A brand new British cruise line will set sail in 2022 which will help fill the gap in the market following the collapse of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV).
Ambassador Cruise Line, offering a premium-value cruise experience aimed primarily at the over-50s market, will be based at London Tilbury and feature no-fly cruises, with the first springtime sailings focused on the British Isles and Norwegian Fjords.
Cruises will be on the newly-named 1,400-passenger Ambience, which was once destined to the flagship of the popular Tilbury-based line CMV that went into administration in the summer of 2020 following the global suspension of the cruise industry due to COVID-19.
The ship will now sail under the Ambassador flag, a line which is the first new British cruise line since CMV was founded in 2010.
Ambience has 798 cabins, five restaurants including speciality dining options, two cafés, nine lounges, a swimming pool, fitness facilities and a spa. Cruises will feature a wide range of daytime and evening entertainment, plus enrichment programmes. Nearly a quarter of the cabins have balconies.
The maiden season starts in April 2022 and the first full year of cruises will feature 33 sailings visiting a total of 88 different ports. During the summer, the ship will sail to the Baltics and St Petersburg, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland. During the winter it will sail to destinations including the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.
The Ambassador management team includes several executives who were previously with CMV, led by CEO Christian Verhounig. The Chair of the Board of Directors is Gordon Wilson who has over 30 years’ experience in the global travel industry, who said:
“We are hugely excited to launch the first British cruise line in over a decade. It is just what the industry needs right now to reboot the British cruise market and inject confidence into the sector. Ambassador Cruise Line offers the best of British cruising, we’re a new company offering a distinctive product but maintaining traditional cruising values which we know are important to our guests.
“This is just the beginning. We have ambitious growth plans. Investment on this scale, and the launch of such a significant business as we emerge from the pandemic will make a significant contribution to the local economy and travel industry, particularly as we look to fill at least 100 jobs from the UK.”
Cruises go on sale in June 2021, with a seven-night European cruise starting from £850 per person on a full-board basis. Details and prices for other itineraries will be announced in June, including some introductory offers.
Ambience was built in 1991 at the Italian Fincantieri shipyard and started life as Regal Princess. She was christened in New York by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and sailed for Princess Cruises until being acquired by P&O Cruises Australia in 2003 and renamed Pacific Dawn. The ship was then bought by CMV, with another name change to Amy Johnson.
Before setting sail in its new guise, the vessel will undergo extensive refurbishments including upgrades to make it fully compliant with the latest environmental rules regarding the reduction of emissions. All single-use plastics will be eliminated, and screen technology will be used as an alternative to printing menus, shore plans and activity schedules.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photograph courtesy of Ambassador Cruise Line