Swan Hellenic

Swan Hellenic is a British company that operates a single ship, MS Minerva, that sails interesting itineraries around the world. The company describes it's unique proposition as:

Travel in style to unique and exotic destinations

No matter which corner of the globe you choose to discover, after exploring ashore, you will always appreciate Minerva’s stately comforts: a relaxed lounge with entertainment, well-stocked library, restaurants, gym, Wheeler bar and Shackleton's bar. An elegant environment in which polished wood and gleaming brass are complemented by works of art and fresh flowers. With over 50 years experience in discovery cruising, Swan Hellenic knows all the ingredients for the perfect cruise. From the on board environment to inspiring itineraries, and from our knowledgeable reservations team to our European ship's officers and attentive crew, we are committed to providing you with the ultimate discovery cruise experience.

Travel in distinguished company

You will travel with like-minded people and as you share the experiences of your voyage, you may find acquaintances turn into lasting friendships. Your cruise will be further enriched by the presence of distinguished speakers drawn from the academic, diplomatic and media worlds. Their presentations and the more informal conversations you can enjoy in the Darwin Lounge will really bring our destinations to life.

The Ship - the Minerva was launched in 1996 and just completed a multimillion dollar refurbishment in 2012. She holds 350 passengers. The standard cabins are 140 sq ft (both inside and ocean view). Ocean view cabins either have portholes or windows. There are 44 balcony cabins that are much larger (312 to 369 sq ft). She has a single dining room and all meals are open seating.

Life on Board - one of the tag lines associated with Swan Hellenic is British Country Elegance which accurately sums up the atmosphere and ambiance of the on board experience. Important issues include:

  • On board lectures - Swan Hellenic has an extensive list of lecturers on each sailing. They include historians, art critics, politicians and military experts. Their topics are often directly related to cruise experiences but sometimes may just be of general interest.
  • Dress code - while perfectly comfortable in elegant British country surroundings, the dress code might be uncomfortable for the average American. There are 2 or 3 formal evenings per cruise - they suggest black tie for men and evening dresses for ladies but a sport coat with a tie is also acceptable for the men. The basic rule is that gentleman are to wear a coat and tie for evening meals.
  • Inclusions - all cruise prices include gratuities, on-board lectures, and a selection of shore excursions as well as all taxes, fees, and port charges.

Itineraries - Swan Hellenic cruises are generally longer - from 14 to 22 nights. The ports visited are often the smaller ports not frequented but the larger ships. Emphasis is on Northern Europe and the Mediterranean. In the winter months they leave the Mediterranean to visit India and Southeast Asia.

Prices - standard ocean view cabins are around $350 per person per night. The spacious balcony cabins are pretty much double that.

Sample Itineraries - here are a couple from many around the world examples: