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11 January 2023


Ambassador Cruise Line is delighted to today announce that British sailor and double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson OBE is set to add another title to her considerable list of honours: Godmother of Ambition, the second ship to sail in the brand colours of the premium-value, no-fly cruise line’s fleet.

A longstanding tradition, the role of the Godmother is to bring good luck and protection to a ship, and in her new role, Shirley will name Ambition ­at an official ceremony in Newcastle on 11 May 2023.  She will then join the new ship’s first cruise, which departs Newcastle on 12 May, for one night before disembarking in her home town of Dundee as Ambition continues on her inaugural 14-night Hidden Gems of France and Spain sailing.

Shirley Robertson is one of the most recognisable faces from the sport of sailing.  She was appointed MBE in 2000 and OBE in 2005, making history when becoming the first British woman to win Gold Medals at two consecutive Olympic Games (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004). Named World Sailor of the Year by the International Sailing Federation in 2000, she has been a trailblazer for women in sailing for many years, having also steered massive superyachts around the race track to being the first ever female skipper in the groundbreaking ‘Extreme 40 Sailing Series’. Shirley features in Scotland’s prestigious Sports Hall of Fame and holds a role as Deputy Lieutenant for the place she now calls home: the Isle of Wight.

Today, Shirley Robertson is considered one of the sport’s most successful broadcasters. An accomplished presenter across multiple channels, she has previously fronted CNN’s dedicated sailing programme, Mainsail, as well as presented the BBC’s Olympic sailing coverage.  She is an engaging public speaker and a regular contributor to discussions across a variety of topics within sailing. While her exploits beyond the Olympic arena are considerable, Shirley has recently taken up double-handed offshore sailing, and last year took on the marathon of the Round Britain and Ireland race, saying she ‘still feels most at home when at sea’ and has developed a new-found appreciation for the British coastline.

Shirley will be Godmother to Ambition, the second ship to join the Ambassador fleet following Ambience, which sailed for the first time in April 2022. Ambition is aptly named to emphasise the brand’s commitment to inspire and delight every guest to enjoy an authentic cruise experience effortlessly and sustainably.  Like her sister ship, Ambition will be upgraded to operate at IMO Tier III from her inaugural voyage, placing her amongst the top 10%-15% of cruise ships to achieve this level of environmental operation.

Ambition will carry up to 1,200 passengers in 714 cabins, 125 of which have balconies and 113 are suites with up to 62m2 of living space.   Dining options will include two main restaurants, speciality dining options, and a more casual bistro style café, plus four bars, lounges and a wine bar. Entertainment offerings include the main theatre, a card room, library and craft studio. Additional guest facilities will include the wellness centre, gym, two swimming pools and a range of retail shops, perfect for days at sea. Following her maiden voyage from Newcastle, Ambition will sail from an additional six regional UK ports in her inaugural year including London Tilbury, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol, and Falmouth. 

Christian Verhounig, CEO at Ambassador Cruise Line, said: “As one of the most recognisable faces in sailing, there seemed no better fit for Ambition’s Godmother than Shirley Robertson. As a trailblazer for women in the sport, not only is she passionate about all things nautical, but Shirley’s story is an inspiration to us all. What’s more, with the launch of our second ship we are also announcing cruise departures from seven regional UK ports, including Shirley's hometown of Dundee."

Shirley Robertson OBE said: “I was drawn to Ambassador from the very first contact - I love their passion for quality service and their drive to look for sustainable options at every turn. I’m also a big fan of holidays that don’t involve the stress of airports and love the beauty and variety our very own coastline offers. Being at sea, and the excitement of arriving somewhere by sea, is very special. I’m very much looking forward to being a regular on Ambition and partnering with the dynamic team at Ambassador – I can’t wait.”

To find out more about Ambassador, visit


For further press information, please contact:

Sam Davis / Sarah Geppert / Charlotte Wright / Emma Arthurs 

Rooster PR

T: +44 (0)20 3440 8924

E: [email protected]


Note to Editors:

About Shirley Robertson

After a successful career flying the flag for British sailing, with two Olympic gold medals to her name, Shirley Robertson OBE is now considered one of the sport’s most successful broadcasters, having presented over one hundred and fifty Editions of CNN’s flagship monthly sports programme ‘CNN Mainsail’. An accomplished presenter across multiple channels, she is an engaging public speaker, and a regular contributor to discussion across a variety of topics within sailing.  Shirley’s career spanned the advent of success for the modern British Olympic movement, and is an inspirational story that starts in the land locked hills of Clackmannanshire, Scotland. Born in Dundee, Shirley’s early steps to Olympic success began as a seven year old, sailing the modest Mirror Miracle, a dinghy that her father had painstakingly built her in the garage of their home in Clackmannanshire, Scotland.

That would come as early as 1992, Barcelona seeing her compete as the youngest member of the British Sailing Team. By the late 1990s Shirley had claimed a string of World Championship silver medals, and had added a further Olympic appearance to her CV – competing at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. It was a career changing fourth place finish in Atlanta that would go on to the fuel the tenacity and drive that was to become her on-water trademark. By Sydney 2000, she was favourite for the win, and on the famous waters of Sydney Harbour claimed an emphatic victory at the Millennium Olympic Games.

Shirley now has a monthly sailing podcast, where she sits down and has in depth and personal interviews with some of the leading characters from sailing's diverse competitive arena.

About Ambassador Cruise Line  

Ambassador Cruise Line launched in 2021, offering premium-value no-fly cruises to the UK market. Based in Purfleet, Essex, Ambassador provides authentic adult-only experiences combined with a selection of multi-generational itineraries to multiple destinations including 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 will sail onboard Ambience as well as Ambassador’s second ship, Ambition, which joins the fleet in May 2023 and heralds the launch of sailing from seven regional UK ports: London Tilbury, Newcastle, Dundee, Liverpool, Belfast, Bristol, and Falmouth. 

Ambassador’s extremely experienced management team is led by Chief Executive Officer, Christian Verhounig, and its principal shareholder is Njord Partners LLP, London. Ambassador is a member of ABTA, the UK’s leading travel trade association widely acknowledged as the mark of trust and reassurance associated with travel brands. Consumer funds are protected by means of a financial failure insurance policy managed by TMU Management Limited and underwritten by Accelerant Insurance Europe SA, who are regulated by the Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA 3193). The scheme is fully compliant with the Package Travel and Linked Arrangements Regulations 2018. For more information, visit