Ambition Completes 25 Years in Service


Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambition is completing 25 years of service this month. Acquired by the British company in 2022, the ship was originally built for Festival Cruises and made its debut in June 1999 as the Mistral.

As the first in a series of three ships that also includes the European Stars and the European Vision, the 1,196-guest ship was built by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France.

As Festival’s first ever newbuild, the Mistral was initially designed to offer a multi-language, pan-European product in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

With interiors designed by the Greek firm AMK Architects & Designers, the ship was named in St. Nazaire by Claude Deschamps, wife of the soccer player Didier Deschamps, in the presence of France’s then Prime Minister Lionel Jospin.

The christening ceremony was turned into an event of national importance for the country and featured the ship covered by a giant French flag.

Facing commercial and financial challenges, Festival Cruises ceased operations just five years after welcoming the Mistral.

While its sister ships, the European Stars and the European Vision, were acquired by MSC Cruises, the ship ended up being chartered to Spain-based Iberojet Cruceros in 2004.

The company was later taken over by Carnival Corporation and continued to operate the Mistral until late 2013.

After being transferred to Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises, the vessel was finally sold to Ambassador Cruise Line in 2022.

Following a month-long refit in Northern Europe, the ship emerged as the Ambition ahead of the 2023 summer season.

During its shipyard stay, the ship saw the installation of the latest emission reduction technologies for IMO Tier III compliance, in addition to upgrades to public areas and cabins.

Now offering no-fly cruises aimed at the British Market, the vessel sails from regional departures ports across the United Kingdom, including Bristol, Dundee, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Belfast.

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