Christmas travel misery continued for passengers on board the cruise ship Ambience with the cancellation of two Christmas cruises on the Ambassador Cruise Line’s ship because of maintenance issues.

While the ship was being prepared to sail on 18 December, from Tilbury on a three-night Christmas Markets cruise, a problem was discovered with some lifeboat falls by a surveyor, as part of the on-going inspection procedure for the renewal of the passenger certificate.

It would appear that there was some unexpected movement in the sheafs that guide the cables used to raise and lower the boats, and this was then traced to hairline cracks in the brackets holding sheafs for a number of boats.

In a very transparent statement, the company’s CEO explained that it was not a matter sufficiently serious to cause the detention of the ship, but that the situation would worsen and the decision had been taken to cancel the cruise, for which passengers had already embarked, and the subsequent cruise, as repairs could not be completed alongside in Tilbury due to the boats and the cables needing to be removed in order to effect repairs.

That could only practically be done in a shipyard with crane access.

Passengers were advised during dinner and disembarked on the following morning. Later that day Ambience sailed to Bremerhaven, where the work was completed in the Lloyd Werft yard. The ship was expected to return to service from Tilbury on 5 January, when she was due to begin a 42-night cruise to the Caribbean. Report by William Mayes

The 245m cruise ship was launched in 1991 and is pictured at her home port London International Cruise Terminal, Tilbury, Essex. Photo supplied by Fraser Gray.

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