Ambassador Cruise Line, the new UK-based line set to debut in April, has announced the ceremonial godmother for its first vessel, Ambience. The line is pleased to welcome British athlete Sally Gunnell to the role, and she will formally christen the ship on April 14, 2022, prior to its maiden voyage for the line later that month.
Sally Gunnell to Be Godmother to Ambience
Essex-born Gunnell is a former track and field star, and is the only British woman to hold four major track titles simultaneously – Olympic, World, European, and Commonwealth – all for the 400-meter hurdles.
In addition to her recognition for that demanding event, Gunnell is also accomplished at the long jump and the heptathalon, which includes seven sprinting, high jump, long jump, hurdles, shot put, and javelin events.
“We’re incredibly proud to have Sally as our first ship’s godmother. She is a wonderful advocate for the 50-plus market and her ambitious drive and dedication to achievement echoes Ambassador’s determination for expansion,” said Christian Verhounig, CEO of Ambassador Cruise Line.
Since retiring from international athletics, the 55-year-old mother of three has become an advocate for health and well-being for the over 50s.
“I’m delighted to be godmother to Ambience, Ambassador Cruise Line’s first ship. I’ve a fondness for Ambassador’s homeport London Tilbury being in Essex, the county I was born and grew up in,” Gunnell said.
Not only does Gunnell appreciate the hometown closeness she feels with the ship and cruise line, but the line’s commitment to community, wellbeing, sustainability, and ethics are all core values she upholds.
“We’re all responsible for the seas we sail on,” Gunnell said. “This dedication from the off demonstrates that Ambassador is a responsible cruise line and one that I’m extremely honored to be working with.”
Maiden Voyage Planned
Ambience will enter service on April 20, 2022 with a maiden voyage to Hamburg, Germany, followed by a further 31 sailings calling at over 90 different ports. Itineraries will include the British Isles, the Norwegian Fjords, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland, plus several short break cruises.
For the winter months, a range of exploration-style voyages will sail to the Canaries, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde, and Scandinavia.
All departures will be from London, bringing convenient cruise travel to the British market without the need to fly to a more distant embarkation port.
Ambassador Cruise Line is the first new British cruise line to be launched since 2010, and features a wide range of options designed for more mature travelers.
Special events and activities are available for solo travelers, and the line is generally geared toward passengers ages 50 and older, but there will be designed multi-generational cruises during school holiday periods.
In appealing to a more classic market, the line harkens back to vintage cruise experiences, such as the “baked Alaska parade” and events such as cabaret shows, a Captain’s Gala Dinner, crafting classes, informational speakers, and more. The line will also offer a number of theme voyages, as well as a cruise book club.
First Ship for the Cruise Line
Ambience – currently named Ambassador Ambience until its official renaming in two weeks – was originally built as Regal Princess for Princess Cruises at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and was delivered for service in 1991.
In 2007, the ship was heavily refurbished, renamed Pacific Dawn, and transferred to P&O Cruises Australia. The ship’s fate was uncertain in 2020 as P&O Cruises had intended to retire the vessel and she was initially going to be sold to Cruise & Maritime Voyages at that time, but the operational suspension associated with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted those plans.
Instead, the ship was sold to Ocean Builders Central, renamed Satoshi, and intended for use as a floating residence in the Gulf of Panama, but those plans also failed to materialize. In 2021, the ship was sold once again to Ambassador Cruise Line to become the first vessel of that new line.
In October 2021, the ship began another extensive refit to prepare for her new role as Ambassador Cruise Line’s premier ship, and she is now ready to begin her new service life.