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Freya's First Impression of Ocean Cruising

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Ambassador’s Ambition was the first cruise ship I had the pleasure of stepping onboard on. Upon arrival at Bristol Portbury dock, I got to experience how everything works and as we arrived early in the morning we also got to see the disembarkation process. This all went very smoothly. At the terminal, we were greeted by lovely welcoming staff who guided us seamlessly through security and onto one of the frequently run shuttle buses that brought us to the ship.

Everyone getting off the ship was well guided and looked after. After getting onto Ambition, we were lucky enough to see some of the entertainment that would be on offer, a vibrant variety of west end shows. The show we got to see during their rehearsal had a fun country western theme. Afterwards, we began looking around the ship.

Entertainment

The Brontë library onboard was very stylish and had a lovely cosy feel to it, with lots of nooks to read in a relaxed environment and a chais lounge which added a charming comfy touch to the room. The next entertainment area we saw was Aces & Eights that hosted cards and games, this was a really nice space to see as it was ideal for socialising by the way it had been designed and I could picture all the guests coming together to play a game!

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Further down to Aces & Eights separated by the Clifton Lounge bar was Grafton Street. A colourful and bright area keeping in theme with its purpose…all things arts and crafts! In this room there are up to 61 different craft lessons on offer which are around £6 each to participate. Slightly further down again, was No.10 conference room, the perfect place for a group, club or society to come together for meetings and functions. These facilities are all available on Deck 6, alongside the Angel bar, two restaurants and a gallery.

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Food and Drink

Borough Market is a lovely place to dine casually with lots of greenery and light. In this restaurant you can sit up to 6 people on a table for buffet style dining. The Borough Market serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Buckingham also offers a similar style of dining, however there is also waiter service for evening meals as the Buckingham serves as the main dining restaurant for Ambition. The restaurant itself has a more formal feel to it with white clothed tables and afternoon tea available each day. Inside the Buckingham there is also the ‘Chef’s table’ where up to 10 guests can dine exclusively in a more formal/private setting, perfect for special occasions!

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Saffron is one of Ambition’s speciality restaurants with lots of delicious Indian cuisine, Saffron is very popular on the ship and gets booked up very quickly, so if you’d like to try it out onboard its best to book asap onboard! I got to try their butter chicken whilst onboard which was absolutely to die for, I can definitely see why it is such a popular place to dine! Lupino’s is another speciality Mediterranean restaurant, on offer there is a beautiful selection to choose from their 3-course menu including mezze, salads and other med classics!

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Alfresco Pizza Grill is situated near the pool area and is open from midday to 6pm for snacks, lunch if you happen to miss it at other restaurants or just fancy something a bit different! The menu changes daily so you can never be bored! However, you can expect to see burgers, pizza, tacos, chips etc. Holyrood restaurant is another place to dine on offer to suite guests, however other guests may be accommodated where possible. This restaurant is open for dinner only and has two sittings. The ice cream shop is situated by the pool where you can grab yourself a nice cold refreshment on those extra hot days!

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Cabins

I was very pleasantly surprised to find that all the cabins (including inside) were all very well laid out and spacious, despite being a smaller ship. This was very reassuring to know that whatever cabin you choose, you won’t be struggling to navigate everything. However, I must say I was blown away by the suites and how lovely they were for a ‘premium value’ ship. The space and facilities were just amazing and all felt very special. The balconies were very generous and some were also wrap-around, leaving enough space to have your own private loungers as well as a table and chairs. I thought this would be lovely for those days were you may be tired and don’t want to go anywhere or just fancy reading quietly in a comfy place in the sun. All suites come with a separate bath and shower and other exclusive benefits whilst onboard such as priority boarding.

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The balcony cabins were light and airy and also had a bath with an overhead shower, we also got to see a single occupancy version of a balcony cabin which was not down sized by any means, ensuring that solo travellers don’t necessarily have to compromise on their comfortability or settle for a single small bed. Next we went to see the outside cabins. These were also sill very spacious and had a properly sized window to allow lots of light into the cabin, some of the outside cabins had an ‘obstructed view’ meaning that outside your cabin window you would see some steel from the ship. However, this did not compromise on the view much and guests inside these cabins would still have a lovely outlook onto the horizon.

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Lastly, we saw some inside cabins, these had lovely artwork of blue skies on the back wall which I thought really helped to open up the space and make it feel very bright and airy. As the ship is decorated in a lighter wood, I also thought this made a huge difference in the inside cabins, although guests don’t have a window, the space still felt very light. The cabins themselves are also not pokey at all so there is still plenty of room to make use of the vanity etc and not feel cramped in.

Bars and Venues

 

Onboard there are plenty of venues to grab a tipple and enjoy some entertainment. The Cavern offers live cabaret, game shows and even silent discos from time to time! The Cavern is very generously sixed and decorated in orange and teal art deco style which I thought was beautiful! This was my personal favourite! The Clifton lounge is the perfect place to grab some cocktails and often has a live pianist or other musicians, this bar is located on deck 6. Also located on Deck 6 is the Angel bar near the upper entrance to the Palladium theatre, this is a lovely space to socialise and grab a drink before a show. As the Palladium theatre has entrances on decks 5 & 6, it gives the opportunity to be able to flow from most bars or restaurants onboard to then catch a show! You can really see the attention to detail that has been put into the lay out of the ship to make the guest’s experience on board as convenient as possible.

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On deck 5, you’ll find the Pendennis bar and the Purple Turtle. The Pendennis bar is an elegantly decorated space hosting pianists and music each night and doesn’t close until the early hours. So, there is no need to cut the night short when you are having fun! The Purple Turtle wine bar is another fun addition to the ship where you can grab traditional pub snacks at sea, this is definitely the place for those home from home British comforts! The Purple Turtle also hosts wine tasting events. There are also another two bars that can be found near the main pool area, The Pool bar and The Consulate bar, so you don’t have to go too far when relaxing by the pools.

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Spa and fitness studio

Onboard Ambition on deck 11 you can find the Green Sea Spa and fitness studio. The Green Sea Spa has multiple treatment rooms with everything from Thai massages to reflexology. The variety of treatments on offer really is fantastic. If you don’t fancy a treatment, you can also use their Finnish or Aroma saunas free of charge. For those interested in using the gym whilst on board, there is a spacious area with lots of different equipment and a variety of classes to participate in, the cardio machines also face the view which I thought was nice to be able to look out onto the horizon… This may even persuade me to a session on the spin bike!

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Shopping

If you prefer to shop til you drop! Ambition has the shopping Galleria, here there are lots of little shops with premium brands to choose from whatever you may be after including Pandora, Swarovski, Dior and more! There are also some other shops for souvenirs to take home with you and duty free.

To book excursions onboard guests can go to ‘Destination Experiences’ on deck 5 near reception, there is a desk where you can book with a member of staff or there are multiple touchscreen displays to book yourself. These touchscreen displays can also be located all around the ship which are not limited to booking excursions… they also provide lots of information such as the weather, entertainment on board that day, the itinerary and more. You can also book other things onboard using this device such as spa treatments, so you don’t need to go very far on the ship to do something if you don’t want to.

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I thought this was a fab idea, for those who are happy to use them. It makes things much more convenient for guests and helps to cut down queues at the desks. They have made them easy to use, and you can also zoom in on the display if you don’t happen to have your glasses with you!

To finish off the day we were all treated to a beautiful lunch onboard in the Holyrood restaurant, where we were given a menu of up to five courses to choose from. The menu had an array of different meals that could be found around the ship’s restaurants meaning that we could try a bit of everything! The food tasted and was presented exquisitely by the lovely staff on Ambition who were faultless and utterly professional and friendly throughout the visit.

I definitely left the ship feeling very spoilt, a truly wonderful end to a fabulous day! I you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected], call me on 01989 562555 or come in and see me in our Ross-on-Wye store.

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