My family and I were recently invited aboard Ambassador’s Ambience ship on a seven night trip to the Norwegian Fjords, stopping off at Geiranger, Bergen and Eidfjord – it was only the second of Ambassador’s cruises to allow children onboard and one of only two such multi-generation cruises planned for this year.

It was a bit of a different one for us as, apart from when she was a baby, our daughter has only ever cruised on a ship that has all the bells and whistles – pool with retractable roof, water park and a kids’ club.

On this cruise Ambassador was laying on special entertainment and workshops for the youngsters and it was my job to see how well they coped with their mini cruisers.

The cabin

Great British Life: Plenty of room for three in the junior suite. Photo: AmbassadorPlenty of room for three in the junior suite. Photo: Ambassador

We were upgraded to a junior suite, which was a lovely surprise and gave us so much more room as a family. And canapes every day!

My daughter had a double sofa bed all to herself, and we had a bath! I have never had a cruise cabin with a bath in it before and believe me we made good use of it – and the shower, which was brilliantly powerful for one on a ship.

The cabin also had more than enough storage for the three of us – even if I did pack the kitchen sink. The joy of cruising with no luggage limit!

There was also a little fridge – good for keeping your water cold and a lovely balcony – ideal for spotting other ships or distant shores with the suite’s binoculars. And even better as a great viewpoint when coming into or leaving port.

The television didn’t have any kids channels so we didn’t use that much and the décor was on the old fashioned side – but it was smart and clean and tidy.

The biggest surprise for me was the fact there was only one three-pin plug for the entire suite and no USB points. This was challenging in times of modern technology with so many devices to charge – especially with children. So, make sure you pack a multi-plug.

Eating onboard

Great British Life: The classy Buckingham Restaurant. Photo: AmbassadorThe classy Buckingham Restaurant. Photo: Ambassador

Borough Market – the buffet restaurant – struggled under the demand on this cruise if I’m honest. It wasn’t the food station queues that were struggling, finding a table was the challenge, and on a couple of occasions we gave up and left after walking up and down for 20 minutes trying to find somewhere to sit.

That said, if you try to avoid peak times (9-10am and 1-2pm) then it was a little better. And the variety of food on offer was often worth getting into a race for a table. There was a traditional English breakfast, freshly cooked omelettes, breads and pastries on offer in the morning. Plus fruit, cereals, meats and cheese. There was always a fish and chips counter, an oriental counter and kids corner, plus a roast of the day, fresh fish and lovely salads on offer for lunch and dinner. Plus an afternoon tea with sandwiches and cakes was served in the afternoon.

Personally I loved the Buckingham Restaurant, which was open for all three meals. The main dining room on the ship, it is beautifully furnished in wood and drapes and service was swift and efficient.

We opted for first sitting (5.30pm) but were given second sitting (8.15pm), with the latter being a bit late for our five-year-old. But we were told to turn up at 6pm each day and they would find us a table – and sure enough they did.

Great British Life: The chateaubriand was fantastic (c) Charlotte SkidmoreThe chateaubriand was fantastic (c) Charlotte Skidmore

Hits for me included the chateaubriand, lamb shank and the crepe Suzette. The variety of choice is just amazing in the restaurant and you can opt for anything from one to five courses every night.

My absolute favourite meal onboard had to be the one we had at the Indian speciality restaurant onboard, Saffron. The mixed starters were to die for – especially the paneer, my main of lamb rogan was huge, tasty and moreish, as was my husband's butter chicken. And my daughter had a wonderful Thali – with more paratha and rice than we could have wished for. My mouth is watering remembering the vibrant tastes.

Entertainment onboard

Great British Life: The shows were the best I've seen at sea (c) Charlotte SkidmoreThe shows were the best I've seen at sea (c) Charlotte Skidmore

We had a very rainy week when we sailed in August. This meant the pools were pretty much a no-go from the first day and the entertainment team had to work even harder to occupy lots of children who were inside all day on sea days and even part of the day on shore days.

At the beginning of the week you could tell demand was outstripping supply, but the teams response was brilliant and within 24 hours there were more workshops and entertainment sessions than any child, parent, or grandparent could wish for.

There were arts and crafts, quizzes, dance workshops, family games sessions (indoor skittles champion right here), choirs and even a kids disco.

For me, far and above anything else on the ship, came the quality of the evening shows. Superb doesn’t even come close to describing the sheer excellence that came from that stage. The cast were well and truly West End standard, the choreography was amazing and the story lines mesmerising.

I particularly loved the show based on festivals through the years – well Glastonbury is in Somerset. Also great was West End Wonders and a show about a women’s football player choreographed to Queen music (genius!)

A special shout out also to Spotlight Stage School – Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists in 2018, 2020 and 2022, who had a guest slot for their ABBA show. They were brilliant.

The way The Palladium, the main theatre space, is laid out, means you can get incredibly close to the stage, which gives you an experience not to be missed. These were the best shows I have ever seen on any cruise ship, by far.

There are a number of bars aboard Ambience, ranging from the Purple Turtle pub, to the very swish SW16, vibrant Centre Court in the middle of the ship (seeing a theme yet?) and the gorgeous Botanical Lounge, which gave me feels of The Ivy.

Health and beauty

The GreenSeaSpa on board is a lovely area down on deck two, which offers a gym, steam room, spa, hair salon and a number of different aesthetic and therapeutic therapies and body treatments.

I was lucky enough to enjoy a 90 minute holistic aromatherapy massage and I was soothed from head to toe by a brilliant therapist. However, my treatment room was right above the engines and the movement and clunking from engineers and the mechanics was extremely loud at times. I’m all for atmosphere, but as it was a relaxing treatment, I’d advise seeing if there is a quieter room for this sort of treatment.

I also had a wash and blow dry onboard and my daughter had her hair styled. It was a wonderful experience for us to enjoy together and the staff are absolutely brilliant – with adults and children!

The stops

Great British Life: Out on the RIB (c) Charlotte SkidmoreOut on the RIB (c) Charlotte Skidmore

It was unfortunate that we had such a rainy week in Norway – the area is prone to showers during the summer, but the rain was particularly heavy. However, it didn’t ruin the beauty of the Fjords for me.

At our first stop, Geiranger, I was lucky enough to take an electric RIB ride out amongst the fjord. It was a trip I’ll never forget and actually brought me to tears. The exhilaration and the beauty combined make this an amazing choice of trips. Taking in the view of the Seven Sisters from such a unique vantage point is etched in my memory forever.

Bergen was tricky as it was sadly torrential rain that day and we didn’t get far. We did however manage to have a look around the fish market, which was fascinating. Thanks to the fact the ship docks so close to the city centre, even the weather couldn’t ruin our day. You’d think we would be used to it being British!

Great British Life: Ambience looking lovely in the Fjords (c) Charlotte SkidmoreAmbience looking lovely in the Fjords (c) Charlotte Skidmore

Our third stop, Eidfjord, saw us embark on a family destination experience to Voss cable car and Tvinde waterfall. It was a four-hour trip – ideal for a family with young children and my daughter was absolutely fascinated, both looking down on Voss from the cable car as it climbed dizzy heights and posing by the waterfall.

We even enjoyed some waffles and coffee at the top of the cable car, all included in the excursion price.


Ambassador offers parking at Tilbury terminal, which is where we embarked. The process could not have been more simple, with a luggage drop off, then car drop off and off you go to board your Ambassador holiday.

The cruise line offers holidays from a number of cruise terminals, including Bristol.

Great British Life: Centre Court at the heart of the ship. Photo: AmbassadorCentre Court at the heart of the ship. Photo: Ambassador

In conclusion

Ambassador brands itself as ‘The premium value no-fly cruise line where you can enjoy an authentic experience and the warmest welcome at sea’. This is 100 per cent accurate in my opinion. The prices are extremely reasonable. There’s none of the bells and whistles of some of the bigger cruiselines but the Ambience and its sister ship, Ambition, can get into intimate settings that larger ships cannot.

The cruise line is adjusting well to opening its doors to younger cruises a couple of times a year, learning more and more and putting so much effort into getting there.

The staff are really friendly aboard – with our cabin steward being the star of the show – every day a smile for us.

Ambassador sails from eight regional ports and I’d highly recommend seeing where they are sailing from near you. I’ll be waiting for some multi-generation cruises from Bristol to come up, that’s for sure!