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Ambassador Cruise Lines "Ambience" (Ex-CMV)


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Former Cruise &Maritime Voyages (CMV) bosses have reunited to launch Ambassador Cruise Line, a UK-based operator aimed at the over 50s market which plans to start sailing with one ship in April 2022. Ambassador’s management team includes chief executive Christian Verhounig, chief commercial officer Christopher Coates, chief information officer Gary Hides and chief financial officer Simon Weeks, who have all previously worked together at CMV before the line went into administration.

 

Ambassador will operate cruises on, formerly known as Pacific Dawn, P&O's Australia ship, which was set to become CMV’s flagship under the name Amy Johnson. The 1,400-passenger ship’ maiden voyage will be a “short-break cruise” out of Tilbury to Hamburg, Germany, starting on April 6 next year.

 

The ship’s debut full-year programme, running from April 2022 until May 2023, will include 33 sailings, calling at 88 ports across the Baltics, Greenland, the Arctic and Iceland.

 

(Images P&O Australia/CMV, Text: TrvaleWeekly)

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It wasn't surprising to see the CMV management team behind this.  I see the articles all refer to Chair of the Board and his experience in the cruise industry.  Given what happened with CMV, perhaps his name isn't as contentious as any of those ex-CMV people fronting this company?  I was lucky to get my money back and I know others haven't. Seeing the CMV names involved, it could harm any goodwill towards this new cruise line.

 

I had my first two cruises with them booked before the pandemic, so now with all their older classic ships gone I never got to experience them and I'm not sure this ship holds much appeal for me. 

 

I wonder if they will buy up some of the ex_HAL vessels that Seajets bought, or even the ex-PO Oceana?  Presumably she'd be quite popular with the UK market now that P&O has the likes of the Britannia and Iona?

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35 minutes ago, ovccruiser said:

I guess if it is aimed at the over 50's, the waterslide and water park will go 😄

Hmmmm, really 🤔😂

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Whilst I appreciate the sensitivities around the CMV liquidation, personally I welcome this. As a long-time P&O cruiser who only cruises on small ships, my choice with them is now pretty restricted. Fred Olsen are a good alternative but it is difficult to get a decent solo price with them. Consequently, I am hoping that this 'new' line will be competition for Fred.

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Since the press releases hint at expansion, I would think the ex-Oceana would be the best fit for a fleet mate.

The ideal sister Karnika was rushed to the breakers as was the similar Columbus.

The less disparate a cruise lines ships, the simpler to market. This was one of CMV’s issues and also a factor in HAL disposing of so many of their smaller ships which offered a radically different experience to the rest of their current fleet.

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11 hours ago, foodsvcmgr said:

Since the press releases hint at expansion, I would think the ex-Oceana would be the best fit for a fleet mate.

The ideal sister Karnika was rushed to the breakers as was the similar Columbus.

The less disparate a cruise lines ships, the simpler to market. This was one of CMV’s issues and also a factor in HAL disposing of so many of their smaller ships which offered a radically different experience to the rest of their current fleet.

Completely agree about Karnika and Columbus. A tragedy that they went to the breakers so soon. Also agree that P&O's old Oceana or one of her Sun Class sisters would be a good fit for Ambassador based on their first vessel.

I understand what you mean about consistency across the fleet but think it can be useful to have a variety of different ships. The only reason I still sail with P&O is because they have Aurora and Arcadia, which are different to the larger ships in the fleet. Once they have gone, I will no longer be a P&O passenger...

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57 minutes ago, richard_london said:

 

 

And they have an entry on Google Maps, which takes you to the old CMV offices in Purfleet.

 

Well that's where the customer database with all our personal details is!

The first thing Christian Verhounig (CMV CEO and Ambassador) was to but the datbase.

 

Personally i welcome a budget line to fill the CMV gap. I have found the experience similar to Olsen's , but considerably cheaper! (They are also rather like the old Thomson cruises).

 

 

 

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I wonder if the former CMV Directors have arranged to pay the debts of their old company yet before forming the new cruise line?

No, I thought not.

Please excuse the sarcasm but if you knew people who had suffered badly following CMV’s demise, you would understand.

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Posted (edited)

The list of cruises for 2022 is very much like those that CMV used to do so they are attractive itineraries. 

 

But the way CMV carried on selling cruises right up until they went under was terrible and what happened when it went into administration was awful.  Seeing the same names back involved in cruising seemingly without repurcussions isn't necessarily a good look for a new company.  

Edited by richard_london
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It is interesting reading the blurb on the reincarnated CMV cruise line (now called Ambassador) website where there is no reference to being ABTA members (or with an application pending).

I presume anyone who books through a Travel Agent would be protected by the TA’s own ABTA membership.

Ambassador apparently have their own insurance which presumably (if they remain solvent) protects direct bookings. Were they to fold, however, where does that leave those booking direct?

Based in Purfleet I guess they are even using CMV’s old premises.

Doubtless many people who are oblivious to the background will book the attractive looking itineraries.

Along with many friends we will not be amongst them.

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On 5/15/2021 at 9:19 AM, PrincessPete said:

It is interesting reading the blurb on the reincarnated CMV cruise line (now called Ambassador) website where there is no reference to being ABTA members (or with an application pending).

I presume anyone who books through a Travel Agent would be protected by the TA’s own ABTA membership.

Ambassador apparently have their own insurance which presumably (if they remain solvent) protects direct bookings. Were they to fold, however, where does that leave those booking direct?

Based in Purfleet I guess they are even using CMV’s old premises.

Doubtless many people who are oblivious to the background will book the attractive looking itineraries.

Along with many friends we will not be amongst them.

I can understand your feelings given your experience of CMV.  I don't know how cast iron a guarantee it is but they say their insurance is compliant with the Travel Package and Linked arrangements legislation of 2018. They also say on the website that customers' payments will be held in an independent Trust Fund and only passed to the company when the cruise departs.

I've seen an interview online with, I think, Travel Weekly, where he said they will be making an application to ABTA. Time will tell.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Britboys said:

 They also say on the website that customers' payments will be held in an independent Trust Fund and only passed to the company when the cruise departs.

I've seen an interview online with, I think, Travel Weekly, where he said they will be making an application to ABTA. Time will tell.

 

What has been set up is an alternative to ABTA membership, so should be ok without that.  There is a legal obligation for them to protect passenger's money and the insurance provided by abta membership is one way that can be done.  It does apparently cost a lot to become a member of abta.  what I do not know is if it is a standard fee (presumably related in some way to the size of the business), or if abta make an assessment of the risk and then set a fee accordingly.

Edited by tring
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4 hours ago, tring said:

 

What has been set up is an alternative to ABTA membership, so should be ok without that.  There is a legal obligation for them to protect passenger's money and the insurance provided by abta membership is one way that can be done.  It does apparently cost a lot to become a member of abta.  what I do not know is if it is a standard fee (presumably related in some way to the size of the business), or if abta make an assessment of the risk and then set a fee accordingly.

 

Just to say, we always pay with credit card for everything anyway, so would be protected.  That is always advisable of course.

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