“I think ultimately the problem was the Ukrainian situation with Russia and the unavailability of fuel in the Atlantic Sea, and that’s something you just can’t get over because you’re dealing with all the rest, but this one was too much,” he added, referring to the ship’s inability to leave the yard in Croatia due to a lack of fuel.
“Supply chain issues will affect the whole world over the next couple of years…This is a tough time [but] we have a great team to overcome these challenges.
Added to these obstacles are concerns about the crew. “A lot of people don’t realize that 17% of all sailors in the world are Ukrainians, so if you’re a Ukrainian sailor man and you’re home right now, you’re not going to be joining a ship anytime soon, and that add pressure…’
“Extremely strong demand”
“We have seen extremely strong demand,” said the CEO, “We will respond to any feedback; we are a small team, we are the new kid on the block. We listen very carefully to what customers are saying and their feedback, and if it tells us that we need to change something, we will change it immediately.
When asked if there are any other Ambassador ships on the horizon, Verhounig’s response is, “We don’t put numbers or timelines on it…but the comments we’ve seen so far ‘Now the demand we are seeing warrants more to come’. .’
“We are constantly evaluating options to reduce our carbon footprint, all business decisions are subject to environmental compliance review… we try to reduce the use of printed materials and we actively encourage our crew officers and staff to come up with ideas on how we can be better,” says Verhounig. So far, Ambassador has reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by 95%, reduced sulfur oxides by 80% and, says the CEO, “will not dump any untreated wastewater into the sea, even if laws international organizations authorize it”. The same goes for our ballast water systems. And contrary to most popular belief, we biodigest food before it goes into the sea so as not to affect the oceans and the ecosystem.
Compliant with the IMO Tier III standard, Ambience can sail in the most environmentally protected areas of the world.
Ship naming ceremony
More than 500 guests, partners and suppliers attended the christening ceremony on April 19 – a day before her maiden voyage from London Tilbury to Hamburg. Said the CEO at the opening of the festivities, “I think it is impossible to put into words how difficult it is to create a cruise line in the midst of a pandemic… Launching during the pandemic, the first cruise line for over a decade, shows very clearly how committed we are and how strongly we believe in the future of cruising and the future of Ambassador.
He added, ‘Almost 25 years ago on this day I joined my first cruise ship as a bartender. Although I immediately fell in love with the cruise industry, I never could have imagined that one day I would be the CEO of a brand new cruise line and witness the naming of its first ship.
A montage of former athletics champion Sally Gunnell’s victories was shown on a large screen in the ship’s Palladium theater, before she blessed the ship and initiated the usual bottle breaking. “Ambassador has a collection of brand values that I believe in too strongly, from community and well-being to sustainability and ethics,” she said. “We must all be responsible for the seas we sail on.”
Songs from the musicals The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera were also performed as part of the christening ceremony – a flavor of the “Magical of the Musicals” onboard show – with masquerade masks offered to passengers.
In keeping with the line’s sustainability goal, all costumes worn by performers were made with 100% recycled plastic from the ocean.
Chief Commercial Officer Chris Coates, who recently worked part-time as a consultant with the line, was present, while President Ambassador Gordon Wilson and Chief Commercial Officer Phil Gardener delivered speeches, as well as Captain Egil Aune s speaking on behalf of staff working on board, who described ‘jumping at the chance to join Britain’s newest cruise line’.
A nine-course meal in the Buckingham Restaurant ffollowed the ceremony in which servers participated in a parade wearing the ship’s signature Baked Alaska dessert.
In its first year, the 1,400-passenger Ambience is expected to offer 31 cruises to 37 countries and sail 90,000 miles. After her maiden four-night cruise, she will embark on itineraries explore the British Isles, Norwegian Fjords, Nordics, Greenland, Arctic and Iceland, plus several short cruises. In winter, he will cross the Canary Islands, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.
Ambassador’s Ambition is expected to undergo the same upgrades – including environmental upgrades – before its launch next March. It will operate flightless cruises from regional ports in the UK, such as Tilbury, Liverpool, Newcastle, Dundee, Belfast, Bristol and Falmouth.