Rough seas and high winds across parts of France’s northern coast last week forced Ambassador Cruise Line to alter the itinerary of its flagship, Ambience, during her Easter British Isles Discovery sailing.
Now the line wants to make it up to disappointed guests by offering a substantial discount on another British Isles voyage. The cruise line also dealt with a mooring problem while the Ambience cruise ship was docked in France.
Affected Guests Can Sail Again at 25% Off
Ambassador Cruise line, a new player in the UK market that began operating in 2022, issued a letter to guests on the last full day of Ambience’s Easter holiday cruise inviting them to book another British Isles cruise at 25% off the best-published price.
There are two stipulations: The discounted sailing must depart in the next 18 months, and bookings must be made by June 30, 2023. Affected guests who wish to sail to a destination other than the British Isles can receive a 10% discount, and the same stipulations apply.
In his letter, Ambassador Cruise Line CEO Christian Verhounig wrote: “Unfortunately, as you experienced, we were forced to revise parts of our itinerary due to dangerous sea and wind conditions around the British Isles.”
“No cruise line likes to cancel ports, but we hope you can understand that sometimes this is necessary in the interest of the safety of our guests and crew, and this must be our first priority,” Verhounig added.
The Easter holiday cruise aboard Ambience, which accommodates 1,400 guests, was a 12-day voyage roundtrip from London (Tilbury) departing on April 3, with calls at the Orkney Islands, Isle of Sky, Isle of Mull, Belfast and Cork, Ireland, and Le Havre, France, among other destinations.
Rough Weather Also Caused Mooring Problem
The compensation comes as the ship also experienced a mooring incident due to bad weather while docked in Cherbourg, France, on April 12.
Ambience was affected by sudden strong winds, which resulted in the mooring bollard being pulled up from the pier. In turn, that caused the ship’s mooring lines to come loose and the vessel moving away from the pier. The gangway that allows passengers to embark and disembark also fell into the sea.
The cruise line said, “We are pleased to report that the gangway was free of passengers at the time and that all guests and crew are safe and well.”
Later that night, a second update alerted guests that the weather would cause the ship to remain in port at Cherbourg and miss a call to Honfleur.
“Given the severe weather conditions, Ambience will sadly not be able to stop at Honfleur, her next scheduled port of call. Our ship will therefore make her way back to the UK on Thursday for her scheduled arrival in Tilbury on Friday 14 April, during which time the wind is forecast to be moderate,” Ambassador Cruise Line said on Facebook.
The letter that was sent to guests comes at the end of a voyage impacted by bad weather. Ambience arrived back home in Tilbury, UK on April 14 and has already departed on the following voyage.
This Cruise Ship Passed Through Several Hands
Ambience entered service in 1991 as Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess. Following a refurbishment in 2007 she was renamed Pacific Dawn and transferred to P&O Cruises Australia.
P&O had intended to retire the ship in 2020, but she was instead sold to Ocean Builders Central to be used as a floating residence in the Gulf of Panama. Those plans fell through, and the ship was sold to Ambassador Cruise Line in 2021.
The ship offers 798 cabins, including two suite categories, five restaurants, nine lounges, a swimming pool, spa, and various enrichment and lifestyle activities.
Ambassador Cruise Line last year bought a second ship, AIDA Cruises’ AIDAmira, and is scheduled to launch the ship, now named Ambition, in May 2023. The 1,200-guest ship will sail her 14-night maiden voyage, Hidden Gems of France and Spain, roundtrip from Newcastle Tyne, England.
Ports of call will feature Cherbourg and Le Verdon, France, and Bilbao, Gijon and La Coruna, Spain, among others. Later in 2023, the ship will deploy to the Norwegian fjords and to the Mediterranean.