Ambience

Ambassador Cruise Line

Ship information

Ambience

About Ambience

Ambience is the debut cruise ship from Ambassador Cruise Line, and re-launched in April 2022 with Olympian Sally Gunnell as godmother.

Ambience is not a new vessel, starting life in 1991 sailing as Regal Princess, before becoming P&O Australia's Pacific Dawn (interesting fact: the ship's godmother was former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher). The ship had been due to join Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) but due to the collapse of the line in 2020, it never joined the fleet.

Born out of the ashes of the now defunct Cruise & Maritime Voyages (which went bust in 2020), most of Ambassador Cruise Line's management team are from CMV and the ship will fill the gap that CMV left in 2020 proving affordable no-fly cruises to the over-50s.

The 1,400-passenger ship has been completely refurbished and fitted with emission reducing technologies.

Ambience Cruise Ship Deck Plans Show 5 Restaurants, A Casino, And Several Bars

As a 30+ year old ship, Ambience's deck plans don't break the mould when it comes to design, but they work and everything is easy to find.

There are 11 passenger decks on Ambience packed full of bars, restaurants and entertainment spaces.

Passengers embark on Deck 5 right into the heart of the ship's three-storey atrium known as "Centre Court" -- with warm green tones and light wood furniture, there's no opulent chandelier, but there's a sweeping central staircase and plenty of seating and amenities to ensure it's the hub of the ship at most times of the day.

Ambassador's Ambience has six dining options, including a main dining room, the Buckingham Restaurant on Deck 7; and a buffet called Borough Market on Deck 12.

For fee options include Alfresco Grill, Saffron and Sea & Grass (both on Deck 12) and Chef's Table, which offers a speciality gastronomic experience.

In terms of entertainment, Ambience has a number of day and night venues including Aces & Eights bridge and card room and the Ambassador Casino on Deck 6. Other facilities include Kapoor's, an onboard crafting studio, Bronte's library, and the shopping galleria, all of which can be found on Deck 6.

Evening entertainment can be found at the Observatory (Deck 14) and The Palladium (Decks 7 & 8). Drinking venues include Raffles Bar, Botanical Lounge and SW19 (all on Deck 7) and The Purple Turtle Pub on Deck 8.

Deck 12 and 14 (there's no Deck 13) serve as the pool and sun deck and during its refit Ambassador Cruise Line upgraded the wooden decks, swimming pool, two hot tubs, and the iconic funnel, which is painted in the line's distinctive purple colour. It can be quite a busy spot on a sunny day (and when activities are taking place), but the aft has some lovely tucked away spots with lounge chairs and cabanas to get some quiet time.

When it comes to cabin locations, Deck 4 through to 11 include cabins of all categories -- excluding the Promenade Deck 7 where you'll find the main dining restaurant and various bars. Balcony cabins and suites are however reserved for Deck 10 and 11.

Location wise, cabins at the aft of the ship are ideal for quicker access to both the Buckingham Restaurant and the Borough Market. Although saying this, there are three sets of lifts (which have a quirky design, left from its Pacific Dawn days) spread across Ambience, meaning it's pretty easy to manoeuvre your way around.

Ambience Has Multiple Cabin Types Including Twins, Solos And Suites

During Ambience's refurbishment, out of the 798 cabins only the suites and junior suites were given a full makeover -- and they are great with fresh, contemporary décor and extra touches.

However, while the décor in the lower grade cabins does look a little tired, we were impressed with the space they have (the smallest is 17.7 sqm), as well as the variety of options available to solo cruisers – more on this in our cabins section.

Cabin sizes come in at an average of 17-18 sqm, with cabin types broadly classified as standard, superior, premium or de-luxe. 

Located on Deck 11, there are 36 Junior Suites with a separate sitting area. These average 34.5 sqm, with a 4.3 sqm balcony. The junior suites include separate showers and bath tubs.

Also on Deck 11, there are 14 De Luxe Suites with which include a separate sitting area and a dressing area. These are 51.8 sqm, with a. 6.2 sqm balcony. The suites include separate showers and bath tubs.

All cabins and suites have tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge, hair dryer, safe, UK three pin electrical sockets and USB ports. There is also a flat screen TV.

Ambience's Itineraries Will Feature 88 Different Ports

The first full year programme operating until May 2023 will consist of 33 sailings visiting a total of 88 different ports, featuring the Baltic, Greenland, the Arctic, and Iceland, whilst for the winter months a range of expedition style voyages will sail to the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.

Ambience Specs

The 1,400-passenger ship has 798 cabins, of which there are 14 suites and 36 junior suites. The ship has 11 decks and comes in at 70,285 grt.

What's Included on Ambience (and What's Not)

Included:

  • Full board (breakfast, lunch. Afternoon tea, dinner) in the main dining room and buffet

  • Captain's cocktail party and gala dinner

  • All theatre shows and most entertainment options including quizzes and deck games

  • Range of fitness, dance and wellness classes

  • Use of the gym, pools and hot tubs

  • Spa access

Not Included:

  • All drinks aside from tap water, tea & coffee at machines around the ship and in the buffet

  • Speciality dining restaurants

  • Gratuities (£6 per person, per night or £5 per person per night for cruises over 16 nights)

  • Wi-Fi

  • Shore Excursions

  • Craft sessions (from £5 per person)

  • Spa treatments

Ambassador Cruise Line Covid Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Ambience, please refer to Ambassador Cruise Line's

Health & Safety Protocols

. You can also refer to Cruise Critic’s guide to 

Masks & Vaccines

on the world's major cruise lines.

Cabins

Ambience has 24 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

6 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

6 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

6 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

6 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

6 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

6 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

12 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

4 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

4 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

4 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

4 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

2 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

2 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

11 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theatre and Shows on Ambience

The two-tier Palladium is the main entertainment venue onboard Ambience. Featuring a large LED screen for effects and videos, the twice-nightly shows performed by the Ambience Theatre Company were always well attended (so arrive early if you can) and the energetic team put on a variety of acts including cabaret performances, comedy theatre and high-energy dance acts.

One of our favourite shows was ‘Dance, Dance, Dance’ which showcased world dances over the decade and was choregraphed by and starred (virtually) Strictly’s Anton Du Beke.

Ambassador Cruise Line has also lined up a number of guest acts and themed cruises with stars of sport, radio, television and more.  Our cruise was no exception; comedian Lloyd Hollett performed two shows and there were ‘Voices of Radio’ legends Mike Read, Chris Baird, Mark Wesley, Louis Rodgers and Tony Prince who took part in Q&A and DJ sets throughout the cruise.

For night owls, the Observatory on Deck 14 is the place go. Home to late night discos, Karaoke and cabaret performances, the music goes on until the early hours. By day it’s also the place to learn dance routines with the show team – with everything from Rumba to Ceilidh classes on the agenda.

Daily Things to do on Ambience

On a sea day in particular, everywhere you turn there is something going on onboard Ambience. All activities are detailed in the "All Aboard" programme which is left in the cabin each evening.

Ambassador Cruise Line had planned to go paperless with the programme available on its onboard online app and interactive boards around the ship, but at this point, customer demand is still there for the physical programme.

Quiz fans can join in both morning and pre-dinner trivia at the Purple Turtle pub on Deck 8, which also plays host to bingo and other game shows throughout the cruise. Crafters meanwhile can head to Kapoors on Deck 6 to make their own jewellery, key chains and more for a small cost.

Centre Court, which is not only home to the reception, shore excursion desk, future cruises, coffee shop, shopping outlets and the casino is also a hub for activities; during our cruise there were Q&As with guest acts and a wonderfully heart-warming choir class taking place.

Shore excursions, or ‘destination experiences’ as they are called on Ambience are well organised and varied. On our Norwegian Fjords cruise there were bus tours to attraction in and around the port stops as well as more adventurous excursions such as RIB boat safaris and hiking in the fjords.

Nightlife on Ambience

While Ambience is geared to a more mature cruiser, that doesn't mean it's for a shy and retiring crowd. While the dancefloor isn't likely to be packed at 3am, the bars were always full pre- and post-dinner with guests enjoying entertainment and cocktails aplenty.

Ambience Cruise Ship Bars and Lounges

Our Picks:

For cocktails and classical music: Botanical Lounge bar

Our number one lounge is the beautifully-decorated Botanical Lounge bar on Deck 7. Always a popular spot for a pre-dinner cocktail, guests are also treated to classical tunes by the ship’s musicians.

For a pint: The Purple Turtle pub

No British cruise ship is complete without its local pub. Previously the ship’s casino and completely renovated (with some classic British beer signs on the walls), the Purple Turtle on Deck 8 really is the heart of Ambience with activities from morning to night. Beer on tap includes John Smiths and Fosters, with prices from £4 per pint.   

For the night-cap: Raffles Bar

With plush sofas and atmospheric purple lighting, Raffles Bar on Deck 7 is a great spot to finish the evening after taking in a show.  If you’re lucky you might see the fantastic pianist who will take requests. And if you’re still hungry after dinner be sure to sample some of the late-night snacks that are handed out after 11pm.

For a caffeine kick: Dickens Coffee Shop

If you need your daily latte or cappuccino hit then be sure to stop by at Dickens. Located within Centre Court on Deck 5 it’s a great place for a cuppa and something sweet -- the carrot cake on offer is sublime!

Casino

There is a new small casino with slots and tables located on Deck 6.

Pools and Hot tubs on Ambience

The two hot tubs on Ambience are located in an enviable position the aft of the ship on Deck 11. While for some it may be frustrating that they are located are away from the main pool area and sun deck, there are some lovely cabanas and beds close by, so if you’re looking for peace and quiet be sure to bag one of these spots.

There is one main unheated swimming pool on Ambience as well as a smaller relaxation/splash pool with fountains.

Sundecks on Ambience

With newly refurbished wooden-style decks and a giant screen for watching news and sports, the sundeck has plenty of space to relax for when the weather allows. During our cruise to Norway, it wasn’t boiling, but it was largely dry and sunny so guests did gather on deck on sea days. While busy, there were always loungers available.

Services & Wi-Fi on Ambience

There is a self-service laundry area located on Deck 10 with prices from £3 per wash. Wi-Fi is available onboard and connection was largely good. Prices start from £9.99 for 60 minutes on two devices.

Spa and Thermal Suite on Ambience

Located on Deck 2, The Green Sea Spa hasn't changed since sailing as P&O Australia's Pacific Dawn, and while it's down on a lower deck with no windows, it's an expansive, calming space to get some R&R.

Open daily from 8am to 9pm, the spa features eight treatment rooms as well as a thermal suite made up of a steam room, sauna and a relaxation area. We sampled a reviving facial (£59 for 45 minutes) which was just heavenly!

There is also a hair and nail salon within the spa.

Tip*: Check out the spa offers advertised around the ship -- you can often get a 60-minute taster of three treatments for really reasonable prices.*

Fitness and Gym on Ambience

Adjacent to the spa is the gym which has been kitted out with new cardio machines and a large of selection of cable and free weights.

Away from the gym up on Deck 14, the refurbished Active Studio has been fitted out with new flooring and yoga mats ready for sessions. While aerobics classes come as complimentary, yoga and Pilates are an extra cost.

Ambience's wraparound promenade deck features both a long and a short track for joggers and walkers (joggers run outside clockwise, while walkers go inside clockwise). The longer track works out at 6.5 laps to one mile, while the shorter track is 10 laps for one mile.

Is Ambience Family Friendly?

Ambience is an adults-only line for over-18s so there are no facilities for families with children or teens. However, on selected summer dates Ambience will offer multigenerational cruises so children can sail with their parents and grandparents and the ship will host entertainment and activities for all the family.

Dining

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.

Free Restaurants Onboard Ambience

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.

What Restaurants Cost Extra on Ambience?

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.

Saffron

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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.

Chef's Table

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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

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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.