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MV Ambition – Past and Present

IMO Number: 9172777

MV Ambition

ex AIDAmira, Costa neo Riviera, Grand Mistral, Mistral

Artists Impression (Ambassador Cruise Line)

Steel twin screw “Mistral Classmotor 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 🇮🇹, Nassau/Bahamas 🇧🇸

Current AIS Location

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


1996: Ordered by Renaissance Cruises but the order was withdrawn.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

© 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

© 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

© 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

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

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

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Dover)

December 16th 2008: Management Costa Crociere SpA.

© Marcel and Ruud Coster  © Marcel and Ruud Coster

© Marcel and Ruud Coster

© 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

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

November 2013: Renamed COSTA neo RIVIERA

January 2014: Cruising from Dubai.

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

© Will Weijsters  © Will Weijsters

© Will Weijsters (Split, 15/06/2016)

© Carsten Dettmer

© 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

© Ken Malcolm (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

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

© Mike Peel

© 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.

Bar Port, Montenegro

August 13th 2022: It was announced that the vessel would be chartered to the Scottish government to house refugees fleeing from the war in the Ukraine.

We have agreed a joint arrangement with the Scottish Government that means we can help the Scottish resettlement program for the Ukraine population, many of whom are fleeing the country. We are proud to be supporting such an important humanitarian cause.

To support the Scottish government, we can confirm that we are now mobilising Ambition to be in Glasgow for the beginning of September.

We are still finalising the details with the various parties concerned, but we will be communicating with guests in due course to explain this agreement and we hope you are able to understand our wishes to help with this cause.

Source: Ambassador Cruises (LinkedIn)

Ambassador Ambition is the second cruise ship to house Ukrainian refugees in Scotland

A 2nd cruise ship berthed on the Clyde is to be used to house Ukrainian refugees arriving in Scotland from September. The Scottish Government will charter a second vessel in Greenock-Glasgow (Clydeport) after being forced to halt the super sponsor scheme for 3 months amid a surge in visa applications and accommodation shortages.

The Ambassador Cruise Line’s ship AMBITION will accommodate up to 1,750 people seeking asylum in the country. The vessel is expected to be fully operational by next month. AMBITION will offer the same facilities as the first ship, Tallink VICTORIA I, which is docked in Leith-Edinburgh (Newhaven-Rosyth-Queensferry) and has 739 staterooms to house between 1,600-1,700 refugees.

Welfare groups called for refugees to be rehoused ASAP.

Source: CruiseMapper


August 13th 2022: Left Bar showing destination as Valletta.

August 15th 2022: Arrived/departed Bunker Area 3, Malta and now showing destination as Dunkerque.

August 23rd 2022: Arrived Dunkerque East.

© Olivier Malengrez  © Olivier Malengrez

© Olivier Malengrez

Damen Dunkerque, 24/08/2022 © Olivier Malengrez (DKC-Dunkerque au Cœur)

© Christophe De Lange

© Christophe De Lange (Damen Dunkerque, 24/08/2022)

August 27th 2022: Left Dunkerque showing destination as Kristiansand, Norway (eta: 29/08/2022)

August 30th 2022: Now showing destination as Glasgow.

September 1st 2022: Arrived at Glasgow/Greenock.

© Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)  © Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)

© Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)  © Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)

© Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)  © Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)

 © Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene)

January 13th 2023: Ambassador Cruise Line announced the following programme:

April 1st 2023: Vessel will depart Glasgow for Lloyd Werft in Bremerhaven for her environmental upgrades making her IMO Tier III compliant, her new livery, Ambassador branding, venue improvements and furnishing upgrades.

May 11th 2023: Newcastle (UK) the vessel will be christened by her Godmother, Shirley Robertson OBE.

May 12th 2023: Departing Newcastle, her inaugural “Hidden Gems of France and Spain” cruise.

Ambassador Cruise Line, Facebook

March 31st 2023: Left Greenock.

April 4th 2023: Arrived Bremerhaven.

© Christian Eckardt © Christian Eckardt © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt (Bremerhaven, 04/04/2023)

May 7th 2023: Left Bremerhaven for Kristiansand.

© Christian Eckardt © Christian Eckardt

© Christian Eckardt (Bremerhaven, 07/05/2023)

May 10th 2023: Arrived Tyne.

May 11th 2023: Christened by her Godmother, Shirley Robertson OBE.

May 12th 2023 (18.00 hrs): Anticipated departure on her maiden cruise “The Hidden Gems of France & Spain”.

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: Christopher Brindle (Cruise and Ferry Scene), Rogério Cordeiro, Marcel and Ruud Coster, Carsten Dettmer, © Christian Eckardt, Brian Fisher, Christophe De Lange, Ken Larwood, Ken Malcolm, Olivier Malengrez (DKC-Dunkerque au Cœur), Alex Marrero, Mike Peel and Wil Weijsters for their assistance in producing this feature.

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

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