When it comes to dining on Ambience, the ship delivers. In terms of quality and selection, there’s plenty of choice for the British palette -- and for the more adventurous too, with an Indian speciality restaurant amongst the options.
Drinks packages are available starting from £15.95 (for cruises of 5 nights or more) or £79 per person for a three-night cruise. These also factor in service charges and all gratuities throughout the cruise.
If you don’t opt for a package, drinks prices are reasonable with cocktails starting at £5.00, a pint of beer at £4.00 and a glass of wine from £3.15.
For a mid-size ship, food on Ambience is plentiful, and you'll certainly not go hungry.
There are two free-to-eat restaurants onboard Ambience; Borough Market, the more casual buffet restaurant (served, not self-service) on Deck 12 and the main dining venue, Buckingham on Deck 7, which operates on a two-seating service for dinner.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Borough Market serves up plenty of British classics including full English breakfasts, fish and chips at ’Salt &Vinegar’, as well as themed stations such as 'Points East' Asian cuisine and a vegan bar 'Graze n Grains', which we were highly impressed to see. It can get busy at peak times – especially on days in port.
It's here you can also indulge in an afternoon tea on Ambience daily (usually an hour mid-afternoon) with a choice of sandwiches, sweet and savoury scones and plenty of cakes to satisfy a sweet tooth.
The 700-seater Buckingham Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch with table service but on an open seating basis, and for dinner it operates a two-sitting dinning, five-course service with allocated tables. You can request a table for two ahead of sailing, but most of the tables are usually for four or more.
On formal night (there's usually two per cruise on a seven-night sailing) guests in the Buckingham are also treated to the old-school Baked Alaska parade.
Finally, the Al Fresco Grill is a great spot if you’re up on the sun deck and don’t want to leave your chair in the afternoon but fancy a bit to eat – it serves up pizzas, burgers, hot dogs and fries.
There are a total of three speciality options on Ambience to enhance the dining experience for those that wish to venture out of the main dining venues.
Fans of Indian food will rejoice when they see the menu for Saffron. Located on Deck 12 aft (behind Borough Market), the restaurant serves up an Indian-inspired menu for £14.95 per person. Starting with an herbal infused ‘cleansing drink’ (the jury is currently out on this one), the menu is packed full of favourites including starters of chicken tikka and Paneer, samosas and mains such as Lamb Rogan Josh, Butter Chicken and Tamarind Prawns. The meal is finished with a delicate dessert (there’s just one option) of sweet treats and a chai tea.
Sea & Grass
For surf and turf lovers, Sea & Grass is the place to go. We advise eating a light lunch however as it’s a seven-course extravaganza (plus sorbet) and you will be stuffed. For £24.95 (Or £29.99 with wine pairing) you’ll feast on dishes such as scallops, goat cheese mousse, red mullet, rib eye steak and the grand finale of a cheese course. We love the open kitchen at Sea & Grass, too.
The Chef's Table is expensive -- £89 per person including wines – but if you're looking for an evening experience (at least three hours) and an eight-course meal you won't forget, then it's worth the splurge. Served in a private area of the Buckingham restaurant, you'll begin with a glass of fizz and an amuse-bouche before heading down for a tour of the ship’s galley with the executive chef before sitting down for the main event. Just to note there needs to be a minimum of 10 guests to host the Chef’s Table.
Ice Cream Shop
For anyone looking for an extra sugar kick on a hot day, there’s an ice cream bar on Deck 12 with a selection of flavours. Prices from £1.50 per scoop.
Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Ambience Ship
We, like many other guests loved eating in Saffron -- while the menu isn't expansive it certainly delivered on taste. Our favourite dish by far was the "Royal Indian Maharaja Thali" -- which was made up of a selection of smaller dishes served on a platter.
Tip: Remember if you want to eat in the speciality restaurants to make a reservation once you are onboard as they can book up.