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Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson named godmother to Ambition

Phil Gardner, Shirley Robertson and Gordon Nardini at The Ministry in London on Jan. 11 where the annoucement was made
Shirley Ann Robertson OBE, who made history by becoming the first British woman to win a gold medal at two consecutive Olympic games, will be the godmother of Ambassador Cruise Line’s second ship Ambition.

‘As one of the most recognisable faces in sailing, there seemed no better fit for Ambition’s godmother than Shirley Robertson,’ stated Christian Verhounig, CEO, Ambassador Cruise Line.

‘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.’

Recipient of numerous accolades

The revelation was made this evening at venue The Ministry in London by Ambassador CCO Phil Gardner, who professed to being ‘delighted’ with the appointment and described the Scottish-born sportswoman who won gold at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic games as ‘one hell of a sailor.’

Listing her numerous accolades, he said, ‘Ambition’s godmother is the first British woman to win gold medals at two consecutive Olympic games, and she was the first ever female skipper in the groundbreaking Extreme 40 sailing series.

‘She recently took on the marathon of the [Sevenstar] Round Britain & Ireland Race…and she has developed a newfound appreciation for the British coastline, which obviously paves wonderfully into our ex-UK no fly cruises.

‘She's considered one of sport's most successful broadcasters; she fronted CNN's dedicated sailing programme MainSail, as well as presented the BBC Olympics sailing coverage.’

‘A great British product’

‘It didn’t take me long to realise this was different,’ explained Robertson who confessed to having ‘a few reservations’ when first approached by the cruise line’s CMO Gordon Nardini about becoming Ambition’s godmother. ‘I've watched them [cruise ships] over the last 20 years get bigger and bigger,’ said Robertson, who lives on the Isle of Wight. But, with Ambition, ‘there were no dramatic light shows and climbing walls or water flumes. This is about quality service, a great British product, exploring what we have to offer in our own waters.'

Robertson, a self-professed ‘fan of holidays that don’t involve the stress of airports,’ went on to praise Ambassador’s ‘drive to look for sustainable options at every turn,’ before asserting, ‘I’m very much looking forward to being a regular on Ambition and partnering with the dynamic team at Ambassador – I can’t wait.’


The 41,123gt Ambition, the second ship in the Ambassador fleet after Ambience, was built in 1999 and underwent refits in 2017 and 2022.

It has capacity for 1200 passengers in total and comprises 474 Ocean View cabins, 240 Inside cabins, 113 Suites and 12 Balcony cabins.

Bookings opened in May, with the vessel set to offer passengers the opportunity to embark from various locations around the UK, including Belfast, Bristol, Dundee, Falmouth, Liverpool and Newcastle.

The line hinted at there being multigenerational sailings to come.

Outlook for Ambassador

Commenting on the strength of the cruise line, which launched in June 2021, Gardner said there was a ‘fantastic level of loyalty in the business,’ noting, ‘we're in a fantastic place in terms of our organisation’s structure.’

The line's first ship, Ambience, set sail for the Caribbean last week after undergoing repair work in Bremerhaven.