Back from the dead, a classic 1990s cruise ship arrived in the UK today, marking the launch of the UK’s first new dedicated cruise line in over a decade. The ship marries her remarkable career with that of a well-known British cruise line, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, which went bankrupt during the pandemic. Founded with some of the same leadership and the same philosophy, the aim is to build a new UK-only cruise line called Ambassador Cruise Line.
Renowned Vibe, the 70,000 gross ton cruise ship arrived April 14 at its new home port of Tilbury, England. While two weeks behind schedule due to pandemic-caused supply delays, the cruise ship is sparking after a multimillion-dollar refit and is ready for its maiden voyage next week.
Introduced in 1991, the vessel, which is 811 feet long, has won several accolades during her career. It is among the first modern cruise ships built by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri, which will become one of the main designers and builders of cruise ships. The ship was commissioned by Sitmar Cruises, an early entrant into the modern American cruise industry, and the ship’s design along with her sister ship was developed by renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano, who said the distinctive curves of the ships were inspired by dolphins.
After the sister ships were ordered, however, Sitmar Cruises merged with P&O’s American Princess Cruises brand. Both ships were renamed before entering service becoming the crown princesswhich began sailing in 1990, and her sister ship royal princess. At the time, they were among the largest cruise ships in the world. After the merger of P&O and Carnival Corporation, the crown princess would see service for several brands before ending service in 2020 as an Indian cruise ship Karnica.
The ambience shows its now classic 1990s style created by Renzo Piano (Ambassador Cruise Line)
the royal princess sailed with Princess until 2007 before transferring to Australian P&O Cruises where she will sail until 2020 as pacific dawn, operating again with her sister ship. She, however, was one of the cruise ships that Carnival Corporation sold during the pandemic to a group in Panama that planned to turn her into a floating bitcoin community called Satoshi. That effort quickly fell apart, with the owners claiming they had sold the ship for scrap before a last-minute deal saved her for future service.
Similarly, CMV was a popular UK-based cruise brand that was growing rapidly before the onset of the pandemic. The company had agreed to purchase two cruise ships from Carnival Corporation, one being the pacific dawn. Neither was delivered to the company and its fleet was eventually auctioned off after declaring insolvency in the summer of 2020.
Management of the former CMV acquired assets including the marketing database and announced plans to launch their new company, Ambassador Cruise Line in 2022. They acquired the former royal princess developers from Panama. The ship spent another year laid up before beginning cruise ship renovation efforts. Unlike other modern cruise lines which seek to provide entertainment, renowned Vibethe ship has removed features such as its slides and is limiting its passenger capacity to 1,400.
Atmosphere during her refit after deceiving the scrappers (Ambassador Cruise Line)
Ambassador plans to run a UK-based cruise line offering cruises that don’t require flights to join the ship. The marketing is for adults only, with the company saying it will provide “an authentic cruise experience” with a focus on the high-end market.
After deceiving the scrappers, the Vibe departs on her maiden voyage on April 20. As well as being a throwback to the industry era of the 1990s, she is also the last link to the once popular Sitmar brand. Cruise aficionados eagerly await the return of the now classic ship, while management is confident in their concept. Even before they entered service, the company acquired a second cruise ship from Carnival Corporation which they plan to commission in 2023 named Ambition.