Ex-Thomas Cook executive Phil Gardner takes senior role at new cruise line

By Steve Jones
02/02/2022
Home » Ex-Thomas Cook executive Phil Gardner takes senior role at new cruise line

The UK’s newest cruise operator, Ambassador Cruise Line, has named former Thomas Cook executive Phil Gardner as its Chief Commercial Officer as the company prepares for its inaugural season.

Mr Gardner, who also worked for TUI’s cruise operation, is one of three senior hires for the firm, with former P&O Ferries director Nick Hughes joining as Chief Operating Officer and supermarket accountant Matthias Seeger named as Chief Financial Officer.

Ambassador’s ship, Ambience, will set sail from Tilbury in April with a short break to Hamburg ahead of its inaugural 33-voyage 2022/23 season.

Phil Gardner: Ambassador is a compelling proposition

Itineraries will take in the British Isles, Norwegian Fjords, Baltics, St Petersburg, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland, Canary Islands, Cuba, the Caribbean, Cape Verde and Scandinavia.

A second ship, acquired from Carnival, will be renamed Ambition and enter service in 2023.

Mr Gardner, who spent four years at Thomas Cook before helping to relaunch the brand during a a two-year stint at Fosun Tourism Group, said: “Opportunities like this don’t come round often. To be joining Britain’s newest cruise line, with the prospect of building on the amazing start Ambassador has made and be part of growing the business, was a compelling proposition.”

Prior to joining Thomas Cook in 2015, Mr Gardner spent eight years at TUI, including a four and a half years as General Manager, Commercial in the operator’s cruise division.

“I look forward to being back in the heart of the cruise industry and developing a brand and business that is the envy of the UK cruise market,” he added.

Ambassador said it will operate ‘premium value’ cruises aimed at the 50+ market.

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