I have just disembarked what could well be the shortest and craziest cruise in history on a ship that was planned to be scrapped in 2020. She was saved from the scrapyard by a new British cruise line and I booked a 3 evening mini break onboard the ship.
Our cruise was cancelled 4 hours after we boarded and in total we were onboard this ship for about 8 hours, and during that time we had more difficulties than we would usually on a full two week cruise. The way that everything was handled was so bizarre I honestly think I’m still in shock.
We boarded the ship in London Tilbury and were planning on heading to Bruges to the Christmas markets. Embarkation was pretty easy and despite the bad weather we were really excited to get onboard.
I picked up my cruise card which is the thing you use to get into your room, to buy drinks, pretty much everything onboard it’s very important. But my friends Justin and Tristan were told that they’d have to get theirs onboard as they weren’t ready yet, no big deal we thought, that isn’t uncommon on a cruise for things to be a bit delayed. The problem was much bigger than that but at this point we didn’t realise how widespread the problem was.
As soon as we embarked the ship we were in the middle of this beautiful Atrum, the ship was decorated for Christmas and looked amazing. Despite the ship being from 1991 everything here looked very new and I hoped that the rest of the ship would be as nice as this area. I didn’t have particularly high expectations after reading review after review online about broken toilets, broken air conditioning but this area definitely surpassed what I had expected.
One of my favourite things about cruising is that feeling when you first get onboard a cruise ship and you run around exploring as fast as you can. Looking back I’m so glad that I did because I wouldn’t have a chance to later. We found a big pub area called The Purple Turtle which I’ve since found out used to be a casino. In the UK we don’t gamble as much as other places so if a British cruise line buys an American or Australian ship, they normally replace the big casino with one thats much smaller.
The ship was originally launched in 1991 for Princess cruises as Regal Princess and spent most of her life as Pacific Dawn for P&O Australia. As I was wandering around the main public areas I thought wow Ambassador have done a great job renovating these spaces, I’ve since had a look at P&O Dawn ship reviews and I think I should be giving a lot of the credit to P&O instead of Ambassador because most of the inside spaces haven’t changed, even the picture frames are the same in the big lounges. Not that that’s a bad thing, they didn’t need to be changed, P&O did a great job with these areas when they refit the ship back in 2017.
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