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I have just booked on Ambassador's Greenland cruise departing June 2022. I understand this is a reincarnation of the failed CMV, . I never travelled on that, usually being a Fred Olsen cruiser, but I was attracted by the itinerary (many ports in Greenland - Fred Olsen cruises usually limited to 3 Greenland ports) and the price (Outside single on 3 week cruise for less than an inside on 2 week cruise with Fred Olsen)  I  thought I would start a new topic for Ambassador Cruises discussion.

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22 hours ago, Li-shan said:

I have just booked on Ambassador's Greenland cruise departing June 2022. I understand this is a reincarnation of the failed CMV, . I never travelled on that, usually being a Fred Olsen cruiser, but I was attracted by the itinerary (many ports in Greenland - Fred Olsen cruises usually limited to 3 Greenland ports) and the price (Outside single on 3 week cruise for less than an inside on 2 week cruise with Fred Olsen)  I  thought I would start a new topic for Ambassador Cruises discussion.

Well done for starting the thread.

I've booked one of the Christmas Markets cruises on Ambience. One previous cruise on CMV Marco Polo, which I really enjoyed.

Ambience looks like she is going to be a really nice ship. She is a good size for me and takes relatively few passengers for her size.

Let's hope the competition also brings down Fred Olsen's exorbitant solo prices!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I too have booked a Festive Markets cruise in 2022.

 

Ambassador Cruises are playing down the fact they are conneted in anyway to CMV. But having said that one of the Directors from SMV is also a Director /backer of Ambassador. They also seem to be copying some of their ideas.

 

Now just waiting the long wait until we cruise.

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4 hours ago, EJNutz said:

I too have booked a Festive Markets cruise in 2022.

 

Ambassador Cruises are playing down the fact they are conneted in anyway to CMV. But having said that one of the Directors from SMV is also a Director /backer of Ambassador. They also seem to be copying some of their ideas.

 

Now just waiting the long wait until we cruise.

Don't think they are playing it down John - just ignoring the fact 😄. If you are on the 5 night cruise, hopefully we can arrange a 'social media forum' get-together... I'm on another board where there are already a few of us.

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2 hours ago, Britboys said:

Don't think they are playing it down John - just ignoring the fact 😄. If you are on the 5 night cruise, hopefully we can arrange a 'social media forum' get-together... I'm on another board where there are already a few of us.

Hopefully I have found you

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Posted (edited)

We have booked on the 42 night cruise including Cuba from 5th January 2023. 

 

Re. the re-incarnation of CMV, yes the management team are exactly the same but they claim there is a different ethos but for the same market (over-50's, British, 'traditional cruises' and no-fly). They now have an eco-policy, which I assume is forced upon them by the new environmental standard coming in (IMO Tier III) and also to save money on paper & post - all documentation and communication is digital.

 

Almost all cruises will be adult-only and no child facilities or special provision for them will be made even when allowed, hence another saving and enabling more space for adults (there were two children's clubs on Pacific Dawn, a dedicated pool etc.). 

 

As far as I can see Ambassador intends to be cheaper than Fred Olsen and more British and cheaper than Cunard. The press release also promises the most diverse, inclusive and friendly crew at sea, so that should be interesting. 

 

In the meantime, the 'Satoshi', as she currently is, remains in port near Bar, Montenegro, in rather a sorry state having escaped scrapping in India, like her two sister ships, by the skin of her bows. I hope we will get progress reports on the Ambience from Ambassador, when the work starts to bring her back to life. 

Satoshi_in_Montenegro_in_2021.jpg

Edited by Skipper Tim
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12 hours ago, Skipper Tim said:

We have booked on the 42 night cruise including Cuba from 5th January 2023. 

 

Re. the re-incarnation of CMV, yes the management team are exactly the same but they claim there is a different ethos but for the same market (over-50's, British, 'traditional cruises' and no-fly). They now have an eco-policy, which I assume is forced upon them by the new environmental standard coming in (IMO Tier III) and also to save money on paper & post - all documentation and communication is digital.

 

Almost all cruises will be adult-only and no child facilities or special provision for them will be made even when allowed, hence another saving and enabling more space for adults (there were two children's clubs on Pacific Dawn, a dedicated pool etc.). 

 

As far as I can see Ambassador intends to be cheaper than Fred Olsen and more British and cheaper than Cunard. The press release also promises the most diverse, inclusive and friendly crew at sea, so that should be interesting. 

 

In the meantime, the 'Satoshi', as she currently is, remains in port near Bar, Montenegro, in rather a sorry state having escaped scrapping in India, like her two sister ships, by the skin of her bows. I hope we will get progress reports on the Ambience from Ambassador, when the work starts to bring her back to life. 

Satoshi_in_Montenegro_in_2021.jpg

Yes, does look a bit sorry at the moment but she did go across to the far side of the Caribbean before returning to Europe and won't have had any of the usual paint touch-ups that normally happen regularly. Like you, I hope we get updates from Ambassador once they start work on her.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Britboys and Skipper Tim

An interesting picture of “Satoshi” as she is now. My thoughts on the CMV reincarnation are well documented on the CMV site so to avoid boring you further I will not mention them here!

As far as "Ambience" is concerned, I do wonder what refurbishment she will undergo prior to next April. Obviously the outside will be painted, and presumably new carpets etc, but the issue that bothers me is the state of the plumbing and air conditioning. They both received consistently terrible comments over many years on the Cruise Critic cabin reviews forum for the ship as “Pacific Dawn”, and on other review sites.

She will be a relatively old lady of the seas at 32 when she commences service as "Ambience" and a few idiosyncrasies can be expected – but they may not sit comfortably with the lavish descriptions in the Ambassador brochure. I note from a picture that the horrible bench seating in the show lounge remains unchanged, and that really does show the age and style of the ship.

I was surprised at the sample menu in the brochure which showed just two main courses including one vegetarian – and only two desserts. Just two choices, surely not?

Also, the lack of alternative restaurants of a suitable size precludes any “Anytime Dining” which is the norm these days (although I accept it is also not available on Cunard other than in the Grills or Club Balcony grades).

Tim, you referred to “two sister ships” of "Satoshi"/"Ambience". I am sure there were just the two identical ships, not three – "Crown Princess", now scrapped, and "Regal Princess" that will become "Ambience". Happy to be proved wrong but can you assist?

As an aside, we had a reasonably pleasant cruise on the "Crown Princess" in 2001 although we were not particularly keen on the ship lacking a full promenade deck (since then most new ships don’t have them either, of course).

We found one particular design “flaw” which was rather annoying. As you know, the main restaurant is at the stern of the ship and our table was located at the extreme far end, away from the entrance. The nearest toilets on that deck are halfway along the ship so were a very long trek during dinner if a visit was needed. (there were nearer ones if you went up a deck). A small point, perhaps, but most odd that the facilities are not immediately outside the restaurant on the same deck, as is the case on pretty much every ship we have cruised on.

(I was going to post this as well on the CMV forum but the last two postings there were from Britboys and skipper Tim so in view of your postings on here I guess you will see this.)

Tim, you mentioned a few days ago on the CMV site that the Early Bird savings were to finish the following day and wondered what would replace them. In true CMV fashion you will see they were immediately replaced with…………….Early Saver Offers!

I suppose in the interest of fairness I should add that they are not alone as many cruise lines replace an expired offer with a new one when the original ends.

Fortunately, to date, we have been spared Ambassador using the pathetic BOGOF offer that CMV persisted with forever – where the first person paid twice as much as one would expect to pay, and the second person paid nothing. Did they really think passengers thought one person was getting a free cruise?!

Kind regards to Britboys, Skipper Tim and all. Peter

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Hi Pete,

 

Many thanks for your insights. Toilet & theatre seating comments noted! The QE2 was 39 years old when we first sailed on her and, yes, many aspects were very dated and things like plumping and ventilation struggling. However, the service was sublime and it was all part of the experience. I have high hopes for the Ambience. 

 

The other sister ship I was referring to was the Star Princess which, according to Wikipedia is the same internally but her two younger sisters had a super-structure redesign to add curves as well as making many 'ocean-view' cabins in balcony cabins without increasing their overall size - hence the non-suite balcony cabins have a smaller inside space that any inside cabin! 

 

One of the reasons I was attracted to Ambassador was the traditional two-sittings dining with allocated tables. With 'anytime dining' couples or friends stick to themselves and an essential part of the cruising experience is lost - that of gradually getting to know the people at the dining table over an extended period. I find a six-table too small because if one couple decide to eat elsewhere it leaves a large hole at the table, while a ten-table too large to have one conversation. Hence I consider an eight-table optimum and that is what I have requested. 

 

Yes, I followed the change in offers. To us, it represents a 5% increase in price under the new offers.

 

However, I had an email telling me that our pre-booked drinks package ('Expedition') had been reduced in price by 10% and that I would get a reduced invoice shortly. It is a very rare occurrence, unique in my experience, that an agreed fare is reduced in price after booking.

 

Ambassador said it was due to "customer feedback". There were discounts on the drinks packages with higher category cabins but not the lower categories which did seem a little unfair.

 

I have always felt that an all-inclusive package is a good combination with an inside cabin as it gives 'freedom of the ship' and hence use the cabin just for sleeping, washing and changing. Alternatively, to blow out on one of the better cabins makes me feel guilty about not spending a lot of time there rather than elsewhere on the ship. 

 

Anyway, well done to Ambassador for a discount, after the fact!

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On 8/7/2021 at 12:32 PM, PrincessPete said:

Hi Britboys and Skipper Tim

An interesting picture of “Satoshi” as she is now. My thoughts on the CMV reincarnation are well documented on the CMV site so to avoid boring you further I will not mention them here!

As far as "Ambience" is concerned, I do wonder what refurbishment she will undergo prior to next April. Obviously the outside will be painted, and presumably new carpets etc, but the issue that bothers me is the state of the plumbing and air conditioning. They both received consistently terrible comments over many years on the Cruise Critic cabin reviews forum for the ship as “Pacific Dawn”, and on other review sites.

She will be a relatively old lady of the seas at 32 when she commences service as "Ambience" and a few idiosyncrasies can be expected – but they may not sit comfortably with the lavish descriptions in the Ambassador brochure. I note from a picture that the horrible bench seating in the show lounge remains unchanged, and that really does show the age and style of the ship.

I was surprised at the sample menu in the brochure which showed just two main courses including one vegetarian – and only two desserts. Just two choices, surely not?

Also, the lack of alternative restaurants of a suitable size precludes any “Anytime Dining” which is the norm these days (although I accept it is also not available on Cunard other than in the Grills or Club Balcony grades).

Tim, you referred to “two sister ships” of "Satoshi"/"Ambience". I am sure there were just the two identical ships, not three – "Crown Princess", now scrapped, and "Regal Princess" that will become "Ambience". Happy to be proved wrong but can you assist?

As an aside, we had a reasonably pleasant cruise on the "Crown Princess" in 2001 although we were not particularly keen on the ship lacking a full promenade deck (since then most new ships don’t have them either, of course).

We found one particular design “flaw” which was rather annoying. As you know, the main restaurant is at the stern of the ship and our table was located at the extreme far end, away from the entrance. The nearest toilets on that deck are halfway along the ship so were a very long trek during dinner if a visit was needed. (there were nearer ones if you went up a deck). A small point, perhaps, but most odd that the facilities are not immediately outside the restaurant on the same deck, as is the case on pretty much every ship we have cruised on.

(I was going to post this as well on the CMV forum but the last two postings there were from Britboys and skipper Tim so in view of your postings on here I guess you will see this.)

Tim, you mentioned a few days ago on the CMV site that the Early Bird savings were to finish the following day and wondered what would replace them. In true CMV fashion you will see they were immediately replaced with…………….Early Saver Offers!

I suppose in the interest of fairness I should add that they are not alone as many cruise lines replace an expired offer with a new one when the original ends.

Fortunately, to date, we have been spared Ambassador using the pathetic BOGOF offer that CMV persisted with forever – where the first person paid twice as much as one would expect to pay, and the second person paid nothing. Did they really think passengers thought one person was getting a free cruise?!

Kind regards to Britboys, Skipper Tim and all. Peter

Thanks for this Peter. Fortunately, none of that will be an issue for me either. I am hoping that Ambassador may become my future 'comfy slippers' cruise line for when I cruise solo. As such, for me, the idea of Anytime Dining is a nightmare as I prefer fixed dining with the same table mates each night. Since being widowed in 2012, I have done most of my solo cruises with P&O but only sail on their two smallest (and oldest) ships, which afford me a more 'traditionally-styled' cruise than the other, larger ships.

I have previously cruised on ships that were over 30 and even over 50 years-old, so am well used to the idiosyncrasies of the older ship but prefer an older, idiosyncratic ship carrying fewer pax to today's modern ships that carry three, four or even five thousand pax.

From the photos released by Ambassador so far, I don't think the ship is going to have major changes from her current arrangement, which is post the 2017 refit. The large casino will receive a total refurb to become a stand-alone bar, with the casino being relocated to one of the current retail areas. The pool deck will also have major work to remove the water slides/splash park and reinstall the second swimming pool.

Once P&O has sold Aurora, I doubt I will cruise with them again and as Fred Olsen's prices are now exorbitant, I am keeping my fingers crossed for Ambassador.

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I always thought the CMV bogoff  offer was illegal.  Not because bogoff is illegal , but that they never actually sold a cabin for the full price, ie two people paying the exorbitant price for first person in Bogoff.

 

Did one trip with CMV only ship coming back from South Africa  at timewe wanted. Food and service was very average if not below. Wait and see before thinking about ambassador. 

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The last time I sailed with Cunard, I was shocked how poor the service was. Twice we sat in QM2's main restaurant at lunchtime and lost patience waiting even for a menu to arrive. The times we did endure, service was ever-so-slow and food not great. Thankfully we had a hotel holiday in Turkey booked straight afterwards and the service and food truly embarrassed Cunard. I wonder if this is a trend with cruise lines? I would say at the rates charged, it is a false economy to cut back on the front line. 

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We have just booked the 32 night Black Sea and Mediterranean for Oct 2022.  We know it won't be Celebrity, but am optimistic it will be a lovely cruise, and meeting interesting people.  Looking forward to this new adventure. 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Re: Ambassador Cruise Line's "Expedition Drinks Package".

 

The blurb says that this "includes tips and gratuities".  Can anybody confirm whether that is all tips and gratuities or only those for the bar?  They also mention a £6 per person / per night 'supplement' for crew gratuities in other parts of their marketing blurb.

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I refer you to the FAQ (https://www.ambassadorcruiseline.com/faqs/)

 

Do we have to pay for gratuities?

For your greater convenience, we operate an automatic service charge and gratuity system whereby an amount of £6.00 per person per night (this amount reduces to £5.00 per person per night for cruises of 16 nights or more) is automatically added to your onboard account.

All service charges and gratuities are collated, so a portion goes to each crew member, who helps to make your cruise special. This is not only distributed to your cabin steward and your waiter or bar attendant but also between the hidden stars behind the scenes, such as laundry operatives and kitchen staff, who you might never get to meet in person.

If you notice an issue that makes you think twice about our service charge, be sure to speak with one of our Guest Services Team who will try to resolve the matter before a charge adjustment becomes necessary. Even if you had a negative experience with a particular employee, seriously consider whether it warrants removing your gratuities altogether, keeping in mind that because of one crew member the whole team is affected. Of course, if you want to also reward a crew member personally in addition for excellent service, feel free to do so!

If you purchase one of our Ambassador Drinks Packages, gratuities are also included. However, please note that the gratuity contribution cannot be removed from any of the packages.

 

I read that as all service charges and gratuities are included in a drinks package, i.e. not just for drinks, although I agree, it could be more clearly written. There are quite a few badly-written sections on the Ambassador website. I hope they tidy them up in due course. 

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On 8/30/2021 at 7:43 PM, Snipper Snapper said:

Re: Ambassador Cruise Line's "Expedition Drinks Package".

 

The blurb says that this "includes tips and gratuities".  Can anybody confirm whether that is all tips and gratuities or only those for the bar?  They also mention a £6 per person / per night 'supplement' for crew gratuities in other parts of their marketing blurb.

I'm pretty sure that all gratuities are included in the packages, not just the drinks gratuities. That is certainly how it worked with CMV.

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On 8/31/2021 at 7:41 PM, maisiecat said:

Hi all

 Long time Celebrity fan, we have become priced out, so we are trying this next year for the Edimburgh/iceland cruise. 

It will be very different to Celebrity but if you go with an open mind, I'm sure you will have a great time.

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11 hours ago, Britboys said:

It will be very different to Celebrity but if you go with an open mind, I'm sure you will have a great time.

I am very much looking forward to the first reviews next year and, before those, updates from Ambassador on the state of the new Ambience during the re-fit or 'de-fit' (removing all the child features). Ambassador keep adding a 'theme' to the odd itinerary, presumably the ones not selling so well? Other news is scant. The website doesn't change and their official FB page is dominated by their social-media person asking dumb questions everyday. 

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1 hour ago, Skipper Tim said:

I am very much looking forward to the first reviews next year and, before those, updates from Ambassador on the state of the new Ambience during the re-fit or 'de-fit' (removing all the child features). Ambassador keep adding a 'theme' to the odd itinerary, presumably the ones not selling so well? Other news is scant. The website doesn't change and their official FB page is dominated by their social-media person asking dumb questions everyday. 

Yes, I am too Tim. Not sure that the theme cruises are necessarily poor sellers at the moment. I'm booked on one of those and currently a third of the cabin grades are on waitlist status. I think now they have launched, they have more time - and probably staff - to refine things a bit.

Ambience is still alongside in Bar at the moment and refit work is yet to commence. I am sure once work has started, there will be more updates from Ambassador.

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8 hours ago, Skipper Tim said:

There is a long article about the Satoshi in the Guardian this morning.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2021/sep/07/disastrous-voyage-satoshi-cryptocurrency-cruise-ship-seassteading

Thanks Tim. An interesting read. Amazing how some people are full of creative thinking but sometimes have no grasp on the real world and its requirements...

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14 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

Interesting  read.

 

Ambassador cruises will be carrying  far less debt than other cruise lines. This should make them profitable and  competitively priced. 

Very true and a definite bonus in current times. On the flip side however, they will be carrying fewer pax on older ships that are more expensive to operate.

I'm sure though that they will make the fares as competitive as possible - after all, they will want to survive and expand.

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