship for solo cruisers with special programmes and a welcome cocktail party for single travellers.
You won't find any children onboard Ambience apart from during the ship's dedicated multi-generational cruises.
Mobility scooters can be taken onboard, but an adapted cabin would need to be booked and scooters must fit inside the cabin.
Potentially a very good product, at budget fares...but..