Ambassador Cruise Line, the UK’s leading premium value, no-fly cruise line, is launching its second lady of the sea, Ambition, at an official Gala Event this evening hosted by CEO Christian Verhounig and Godmother Shirley Robertson OBE.
After an evening of celebrations, Ambition’s first guests will depart from Newcastle tomorrow (12 May 2023), travelling on her maiden voyage up to Dundee before heading to sunnier climes during her 14-night Hidden Gems of France and Spain inaugural sailing.
The launch of Ambition will see Ambassador welcome guests onboard from eight different UK departure ports for the first time, enabling more of the population to enjoy the convenience of a no-fly cruise holiday. In addition to the cruise line’s home port of London Tilbury, guests from Newcastle Tyne, Dundee, Edinburgh Leith, Falmouth, Liverpool, Bristol and Belfast will now be able enjoy a range of exciting itineraries from a port that’s close to home.
The launch comes almost one year on from Ambassador’s first ship, Ambience, welcoming guests onboard its inaugural sailing in April 2022. In her first season, Ambience sailed 18 cruises and welcomed almost 30,000 guests onboard, 9 out of 10 of whom said that they would recommend a sailing with Ambassador.
Over the course of her inaugural season, Ambition will visit 29 countries, call at 91 ports and travel more than 70,000 nautical miles. Together with her sister ship, Ambience, the 2023/24 season will see Ambassador’s portfolio of breathtaking destinations grow to 60 countries, with ships visiting 166 ports and sailing more than 160,000 nautical miles. Cruise experiences will last from two to 120 days, and almost 100,000 guests will travel with Ambassador.
Christian Verhounig, CEO of Ambassador, said: “Ambassador has, in the short time it has been in operation, firmly established a unique premium value offering within the cruise sector. We have long been looking forward to celebrating the official launch of our second ship, Ambition, alongside Godmother Shirley Robertson and guests, partners and friends of Ambassador Cruise Line.
“Adding another ship to our fleet is evidence of the strength of both Ambassador and the wider cruise industry, showing the support we have received and demand we are experiencing ahead of what’s set to be a buoyant season. Despite a backdrop of difficult economic conditions, we enjoyed a very strong booking period at the turn of the year, tripling sales compared to the same period in 2022. Demand remains strong, indicating that holidaymakers see a holiday as a necessity, not a luxury, and are eager to get away this year.
“We’re seeing significant demand for cruising on our small to mid-size ships, with heightened interest in Norwegian Fjords and Round-Britain cruises plus bucket-list itineraries, such as our round the world cruise, which sails in January 2024. We have also seen a shift in demand coming from customers who are new to cruise as more travellers choose no-fly holiday options. Interestingly, guests who have typically sailed with more luxury brands are instead choosing Ambassador, where they can enjoy a premium value, no-fly cruise that exceeds expectations.
“As Ambition sets off on her maiden voyage from the Port of Tyne in Newcastle, so begins Ambassador’s regional departure programme and we’re looking forward to offering guests from ports across the country the warmest welcome at sea in the months and years to come.”
British sailor and double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson OBE is Ambition’s Godmother, who - together with Christian - will host this evening’s Gala Event and the official renaming ceremony on board.
Shirley Robertson, OBE, said: “The ocean is my happy place – having spent many hours out on the water – so I can’t wait for guests to discover the joys of cruising on board Ambassador’s second lady of the sea, Ambition. Ambassador’s undeniable passion for exceptional service and drive to look for sustainable options at every opportunity mean that it’s a fantastic British company, and now that the launch of Ambition brings departures from eight regional ports, more people will be able to experience the ‘warmest welcome at sea’ for themselves.”
Prior to the launch event, Ambition spent several weeks undergoing refurbishment works in Bremerhaven, Germany before returning to the UK to join the Ambassador fleet. These included environmental upgrades that made her IMO Tier III compliant and in the top 10-15% of environmentally sustainable ships worldwide, making it possible for her to sail to the most protected areas in the world. Ambition was also fitted with a new generation of Advanced Waste Water Treatment Plant, which not only exceeds the strictest sewage treatment requirements, but also requires fewer treatment chemicals. She also received new livery and Ambassador branding as well as improvements to venues and furnishing upgrades.
In total, 10,940 litres of paint were used during the works, with 3,500sq metres of new decking installed and 20 tonnes of steel replaced. The onboard entertainment team also designed 1,200 new costumes and undertook 864 hours of rehearsals ahead of Ambition’s inaugural sailing.
As part of the launch event, Ambassador was honoured to welcome onboard the family of a dearly departed friend and colleague for the official opening of one of Ambition’s marquee restaurants yesterday evening. Lupino’s is a Mediterranean-style restaurant with a relaxed, al-fresco feel designed to offer guests a fresh, invigorating and warm welcome, and was named after Michelle Lupino, who was with Ambassador at the very start of its journey and who sadly passed away last October. The purple ribbon was cut by Michelle’s sister and daughter.