Norwegian ports of Bergen, Flam and Stavanger after a visit to Rotterdam in the Netherlands on board Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience.

No-fly cruises offered by Ambassador Cruise Line appeal to the more mature traveller, groups and solo travellers. There’s plenty of single-occupancy cabins and onboard social events. They sail from eight 8 regional UK ports.

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

Centre Court onboard the Ambience

The Ambience offers several accommodation grades, varying in size (average is 17-18 sq. metres)  and deck locations. My comfortable veranda cabin offered ample hanging and drawer space with tea and coffee-making facilities, flat screen TV and a safe.

Ambassador Ambience bedroom
Ambassador Ambience bedroom

It was a very friendly ship, not fancy or big but homely with an approachable and unpretentious service. The staff is forever eager to please, and the service level is high – smiles all around!

The Entertainment

There’s plenty of entertainment from “knit and natter”, playing carpet bowls or taking classes in craft and dance providing a laid-back atmosphere was the atrium – Centre Court, to sit back and relax with new found friends.

The Palladium on board Ambassador Cruise Line's Ambience ship.
The Palladium on board Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience ship.

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 styles set the theme in the various bar lounges; a violinist, pianist-cum-singer and of course, the late-night dancefloor on the top Observation deck, decorated all black, white and blingy.

The Itinerary on board Ambience

Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience curated Itineraries offer a wide choice of cruise experiences. My choice was the 7-day cruise on its Ambience ship which accommodates up to 1400 passengers. Entitled, “A Taste of the Fjords”, the itinerary ports included the Norwegian ports of Bergen, Flam and Stavanger after a visit to Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

A Taste of the Fjords

Norway has over 1,700 named fjords dotted along the 57,000km-long Norwegian coast and is often referred to as “Fjordland”. Around 12,000 years ago, the ice retreated from Norway’s largest and deepest fjord, the Sognefjord. I was sailing through a branch of this natural wonder, along the majestic Aurlandsfjord. Bathed in the early morning light, calm and tranquil, the Ambassador Cruise Line’s Ambience led us on a cinematic journey through dramatic, untamed scenery and a labyrinth of valleys while we watched in awe.


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. At the quayside, I took a peek behind the wooden facades of the crooked wooden houses. It was like travelling back in time to an authentic medieval atmosphere where you could imagine barrels and trollies loaded with stock fish being rolled down the alleyways with the smell of tar and the 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 European grain. 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, and quaint shops sold 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.


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 the steep climb between Flâm to the mountain station at Myrdal enveloped in a spectacular landscape. It took about one hour to cover the 20-km long track through tunnels, many of which were excavated by hand.

Along the way, I saw rivers cut through deep ravines, and waterfalls cascading down while farms clung to sheer slopes. I spotted hikers and cyclists, glampers and grazing goats, and the old town centre with its central church dating back to 1667. The mighty Kjosfossen waterfall with a vertical drop of 140m not only provides the energy to the power station that produces the electricity for the railway but it was where the train stopped briefly to experience the mountain spirit under its spray while witnessing the ancient lure from the woman in red chanting on the rocks above.


This is Norway’s energy capital, surrounded by mountains and fjords with some museums worth visiting such as the Stavanger City Museum and the Norwegian Petroleum Museum which details its oil history and submersibles. The cathedral dates back to the 12th century.

For shopping, I walked to Øvre Holmegate, known for its colourful houses. 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.

The Food

British throughout, the nod to British culture floated between the decks Borough Market, the buffet restaurant, served dishes with an international flavour as well as a taste of home – 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 wooden-panelled Brontë’s library.

Specialty Restaurants

Setting the mood, you could change the gastronomic experience with a supplementary cost. Saffron offered quality handcrafted South Asian fusion cuisine created by the Executive Chef and his team including Hariyali Jhinga & Fish Amritsari, Royal Indian Maharaja Thali and a Carrot Halwa Trifle,(additional £19.95). The Sea & Grass included 7 courses of handcrafted dishes by the chef, artistically presented,(additional £29.95), while the Chef’s Table 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 (additional 89.00pp). Appreciatively and reassuringly, the chef invited guests to meet to discuss individual dietary needs during the cruise.

Onboard Health & Fitness

Ayurvedic and Asian therapies, classic massages, healing and facial treatments featured on the menu at The Green Sea Spa. Relaxation which extended to the steam, sauna and heated beds in the thermal suite. The hair salon in readiness for the gala evenings. An active studio,  well-equipped gym and a circuit route around the deck added the fitness element with the benefit of the fresh sea air while soaking in the hot tubs and swimming pool.


Sustainability is a growing factor in cruise travel. Ambassador’s smaller, energy-efficient fleet are (IMO) Tier III compliant, putting them in the top 10%-15% of sustainable ships worldwide. As both ships (The Ambiance and The Ambition) meet the highest industry emission standards, they can access some of the world’s best-kept secrets in the most environmentally friendly (and affordable) way possible – such as the Norwegian Fjords.

How much: 

My scenic adventure to Norway started stress-free with the convenience of travel by coach from Victoria in Central London with arranged transfers by the cruise line (£26pp) to London Tilbury, without queues or luggage restrictions and returning with a lasting taste of the Fjords.

SALE: All sailings feature a Buy One Get One Half Price, meaning the first guest starts at £1,316 and second guest £658.  This sale is on until 10 July 2024.

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