Ambassador Cruise Line has pushed back the launch of its first ship, Ambience, by two weeks with the Russian invasion of Ukraine contributing to the delay.
The company confirmed the maiden voyage, originally planned for 6 April, has been rescheduled to 20 April. Two Norwegian fjord voyages on Ambience have been cancelled along with the inaugural cruise to Hamburg.
Ambassador said ‘supply-side delays’ and the lack of availability of marine gas in Croatia – where Ambience is in dry dock – forced the decision. The situation has been worsened by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Chief Executive Christian Verhounig said.
“It’s not a decision that has been made in haste but something we have been working tirelessly to try and avoid,” he said.
“Whilst we were able to mitigate several delays impacting our extensive programme of works during the period Ambience was in dry dock, everyone is aware that there is at present, extensive supply chain disruption and delays in many commercial areas. Most recently these have been worsened by the crisis in Ukraine.
“It has therefore not been possible to depart for London Tilbury on the original date we had planned. This has had a knock-on effect to our inaugural sailing programme which we have managed to limit to the three initial sailings.”
Mr Verhounig described the delay as ‘incredibly disappointing news for the guests booked on these sailings’.
“We apologise for the disruption to their holiday plans that this news will cause,” he said. “We are hopeful that most of them will be able to enjoy our ship and service on the revised dates and the alternatives we put together for them.
“The good news is that despite the delay, the ship has completed her refurbishment, she is now operating to a higher level of environmental responsibility, the captain and crew are on board, and she is looking wonderful.
“All of us at Ambassador cannot wait to welcome our first guests on board. We appreciate that our guests may have questions beyond our initial communications to them, so we’re making more staff available today and opening our phone lines tomorrow (Saturday) to offer peace of mind and help with booking alternative sailings.”
Ambassador, which plans to offer ‘premium value’ cruises aimed at the 50+ market, will operate one ship in 2022, with a second vessel, Ambition, entering service in 2023.