Ambition launched in May 2023 and is the second cruise ship to join the Ambassador Cruise Line fleet, after the launch of sister ship Ambience in 2022.
The 1,200-passenger ship offers a premium value experience, with no-fly sailings from Tilbury, Essex, as well as a series of regional departures from UK ports including Newcastle, Dundee, Belfast, Liverpool, Bristol and Falmouth. Ambition's godmother is double Olympic gold medallist, Shirley Robertson OBE. It is the ship's fourth name change since being launched in 1999 as Mistral, by Festival Cruises.
Like sister ship Ambience, Ambition is marketed to over-50s and offers no-fly cruises to mostly Scandinavia, Northern Europe and around the British Isles with sailings from eight UK ports.
Ambition has two main restaurants, a large buffet restaurant and casual pool cafe, plus two speciality dining options. There are two bars on the sun deck, four bars with lounges and a wine bar inside.
In terms of public spaces, it has a tiered main theatre, card room, library, craft studio, wellness centre, gymnasium, a swimming pool, leisure pool and plunge pool and a range of shops.
Buckingham Restaurant and Holyrood Restaurant are Ambition's main dining rooms. Buckingham Restaurant serves a buffet-style breakfast and lunch, while dinner is five-course a la carte. Holyrood is open for dinner only but is much more intimate and, although complimentary, needs to be booked.
Menus are traditionally British, with Sunday roast, Shepherd's pie, and oven-roasted turkey breast, complemented with dishes such as leg of lamb with rosemary jus, ballotine of Gressingham duck confit, paella and wild mushroom veloute with truffle essence.
Always available are grilled striploin steak, seared salmon fillet, vegetarian and vegan options include dishes like tofu and vegetable chow mein.
During our two nights we ate at Buckingham and Holyrood, where the food was good to excellent, although we preferred the ambience at Buckingham.
Breakfast and lunch is on an open seating basis. At dinner, Ambassador operates two sittings, which can be requested upon booking.
Borough Market is the ship's self-service buffet serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with a variety of cuisines from around the world. Breakfast was superb with plenty of choice including a small vegan and gluten-free section and although the choice at lunch was not as extensive, there was still plenty of choice, with chicken tikka masala a stand-out option. Afternoon Tea is also served here, providing a good selection of cakes and other sweet treats.
Lupino's is the Mediterranean speciality restaurant open for dinner reservations. Lupino's restaurant pays tribute to Michelle Lupino, the line’s former Head of Destination Management who died in October 2022. Passengers can expect sharing-style platters of Mediterranean salads and mezze. There’s a supplement of £14.95 to eat there.
Saffron is Ambition's speciality Indian fine-dining restaurant, open for dinner, with thali, curries, specialist breads, and Indian desserts. A supplement of £16.95 applies to dine at Saffron.
Chef's Table is an intimate, exclusive dinner experience in a discreet alcove within Buckingham Restaurant where sheer curtains provide privacy. It’s hosted every other night for an added charge of £89 pp. The experience includes nine courses with five paired wines.
Alfresco Grill is the place for casual dining such as burgers, hot dogs, pizzas and chips.
Among the 713 cabins are 113 suites in five categories running from deluxe to junior, while the cabins are mostly ocean view and inside with a few balcony cabins. For solo travellers there's a good selection of junior suites, ocean view cabins and inner cabins.
We were in a junior suite with a balcony that had plenty of space including a sofa and coffee table, small walk-in wardrobe and the bathroom had a tub with overhead shower.
All the cabins have tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge, a flat screen TV and complimentary toiletries in large bottles attached to the bathroom wall.
They also have a hair dryer and safe -- ours was hidden in a cupboard behind a mirror with a pair of binoculars and world atlas.
There's quite a difference in suite and cabin sizes, though, from a maximum 42m² (452 square feet) for the De Luxe Suite to an average cabin size of 13m² (140 square feet) with standard single inner cabins at just 7m² (75 square feet).
The main pool and relaxation pool, with massage jets plus hot tubs, are on deck 11, with a splash pool for cooling off near a games area on deck 12 where you'll find the joggers and walkers' track.
Inside is a dedicated craft area -- Grafton Street on Promenade deck -- for organised sessions, and also on deck 6 is a Partnership Area where ocean wildlife charity ORCA will hold lectures on selected sailings.
Fun quizzes and game shows take place in some of the lounges during the day and at night, when there's also live music at several bars.
The Cavern is a Liverpool-themed venue with a stage and dance floor; Clifton Lounge, named after Bristol's picturesque suspension bridge, has a small dance floor, while Pendennis, for Cornwall's Pendennis Castle is more of a café-club.
The supremely comfortable Palladium Show Lounge is the centre of evening entertainment with twice-nightly performances such as All Aboard, a tribute to Simon & Garfunkel.
We were only on Ambition for two nights but thoroughly enjoyed being entertained by Ambition's singers and dancers in a show that rose above so many other cruise ship jukebox productions by actually having a story of sorts.
During our very short stay we were also impressed with the live music, particularly the ABBA tribute band in The Cavern and classical music duo Alina & Marina playing in the more sedate Clifton Lounge.
Ambition home ports at London Tilbury but like sister ship Ambience will have departures from seven other UK ports: Newcastle's Port of Tyne, Dundee, Edinburgh Leith, Falmouth, Liverpool, Bristol Royal Portbury and Belfast.
During her inaugural 2023 season, Ambition will sail to 29 countries and 91 ports with most itineraries focusing on Norway, Iceland, the British Isles and Scottish islands.
There are also a few cruises to northern France, Portugal and North Africa, the Canaries, Christmas markets and an astonishing 38-day round-trip from London Tilbury to the Caribbean.
Ambition carries 1,200 passengers and 500 crew members. It has 714 cabins, 125 of which have balconies and 113 of which are suites with up to 62m² of living space. Its gross tonnage is 48,123grt. There are 14 decks.
The ship has been retrofitted with the latest in emission-reduction technology, which it claims will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 95 per cent compared to current standards despite its age, making the ship in the top 10-15% of environmentally sustainable ships worldwide.
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