Ambassador Cruise Line – The price is right, but is everything else?

Sally Dowling sails off to find out.

Ambassador Cruises launched in 2019, with their first ship ‘Ambience’ sailing in April 2022 with their second ship, ‘Ambition’ due to come into service in 2023. I was invited to join one their first cruises to Norway with my husband Clive.

The brand promises premium value with affordable prices, no fly cruises from several UK ports and smaller sustainable ships. Just what many of us have been waiting for.

Ambassador are aiming at the adult only market, with some multi-generational itineraries during school holidays. A selection of popular themed cruises is planned to include Cricket Legends to meet Mike Gatting and friends, whale watching with a team from ORCA and a ‘Supercraft ‘workshop with crafting guru, Julie Peasgood.

Our cruise was themed as ‘Voices of Radio’ and a group of famous DJs from the 60’s and 70’s joined on board. Familiar names such as Mike Read, Chris Baird and Tony Prince entertained us with amusing anecdotes as they reminisced about their years broadcasting on pirate radio.

While many people feel big is better when it comes to cruising, I prefer a smaller ship, so Ambience got a big tick from me. With a maximum of 1400 passengers the ship soon became familiar and best of all, I didn’t get lost!

When it comes to responsible tourism, Ambassador have heavily invested in upgrading the ships operating systems to ensure Ambience complies with highest emissions standards worldwide. The company are committed to keeping plastics and paper to a minimum, protecting our oceans and recycling wherever possible.

On Board Ambience

As you board Ambience the first impression is of space as you enter the stunning 3 story atrium reception on Deck 5 which is known as Centre Court. This is a great place to meet up with friends, enjoy a drink, book your shore excursions, known as ‘destination experiences’, or even your next cruise.

On the 2nd & 3rd floor of the atrium, is the shopping galleria tempting guests with gifts and essentials.

As well as upgrading the engine rooms, Ambassador have also tastefully renovated all the public areas to include the lounges, bars, restaurants, and outdoor spaces. Premium suites have been fully updated and the remaining cabins will also soon be given the Ambassador touch. Although a little dated, I found my cabin, an outside superior twin, spacious with ample storage, very comfortable, and spotlessly clean. The beds are all new and super comfy and the shower worked well. All cabins have tea and coffee making facilities so beloved by Silver Travellers!

The ship has two main dining areas; Buckingham is an elegant venue with full waiter service for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Borough Market is a casual self-service option with an array of different cuisines. Whichever you choose the quality and variety of food is exceptional and probably the best I have ever enjoyed on a cruise. On the much loved ‘formal nights’ we were treated to delicious banquets in Buckingham’s with the obligatory baked Alaska parade to finish.

Afternoon tea and late-night canapes are included and always popular, and for those in-between times you will find cakes, pastries, and gelato ice cream on sale throughout the ship.

In addition, there are a choice of dining options that carry a small supplement; ‘Saffron’ offers an Indian gastronomic experience with an innovative 3 course menu for £14.95 per person. My personal favourite was ‘Sea & Grass’, so good we ate there twice. The supplement is £24.95 for an exceptional 7 course menu. An unusual initiative for cruising is ‘The Chef’s Table’. Make sure to put your name down early as there is a maximum of 15 places for this imaginative feast. Be prepared for an entire evening given over to glorious food and drink. The menu is 9 courses with wine pairing and costs £89 per person. You will also receive a signed menu, a visit to the incredibly well organised galley and a chance to meet the talented Executive Chef, Sidney Dias. It really is a memorable event.

Ambassador offer a selection of drinks packages depending on your preferences. I found prices on board reasonable with beer at £4 and cocktails £5. Regular tea and coffee from machines (very acceptable) are available 24 hours and at no extra cost. Certain venues serve speciality teas and coffee that are chargeable.

For the more energetic there is a well-equipped gym on deck 2 alongside the beautiful Green Sea Spa: I know which one I preferred! The spa has been tastefully designed to evoke an atmosphere of calm and relaxation and there are some well priced packages available. I enjoyed an hour ‘taster treatment’ comprising a selection of different massage treatments for £64. Top tip is to book a treatment as soon as you can after embarking as the slots soon fill up. Lido Deck has a swimming pool and splash pool surrounded by sun loungers and served by the Pool Bar. The Sun Deck is where you can take laps of the ship or join a yoga class in the Active Studio.


As with all cruises the days are action packed, if that is what you want. Craft sessions are always available in a purposefully designed craft studio and sea days are a great opportunity to learn something new.

The daily newsletter carries a long list of activities, games, quizzes, and lectures, or you can just choose to find a comfy seat and watch the ocean drift by. After dinner everyone flocks to the Palladium Theatre. The venue has waiter service so you can enjoy the performance with a drink or two. As with the food, I found the standard of entertainment very high. A talented troupe of young singers and dancers performed some memorable shows and Lloyd Hollett, the Comedy Wordsmith, had us in stitches on a couple of nights.

Destination Experiences

Ambassador don’t have shore excursions; they offer Destination Experiences and on our cruise to Norway there was a wide choice in each port. For guests who prefer to take things easy the ‘@ease’ options were just that, taken at a slower pace. We like a more active time so chose to take a cable car up to the snow-covered peaks above the town of Voss. In Bergen we boarded a smaller boat to explore deep into the narrow fjords for some fabulous views. The pretty port of Flam is famous for its mountain railway, and we took the train partially up the mountain and hiked back to the ship, with a herd of goats unexpectedly joining us!

In our last port, Hagerfjord, we joined a hike to the lighthouse at Ryvarden. Norwegians are generous hosts and a delicious waffle, jam and cream often appeared when we stopped along the way. In late April we were also blessed with incredible weather and the blue skies and even bluer sea made for some fantastic photos.

Overall Impressions

Sailing from Tilbury was a first for us and we found it easy to reach by car from our home in Sussex. For passengers coming from further afield Tilbury has a train station and there was also shuttle coach service from London Victoria or discounted regional coach pick-ups. Ambassador’s programme for 2023/24 is featuring departures from several UK ports including Bristol, Liverpool, and Newcastle.

We really enjoyed our first cruise with Ambassador, we loved the friendly atmosphere of Ambience and feel sure the brand will do well and soon have a loyal following.

Next Steps:

Find out more about Ambassador Cruise Line by calling our Silver Travel Advisors to get all the details and book on 0800 412 5678.

40 people found this helpful

Share Article:

Sally Dowling

Travel writer

11 Responses

  1. I have been on 3 cruises on this ship and really enjoyed them all. A few teething problems but they are getting it sorted. The CEO has been seen on each cruise and he has spoken to many customers including ourselves. I have booked future cruise. The entertainment is of West End standard and the crew bend over backwards to be helpful. Highly recommend. You will be amazed at the fun lift interiors they bring a smile to every ones face.

  2. Their Musicals Show is one of the best I have ever seen on a ship. Cleverly done and unique. Excellent show team

  3. We sailed on Ambience in late 2022 and we’re taking a Northern Lights cruise to Iceland in March 2023. We were very impressed with the ship (once the remaining cabin upgrades have been completed she will be really beautiful) and agree that the food is excellent, the entertainment of the highest standard and the crew are the best we have sailed with – nothing was too much trouble. Compared to some of the supposedly ‘superior’ cruise lines we have sailed with we think that the Ambassador product is excellent, particularly at their price-point in the market.

  4. Hi Martha , I am glad you agree! Ambassador certainly are great value. I am looking forward to comparing with their new ship, Ambition, later this year so will be able to report back. Happy travels, Sally

  5. Are the pick up coaches still running?
    I need to get from Reading to Tilbury but cannot manage London at all.
    Thanks for your advice

  6. Ambassador Cruise Line say this on their website:
    Ambassador Cruise Line offers a special coach service exclusively for passengers between London Victoria Coach station and the London Cruise Terminal on sailing days. For prices please see your chosen cruise and scroll to the bottom of the fare grid. This must be pre-booked at least 7 days prior to sailing, either directly or through your tour operator or travel agent.

    Final timings for our 2022/early 2023 sailings coach journey are now available please click here.

    Final timings for our 2023 sailings coach journey are now available please click here.
    I will ask about Reading for you.

  7. We are cruising from Dundee in June but can’t see any Destination Experiences’ yet. When do these become available to book or do we have to wait until we are on board.

  8. Just returned from our 2nd cruise on Ambience. Another first class trip which confirms our earlier impressions that Ambassador have got it dead right. Only one thing I’ve yet been unable to discover is the make of the mattresses on the cabins. Couldn’t find a label on on ours. Anyone know? We need to buy a new mattress so the brand/model would be a great help.

Leave a comment


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Solo travel holidays isn’t confined to the young and restless; it’s a liberating experience that transcends generations….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.