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MV Ambition – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9172777

MV Ambition

ex AIDAmira, Costa neoRiviera, Grand Mistral, Mistral

Ambition – Artists Impression (Ambassador Cruise Line)

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1999 by STX (Chantiers de l’Atlantique) STX France SA (former STX France Cruise SA ; former Aker Yards) Nantes – Saint Nazaire, France (Yard No J-31) as a Passenger (Cruise) vessel for Festival Cruises

Technical Data

  • Original Cost:– $245 million
  • Length: 216 m (overall) 187 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 28.80 m
  • Depth: 37.95 m
  • Draught: 6.85 m (Summer)
  • Tonnage: 48200 gross/2516 net/4923t deadweight
  • Engines: 4 x Wärtsilä – 4 stroke 12 cylinder diesel engines
  • Power: 31680 kW/HP
  • Speed:  21.6 knots (Service)
  • Passenger Decks: 8
  • Capacity: Lower beds: 1.196/All berths: 1.670 (Max)
  • Crew: 480/553
  • Call Sign: V7GD3, ICGX, CQNK, IBDU, C6FL6
  • MMSI Number: 311001141
  • IMO Number: 9172777
  • Port of Registry: Mata-Utu/Wallis and Futuna, France (overseas territory) 🇫🇷, Majuro/Marshall Islands 🇲🇭, Genoa/Italy 🇮🇹, Madeira/Portugal 🇵🇹, Genoa/Italy 🇮🇹

Location Data

Please note that this vessels AIS transponder and position data may be over an hour old and that this specific vessels position will only be displayed when it is within range of the MarineTraffic AIS system. The AIS transponder/ship position data featured on this page is intended for information purposes only and it is no way related to the safety of navigation at sea. All the AIS ship position data featured within this page is provided by and we are therefore not responsible for the content or the accuracy of this data


1996: Ordered by Renaissance Cruises but the order was withdrawn. The yard and bankers together held ownership of the ship through a company called Auxiliaire Maritime. The order was then taken over by Festival Cruises who chartered the ship for the first 12 years, with the option to purchase the ship after the first six years.

January 2nd 1999: Floated out.

June 23rd 1999: Completed.

June 25th 1999: Delivered to Festival Cruises, Mata-Utu, France.

© Benoit Donne

Mistral – © Benoit Donne

July 17th 1999: Maiden cruise from Genoa and then cruising in the European Market (operating 7-night Mediterranean cruise from Italy during the summer and autumn, and 7-night Caribbean cruises during the winter.).

February 20th 2001: Ran aground just off the Caribbean island of St. Kitts & Nevis. No passengers were injured. The ship was now reported to be stuck on a sandbank 900 feet offshore. The passengers spent the night on the ship, and authorities hoped rescue crews could free the vessel from the sand bank. Divers were investigated the damage but said they could not make a proper assessment until the ship was towed clear of the obstruction. 

© Brian Fisher

Mistral – © Brian Fisher (Corfu, 2001)

February 21st 2001: Re-floated. Two locally-based tugs stationed in St. Eustace island, succeeded in pulling the vessel off the sandbank at 4 a.m. and she continued her cruise with the next port of call being Antigua.

August 8th  2001: Suffered a propulsion malfunction that necessitated repairs and cut short her 4 cruise from Marseilles.  The ship was subsequently repaired and resumed her regularly scheduled service on August 11.

© Nigel Thornton  © Nigel Thornton

© Nigel Thornton

Mistral – © Nigel Thornton (Dover, 23/09/2003)

January 2004: Festival Cruises won approval of the Marseille court to have the vessel arrested as security against damages the line said it incurred when creditors immobilized the vessel in the port.

September 1st 2004: Sold to Auro Shipping, SA, Majuro, Marshall Island.

May 31st 2005: Sold to Mistral Shipping, Majuro, Marshall Island. Refitted and renamed GRAND MISTRAL.

© Rogério Cordeiro  © Rogério Cordeiro

© Rogério Cordeiro

Grand Mistral – © Rogério Cordeiro (São Paulo, Brasil 04/12/2005)

September 2007: Sold to Societa Di Crociere Jupiter, SpA, Italy for Ibero Crucero.

© Ken Larwood

Grand Mistral – © Ken Larwood (Dover)

December 16th 2008: Management Costa Crociere SpA.

© Marcel and Ruud Coster  © Marcel and Ruud Coster

© Marcel and Ruud Coster

Grand Mistral – © Marcel and Ruud Coster (IJmuiden, 30/08/2010)

June 2011: Registered Owner Grand Celebration, Madeira, Portugal (Care of Costa Crociere SpA).

© Marcel and Ruud Coster  © Marcel and Ruud Coster

Grand Mistral – © Marcel and Ruud Coster (IJmuiden, 04/09/2012)

November 2013: Renamed COSTA neoRIVIERA

January 2014: Cruising from Dubai.

July 2015: Registered Owner Costa Crociere Spa, Genoa, Italy.

© Will Weijsters  © Will Weijsters

Costa neoRiviera – © Will Weijsters (Split, 15/06/2016)

© Carsten Dettmer

Costa neoRiviera – © Carsten Dettmer (Heraklion, 03/07/2016)

October 29th 2019: Completed its last Costa Mediterranean cruise in Savona.

October 30th 2019: Sailed to Genoa, San Giorgio del Porto shipyard for a month-long, $55 million drydock to refurbish the vessel and convert her for AIDA service.

November 29th 2019: Arrived in Palma de Mallorca.

November 30th 2019: TV host Franziska Knuppe christened the ship in Palma de Mallorca.

December 2019: Transferred to AIDA Cruises and renamed AIDAmira.

December 2nd 2019: Her inaugural cruise from Palma de Mallorca to Sete and Barcelona was scheduled to leave but was cancelled last-minute due to continued renovations.

December 4th 2019: Left for her maiden season in South Africa.

© Ken Malcom

AIDAmira – © Ken Malcom (Durban, 09/01/2020)

March 16th 2020: In Cape Town suffered a COVID-19 scare and 1,700 passengers were confined on the vessel pending results of tests.

March 19th 2020: All tests having been returned “negative” and passengers allowed to disembark.

April 6th 2020: Left Cape Town.

April 25th 2020: Arrived in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

May 2020: Scheduled to return to the Mediterranean cruising although the COVID-19 pandemic caused AIDA to suspend its operations through the summer. 

© Alex Marrero

AIDAmira – © Alex Marrero (Anchored in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 14/07/2020)

© Mike Peel

AIDAmira – © Mike Peel (Playa de Las Teresitas, Tenerife, 2021)

November 2021: Remains, at anchor, off Tenerife.

December 2021: Application made to change her Port of Registry. “AIDA Cruises has already confirmed that there have been inquiries about the acquisition of the ship. However, no agreement has yet been reached with a potential buyer.”

January 15th 2022: Arrived in Pula Port, Croatia.

January 27th 2022: Ambassador Cruise Line announced the purchase of its second ship, to be named Ambition, entering service in 2023.

Purfleet, 27th January 2022


Signalling its confidence in the British tourism and cruise market, Ambassador Cruise Line has announced the purchase of its second ship, to be named Ambition, entering service in 2023.

Ambition, like her sister ship Ambience will offer no-fly sailings predominantly targeting the 50-plus market with a premium-value, authentic cruise experience. In addition to London Tilbury, she will also offer a summer 2023 programme of regional departures from ports such as Newcastle, Dundee, Belfast, Liverpool, Bristol and Falmouth, enabling guests across the UK to have a shorter distance to travel before experiencing Ambassador’s onboard service. The full programme is being finalised and will be on sale from Q2 2022.

Ambition will carry up to 1,200 guests in considerable comfort and space in her 714 cabins, 125 of which have balconies and 113 are suites with up to 62m² of living space. She has two main restaurants and speciality dining options, a more casual bistro style café, four bars and lounges and a pub. These will be complemented by a tiered main theatre, casino, card room, library, and craft studio. Guests will also be able to enjoy the wellness centre, gymnasium, two swimming pools and a range of retail shops, all designed to create a friendly atmosphere on board and cement Ambassador’s reputation for creating a “community at sea”, whilst giving all guests room to breathe.

The ship has been purchased outright from Costa Crociere which operated her under their AIDA brand, as AIDAMira, mainly targeting the German market. Prior to entering service with Ambassador Cruise Line, she will undergo similar extensive upgrades as her new sister ship, Ambience, including the installation of the latest emission reduction technologies to secure IMO Tier III compliance. This will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by approximately 95% compared to current standards. Along with installing updated ballast and sewage water treatment systems, both ships in the Ambassador Cruise Line fleet will be among circa 10% of the current world cruise fleet authorised to sail in strictly environmentally protected seas. These investments are a key part of the Ambassador Cruise Line strategy of operating with a high level of environmental responsibility as well as meeting the increased demands of guests who want to enjoy all the benefits of travel whilst making the lowest possible impact on the destinations they travel to.

CEO, Christian Verhounig said: “We are delighted with the warm reception given to the introduction of Ambassador to the market – a new brand, proposition and our first ship. This announcement of the addition of Ambition to the fleet reflects our confidence and willingness to invest in the future of Ambassador and the cruise sector. We are particularly excited to be offering regional departure options for Ambition in 2023, whilst also offering guests who travel from London Tilbury a greater choice of sailings and ships on which to enjoy them. Clearly, we are all focused on the success of Ambience’s maiden season which commences in April this year, but we believe existing and new guests, as well as our trade partners, will be thrilled to hear about Ambassador’s growth plans”.

The full programme of itineraries and enticing offers from Ambassador Cruise Line will be detailed in a bumper 2023-24 season brochure.

In the meantime, we encourage guests and trade partners to sign up to our newsletter through our website ( for more news and information about the company, Ambience, Ambition, itineraries, and fares.

  • Ambition’s maiden voyage itineraries will be unveiled during Q2 2022 
  • Gross tonnage: 48,123
  • Guest capacity: 1,200
  • Cabins: 714 cabins: (including 125 balcony cabins, 113 suites/mini suites, 473 (66%) balcony view)
  • Space ratio: 40 (gross tonnage divided by number of guests, a metric for space on Ambition per guest)
  • Crew: 500
  • Guest/crew ratio: 2.40
  • Classification Society: Rina, Italy
  • Previous names: Mistral, Grand Mistral, Costa neoRiviera, AIDAmira
  • Built in 1999

Source:Ambassador Cruise Line

April 1st 2022: Left Pula Port.

April 2nd 2022: Arrived Bar Port, Montenegro for planned drydocking to include upgrades to ship’s hotel side. Also addition to technical improvements plus the installation of the latest emission reduction technologies, in order to meet IMO Tier III compliance.

Ambition – (Bar Port, Montenegro)

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Rogério Cordeiro, Marcel and Ruud Coster, Carsten Dettmer, Brian Fisher, Ken Larwood, Ken Malcolm, Alex Marrero, Mike Peel and Wil Weijsters for their assistance in producing this feature.

Special thanks go to Ambassador Cruise Line.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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