Norway Cruise

Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience Wraps Travellers in British Style Through Norway

Written by Jane Wilson
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The pattern on the water resembled a hair clasp holding braided locks in place as we cruised slowly through the fjord. Around 12,000 years ago, the ice retreated to create Norway’s largest fjord, the Sognefjord, and we sailed through a branch of this scenic wonder, the majestic Aurlandsfjord.

Tranquil and calm, bathed in the early morning light, Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience treated us to a cinematic journey through a labyrinth of valleys and the dramatic untamed scenery that rolled by on both port and starboard sides.


Mesmerising water art in the fjords of Norway


Cruises are a growing sector for leisure travel and Norway’s awe-inspiring fjords top many bucket lists.

Ambassador Cruise Line’s curated Itineraries offer a wide choice for viewing them, including the 7-day cruise I took  aboard Ambience, which accommodates up to 1400 passengers in 789 cabins. Entitled “a Taste of the Fjords”, the cruise included scenic ports such as Bergen, Flam and Stavanger.

So, why are Norwegian cruises so popular? I asked fellow passengers during the cruise and the responses were consistent: Unpack once/ no flights, convenient access from London Tilbury, and a ship that appreciates British cultural.

For me, it was the patterns of nature’s beauty, from the ripples of the sea, the sunsets, and the sheer nothingness on the horizon —all while being encapsulated in cozy familiar style.


Norway Cruise

Life aboard Ambience is comfortable with a distinctive British style

A Dash of Great Britain

A nod to British culture floated between the decks. Borough Market, the buffet restaurant, and a taste of home for us British passengers – think Sunday roasts, crumbles and custard, Ploughman’s, Baked Alaska and of course, afternoon tea.

For fine dining the Buckingham Restaurant, Dickens for coffee and the Purple Turtle Pub which played host to quizzes, bingo and trivia games and for a quiet corner, the wood-panelled Brontë’s library.

Other areas were reserved for those choosing to “knit and natter” or take classes in craft and dance or even to play carpet bowls. Providing a laid-back atmosphere was the atrium – Centre Court, to sit back and relax with new found friends.

And as the day drifted into the evening, the Palladium Theatre Lounge shone the spotlight on high class West End-style musicals, plays and comedians, while music set the mood in the various bar lounges, with a violinist, pianist cum singer, and of course the late-night dance floor on the top deck, decorated all black, white and blingy.


Norway Cruise

Scenic Bergen is a popular port-of-call. Photo by Girish Chouhan

Norwegian Ports of Call

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, it was walkable or you could steer your way around on a Segway, (one of the destination experiences with Ambassador). The funicular fulfilled its promise of amazing views from Mount Floyen over the harbours and homes perched on the hillsides.

Back at the quayside, I took a peek behind these wooden facades of the crooked wooden houses along alleyways. It was like travelling back in time to an authentic medieval atmosphere where you could imagine barrels and loaded trollies being rolled down the alleyways with the smell of tar and odour of dried fish.

The Bryggen & Hanseatic merchants  first came here in the 14th century (after the Viking Age) and dominated the stock fish trade exchanging them with grain from Europe.

The Bryggen Hanseatic wharf in Bergen was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979. A visit to the Hanseatic Museum will teach you more. Lining the passageways were jewellers, artists, textile and leather crafters’ shops. Strolling through the city, menu boards  advertised fillets  of reindeer with fries, quaint shops selling boxes of northern lights chocolates.

You could purchase a lusekofte or Setesdal, a traditional patterned Norwegian wool sweater or a Reindeer hide (1299 kr or £100), found in Nordic countries from the Sámi communities who have practised reindeer herding for centuries.


Norway Cruise

Float through Norway’s stunning fjords aboard  Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience  (Photo by Robin Strand/


Flâm  (sounds like flom) is famous for the train and the small village on the  quayside. The Flâm Railway is nestled in the innermost corner of the Aurlandsfjord and journeys up the steep climb between Flâm to the mountain station at Myrdal and  enveloped in spectacular views.

It took about one hour to cover the 20-kilometre-long track through tunnels, many of which were excavated by hand. Along the way I saw rivers cut through deep ravines, waterfalls cascading down while farmhouses clung to sheer slopes.

I spotted hikers and cyclists and the old town centre with its central church dating back to 1667. And there were glampers and grazing goats.

The mighty Kjosfossen waterfall with a vertical drop of 140 metres not only provides the energy to the power station that produces the electricity for the railway but it was also where the train stopped briefly to experience the mountain spirit under the its spray, while witnessing the ancient lure from a woman in red chanting on the rocks.

Stavanger is Norway’s energy capital, surrounded by mountains and fjords with a number of museums worth visiting such as the Stavanger City Museum and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum which illuminates its oil history and submersibles. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century. For shopping I walked to Øvre Holmegate, known as the colourful street.

Outside the city, I saw strawberry fields and farmlands with monuments and bunkers built by the Vikings. The Swords in Rock monument in Hafrsfjord marks the Viking battle of Hafrsfjord when Norway was united into one kingdom. There was a helicopter tour over Pulpit Rock, a popular tourist attraction in the form of a rock plateau 604 meters above Lysefjord with exceptional views. It was one of the destination experiences arranged by the ship.


Norway Cruise

The Flam Railway is known as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world.  Photo by Visit Bergen / Casper Steinsland –

Life On Board

Ambiance offered a number of different accommodation grades, varying in size (average is 17-18 square metres)  and deck locations. My comfortable verandah cabin provided ample hanging and drawer space  for clothing, with a tea and coffee making set up, flat screen TV and a safe for passport and valuables. The ship was not fancy or big, but brimmed with approachable and unpretentious style. The staff were forever eager to please, with smiles all round, and the service level was high


Ambience offers no less than 11 different lounges and bars including Raffles Bar, Botanical Lounge, Observatory, SW19 and The Purple Turtle Pub, so there’s a wide choice of contrasting venues to choose from.

Solo Travellers

The Ambience has a high percentage of single occupancy cabins for this growing sector of solo cruisers, with arranged onboard social events and is well equipped to assist those with mobility challenges. It encourages special interest groups such as choirs from around the country who had booked to combine the fjords with their vocals. Needless to say, we enjoyed a harmonious concert with renditions of Mozart and Handel on the last day.

I met family gatherings (cruises are mostly adult-only), sisters sharing time together and even girlfriends who had left their partners for a week of food, fun and dance.


Norway Cruise

The multi-tiered Palladium is where the talented Show Team and invited performance artists entertain guests


Specialty Restaurants

Setting the mood, you could change the gastronomic ambiance with an extra supplementary cost. Saffron,(an additional £19.95 per person) offered quality handcrafted South Asian fusion cuisine created by the Executive Chef and his team to include Hariyali Jhinga & Fish Amritsari, Royal Indian Maharaja Thali and a Carrot Halwa Trifle.

The Sea & Grass, (an additional £29.95 per person), included seven courses of handcrafted dishes by the chef, artistically presented, while the Chef’s Table, (an additional £89.00 per person) was a very exclusive gastronomic experience led by the Executive Chef who shared his inspiration and choice of ingredients behind each course with wine pairing).

Appreciatively and reassuringly, the chef invited guests to meet and discuss individual dietary needs during the cruise.

Health & Fitness

Classic massages, Ayurvedic and Asian therapies, healing and facial treatments constituted the wellness offerings at The Green Sea Spa.

Relaxation extends to the steam, sauna and heated beds in the thermal suite and the hair salon can prepare guests for gala evenings.  Ambience has a well-equipped gym for those who wish to keep fit as well as an active studio and circuit around the deck, for the added benefit of the fresh sea air. Then take a soak in the hot tubs or swimming pool.


Norway Cruise

Ambience has multiple lounges and bars including the Botanical Lounge


Sustainability is a growing factor  and necessity in cruise travel. Ambassador’s smaller, energy-efficient fleet are (IMO) Tier III compliant, putting them in the top 10-15 perecnt of sustainable ships worldwide.

Both ships, Ambience and Ambition, meet the highest industry emission standards, with energy-efficient engines. From her first sailing in April 2022, Ambience’s emissions have been reduced by 95 percent thanks to the installation of systems that convert harmful gases into inert nitrogen and water vapour.

On board, there are no single-use plastics. All food pulpers have been replaced by ‘Bio Digesters’ to break down organic waste into water and heat. Ambience has bottle washers to  as well as their own bottling plant for both still & sparkling water .

Read more about the sustainability commitment of Ambassador Cruise Line.

About The Ambassador Cruise Line

Ambassador Cruise Line provides adult-only experiences combined with a selection of multi-generational itineraries to destinations such as the Nordics, Greenland, Iceland, Canada, the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Africa. The cruise line’s first ship, Ambience, entered the fleet in May 2022, operating from her home port of London Tilbury. From the 2023/24 season, guests have sailed onboard Ambience as well as Ambassador’s second ship, Ambition, whose maiden voyage in May 2023 heralded the launch of sailings from seven regional UK ports: London Tilbury, Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol and Falmouth.


BeSeeingYou In:  Norway aboard Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience 

Good To Know: There are coaches from Victoria Coach Station directly to the ship in Tilbury organised by Ambassador Cruise Line (£26 pp each way)

WOW Factor: Norway’s mesmerizing fjords

Tip: Reserve your table for the specialty restaurants early. They are popular.


Author bio: Jane Wilson

Find more travel inspiration at BeSeeingYou


Photos courtesy of Ambassador Cruise Line except where noted


Jane Wilson

Jane is a travel journalist who specialises in wellness travel, an area which has moved beyond the spa and yoga mat and is firmly on-trend. Think slow travel, rituals, retreats, indigenous therapies and destination medi-spas for the ultimate make-over for mind, body & soul. Whatever the reason, Jane considers travel as an investment in health and wellbeing.

As a regular contributor to BeSeeingYou, you will always discover that healthy twist laced into her articles. Jane writes for a range of UK magazines as well her own online media The Wellness

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