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Frequently Asked Questions

Here is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions received from our passengers in advance of their cruise. If the question or answer you need is not here, please refer to our Pre Cruise Booklet or view our General Information section. Alternatively you may wish to email us on administration@swanhellenic.com  or call our pre-cruise Administration team on 0844 822 0800, with your booking reference number to hand.

mv Minerva - Booking
 
How do I make a booking?
Please call our Reservation Team on the number displayed above. Our Cruise Consultants will be happy to discuss availability and prices. If you have a promotion code please advise the Cruise Consultant at the time of booking. Please note that promotions cannot be added retrospectively. You will be asked to confirm that you understand and accept the Terms and Conditons of the booking. Payment (either a deposit or full monies if applicable) will be taken over the telephone at this time.
Alternatively, you may wish to email: reservations@swanhellenic.com
What arrangements can I make for insurance?
Details of Insurance premiums and policy offered through Swan Hellenic can be found in our brochure and on our website (How to Make a Booking). If you are interested in our Inusrance please contact us to discuss this further and to make a payment.

If you are intending to make alternative arrangements please advise this information on the Required Passenger Information Form which will be sent to you once you have booked your cruise. Should you, in the unlikely event, have to contact your Insurer during your holiday it is important that we have the correct information.
I have made a booking, but not received any further information?
Once a booking has been made your booking details will then be confirmed in our system and a Confirmation Invoice together with a Required Passenger Information form will be sent to you to confirm your booking. Please note that you must check the details on the invoice and form and notify us within 14 days to correct any errors. If you do not receive this information please contact our Administration Team.

If you have booked through a travel agent all correspondence will go to them first, if you have not received any of the information please check with your agent.
When do I pay the balance of my invoice?
Your final balance is due 16 weeks prior to departure. A final invoice will be sent to you before this time. Your final balance can be paid by cheque or by contacting the Administration Department giving your Credit / Debit card details (please note that there is 3% charge for credit card payments).

If you have booked through a travel agent all correspondence will go to them first, if you have not received any of the information please check with your agent.
I have paid the full amount for my cruise what happens next?
Pre cruise information will be sent out around 8 weeks prior to departure. This includes your Cruise Book detailing the Shore Excursions, an Exursion form and provisional flight information (if applicable). Any other information applicable to your cruise will also be advised at this time (i.e Art Workshops)

If you have booked through a travel agent all correspondence will go to them first, if you have not received any of the information please check with your agent.
When do I receive my final documentation / tickets?
Final documentation, confirmed flight information, contact details and luggage labels are all sent out 2 weeks prior to departure.

If you have booked through a travel agent all correspondence will go to them first, if you have not received any of the information please check with your agent.
What if my passport expires within 6 months of the return date of the cruise?
As per our Terms and Conditions we require all passengers to have 6 months validity from the return of their cruise.

If you are currently renewing you passport please indicate this on your Required Passenger Information form, and then notify us as soon as you have your new passport by calling us on the number above with your booking reference to hand. If your passport has a few months of validity remaining when you renew your passport these months will be added to the validity of your new passport.

The following link may be of assistance: www.direct.gov.uk.

General Questions
 
How do I know what Health requirements apply to my cruise?
As health regulations are ever changing, we recommend that you consult your GP or contact MASTA (Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Aboad) www.masta-travel-health.com at least 12 weeks before your intended departure to check the latest requirements for the countries you will be visiting. At the time of confirmation of your booking we will advise you of any mandatory vaccination requirements.
Is there a contact telephone number and fax number for the ship?
The satellite telephone number for Minerva is (00 47) 2367 5678
The Fax number is (00 870) 762 309 138.
Incoming calls will be received by Reception and transferred to your cabin.
Please note that the ship's time may differ from the UK time. Please be aware that the satelite link can be affected by weather and / or geographical location.
What Foreign Exchange facilities are available on board?
Limited amounts of Euros, £ Sterling and US$ dollars are available for purchase and exchange at Reception. These currencies are accepted widely in many of the ports of call that we visit.
Foreign currency can only be purchased with CASH - Credit / Debit cards will not be accepted to purchase foreign currency.
We recommend that you purchase any required foreign currency prior to your cruise.
For a list of currencies please follow the link:
www.worldatlas.com or alternatively please refer to the Cruise Book sent approximately 8 weeks prior to departure.
Are Internet and Wireless facilities available?
We are unable to give out the ship's email address as this is used for communication between the ship and our offices.

The Internet Lounge offers internet facilities enabling you to access your private email account. In addition, the Library is a WiFi hotspot where you can usually find a good signal if you wish to use your own laptop. Internet vouchers for using the terminal and personal laptops can be purchased at Reception and the charge will be added to your cabin account.
Please note that the on board system does not allow access to MS Outlook or Mailbox on Mac and that other types of access including Skype and othe VOIP protocols are blocked due to band width restrictions.
The Internet service is dependent on a satelite link and can be affected by weather / geographical location.
Am I able to cruise if I am hard of hearing?
As the safety of our passengers is our utmost priority, it is a requirement that any intending passenger who is profoundly hard of hearing, or who uses sign language as their principal means of communication, is accompanied, at their own cost, by a companion who is able to assist the passenger who has impaired hearing with communication or in understanding audible announcements, signals and alarms.
Is the ship fitted with an induction loop system?
The Darwin Lounge is fited with an induction loop system. If you wear a hearing aid, please select the T position to better hear the Guest Speakers' talks.
Are there any special arrangements for passengers travelling on their own?
The Cruise Director will arrange an exclusive reception early in the cruise for passengers travelling on their own to meet each other.
How do I get ashore if the ship is not berthed alongside?
At some ports Minerva will be at anchor outside the port and passengers will be taken ashore by ship's tenders or by local boats. Tenders run a service between the ship and the shore. Announcements will be made on board advising timings. Our crew is always on hand to help. We respectfully request that you follow their instructions for your safety when embarking / disembarking the tenders. Flat shoes are more suitable when using a tender to go ashore.
Are there Art workshops on board?
Art workshops are offered on certain cruises. The Guest Artist will provide a recommended list of materials and these will be sent to you approximately 8 weeks prior to departure to enable you to purchase the necessary equipment.
There is no charge for Art classes on board.
Before You Go
 
Can I have beds made up as a twin / double?
All cabins (except Owners Suites) are available on request in either a twin or double (US queen) configuration. Twin beds are pushed together to form a double. Please advise at the time of booking of if you require a double bed so that arrangements can be made prior to your embarkation.
Can you accommodate my special diet on Swan Hellenic flights?
If you require a special diet (i.e. vegetarian) on the flight please advise our Reservations Department at the time of booking and no later than 2 weeks prior to departure. Your request will be relayed to the airline, however, please note they cannot be guaranteed.

How do I know what Visas apply to my cruise?
Passport, visa and health requirements can change at any time. It is your responsibility to ensure that you comply with the entry requirements set by each country that you are visiting. We will provide an indication of the requirements which apply to British Citizens at the time of booking and more up to date information within 16 weeks of departure, since requirements can change. Non-British Citizens should consult the relevant Embassy or Consulate for further information. Details of these as well as other useful information about the countries you are visiting are available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on www.fco.gov.uk
How much luggage can I take?
Flights: On fly/ cruises, allowances will be subject to the conditions imposed by the airline and will vary from airline to airline. Baggage allowances are 20kgs on most airlines for checked luggage and 5kgs for hand baggage. Specific details of luggage allowances and any restrictions which apply will be provided with your final details, 2 weeks prior to departure.

How much spending money should I take?
You should budget for the following:
Travel to/from your home to the port/airport
All drinks on board
Spa treatments
Telephone calls
Shore excursions if not already pre-booked

Meals/refreshments ashore
Laundry services

Please note that extras on board are charged in Pounds and payment is required at the end of your cruise. Please see our Pre Cruise booklet for further information.
I have a nut allergy, what do you advise?
We cannot guarantee nut free notification on the same basis as supermarkets etc but we shall endeavour to display notes on menus suggesting which dishes are known to contain nuts. Please state at time of booking if you have a nut allergy.
I require a Kosher meal.
We regret that Kosher and Halal options are not available on board Minerva.
What shall I pack?
Casual clothing is appropriate during the day, with perhaps a cardigan or jacket for evenings on deck. Gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie in the evening, while smart casual wear is appropriate for ladies.

On Excursions casual clothing with flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. It might also be useful to bring an umbrella and/or a raincoat for an unexpected shower. Please remember that, if visiting a church or other holy place, you should cover your shoulders and be prepared to cover your head; shorts are normally not accepted in these places.
What will the weather be like?
Guideline temperatures for your cruise can be found in the pre cruise booklet you will be sent ahead of your cruise. In addition please follow this link for information about your destinations: www.holiday-weather.com
What to do if I have a pre existing medical condition?
If you do not normally enjoy good health and have a pre-existing medical condition / disability this must be declared at the time of booking. Full details of your pre-existing medical condition / disability is required at this time. A Medical Certificate may also be required confirming that you are fit to travel (Any charges applicable to obtain a Medical Certificate are for your own account).
Details of Pre-existing illness / disability are advised to our on board medical team.
Your insurance company must be advised of any pre-existing conditions at the time of booking and of any conditions arising subsequently prior to departure, otherwise your insurance may be invalid and you will be responsible for any costs arising from medical treatment or repatriation.

I will be celebrating a special occasion during my cruise,
what are you able to provide?
There is the facility to organise Wine or Champagne to celebrate your special occasion. To pre arrange this and obtain prices, please contact our Administration Department at least two weeks prior to your departure.
If you wish to arrange something once on board please contact Reception.
How do I find out about the shore excursions planned for the cruise?
A Cruise Book detailing the shore excursion programme together with an Excursion Booking Form will be sent to you approximately 8 weeks prior to departure. Shore excursion information is also available to view on our website approximately 8 weeks prior to your departure.

ALL Shore Excursions must be pre-booked and any supplementary excursions paid for prior to your departure.

To book your excursions, please complete the Excursion Booking Form and return to the Administration Department at Swan Hellenic together with any payment by the date stated on the booking form. Excursion booking forms are numbered on receipt and processed in strict order. Bookings received after the closing date will be sent to the ship for processing, subject to availability.
How will I know I have the excursions I have selected?
You will be sent an invoice to confirm your excursions. Tickets for your excursions will be in your cabin on arrival.
What arrangements are there for shore excursions?
Our excursion programme is well researched by our team of Planners, in conjunction with our local agents. We aim to provide 2 - 3 inclusive excursions in each port all tailor-made to cater for different interests and abilities. There are two types of excursions.

Inclusive Excursions: Are included in your cruise fare and give you an insight into the cultures and traditions of the destination visited. If you have not visited a destination before, we suggest that you choose the recommended inclusive excursion detailed in the Cruise Book.

Supplementary Excursions: We also offer, at an additional cost, a range of Supplementary Excursions. Many of these excursions will be subject to strict maximums, determined by the site administrators and once these have been reached it will not be possible to obtain additional places. Please also note that, once bookings have closed on board Minerva (usually 48 hours prior to the call) unless otherwise specified) it will not be possible to refund supplementary excursions. You may be able to claim the cost back via your travel policy, less any excess.
We want to go on different excursions?
If you wish to participate in a different excursion to your travelling companion this is perfectly acceptable.

Please state clearly on the booking form which passenger wishes to take which excursion to ensure that the correct excursions are booked.
I am diabetic, what happens with my medication?
Please advise at time of booking if you are Diabetic and if you require a Sharps box for the disposal of needles. Insulin can be given to Reception who will make arrangements for it to be kept in a refrigerator. Cabins on Sun Deck and Bridge Deck have their own refrigerators.
On Board
 
Are there fridges in the cabins?
All cabins on Bridge and Sun deck have refrigerators.
Are visitors allowed on board?
Due to current security levels in place, we regret it is not possible to receive visitors on board at any time during your cruise.
Are beds made up with duvets or sheets or blankets?
All our beds are made up with duvets. If you would prefer blankets & sheets please request this at the time of booking to ensure that these arrangements are made prior to your embarkation on board Minerva.
Are there laundry or dry cleaning facilities on board?
There is a small self-service laundry on Aegean Deck where washing powder is provided.
A valet service, offering laundry and pressing is available on board and will be charged to your on board account. A laundry bag and order form is provided in your cabin.
Dry cleaning is not available on board Minerva.
Can I get a weather forecast on board?
Channel 1 on your cabin TV is the bridge camera which also displays the time and gives details of the local weather forecast. A weather forecast is also displayed at Reception.
Can you accommodate my special diet on excursions?
Our full day excursions generally include lunch at a local hotel or restaurant. If you have a dietary requirement please advise our Reservations Department at the time of booking or via the Swan Hellenic Excursions desk once on board. Every effort will be made to accommodate your request but this cannot always be guaranteed depending on local conditions. We are not able to accept requests for special diets on the day of the excursion.
Do I need to take towels for swimming?
Pool towels are provided and can be found in the pool area. Towels will be available at the gangway for those passengers participating in Beach/Swimming excursions.
How can I find out if higher grade cabins are available when I board?
Details of cabins available can be obtained from the Future Sales Desk or Reception.
How can I keep in contact with home?
Phone cards may be purchased at Reception. You may then make a call from your cabin, following the instructions on the Phone Card.

You can use your own mobile phone whilst the ship is in port (subject to a telephone signal being available).

Alternatively, please see section 'Are Internet and Wireless facilities available' for email communication.
Is it possible to visit the bridge or engine room whilst on board?
We regret that for security reasons visits to the Bridge and Engine room are not permitted.
Is there a Beauty Salon on board?
The Salon Centre on Aegean Deck offers hairdressing and a range of beauty treatmenst including massage, manicures, facial and body treatments. Charges apply for all services and treatments and will be charged to your on board account.
Is there a gymnasium on board?
There is a small gymnasium on board which is located at the aft of the ship on Aegean Deck.
Is there a shower or bath in the cabin?
All cabins have shower facilities on the Baltic and Aegean decks. Cabins on the portside of the Bridge and Sun deck have a bath. Cabins on the starboard side of these decks have a shower.
Is there room service on board?
A limited Room Service menu is available. Further details are detailed in your cabin folder on board.
Is the water on board safe to drink?
All tap water on board is safe to drink. In addition you will find a complimentary bottle of water in all cabins when you embark. Once consumed you can request more bottled water by using the order form in your cabin. The cost will be added to your onboard account.
What arrangements can you make to accommodate my special diet?
Please advise our Reservations Department at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements. Certain food items are not readily available and special arrangements need to be made in advance. Vegetarian choices are available on all menus.
We regret that Kosher and Halal options are not available on board Minerva.
What electrical current is used on board?
The voltage is 220AC in the cabins with sockets designed to fit a British 3-pin plug.
There is one razor/toothbrush 2-pin socket in the bathroom.

There are a limited number of adaptors on board.
What facilities does my cabin have?
All cabins have the following:
- en suite private facilities
- Built in wardrobe
- Personal safe
- Direct telephone
- Hand held hair dryer
- Television
- Binoculars
- Toiletries
- Shower cap
- Bathrobe
- Slippers

What happens if I am taken ill during my cruise?
Minerva's medical centre (Baltic Deck) is staffed by a doctor and a nurse. Surgery times are shown in the Daily Programme. As the ship is outside the scope of the NHS (UK National Health Service), medical treatment is charged at private rates - you will need to pay for any required consultations / treatment and recover the cost through your travel insurance which should cover most eventualities. In the event that further treatment, hospitalisation, or repatriation is required, you may be required to pay for any charges incurred, recouping them from your travel insurance provider at a later date. We will, of course, help you liaise with your travel insurers.
Where can I smoke on board?
In line with current legislation smoking is only permitted in designated areas on the open decks. Smoking outside these areas, including cabins and on excursion coaches is strictly prohibited.
Please note that the Captain is within his rights to disembark any passenger not adhering to this policy.
Where do our suitcases get stored?
You will need to store your entire luggage in your cabin. Please note that there is sufficient space under your bed for a standard size suitcase.
Where do the Guest Speakers' talks take place?
Our Guest Speakers's talks are given in the Darwin Lounge and are often accompanied by Powerpoint presentations. The talks will be relayed into one of the Lounges on board and also on cabin televisions (channels will be advised in the Daily Programme on board).
Will there be a Sunday religious service?
An Ecumenical service will be detailed in the Daily Programmes as appropriate.
What is the on board currency?
£ Pound Sterling
How do I pay for items and services on board?
Minerva operates a cashless system on board. We ask you to show your Cruise Card – issued to you at embarkation, to sign for all your drinks, laundry, any supplementary excursions booked on board, hair and beauty services and any purchases from the shop. These will be added to your on board account.

For those who have not registered a credit card at Reception we kindly ask that you settle your account at Reception on the last morning of your cruise. You may settle your account in Cash, Travellers’ Cheques or Credit Card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express only. Please note a 2% surcharge applies if paying by American Express). We also accept UK debit cards bearing the Visa logo but regret that debit cards bearing the Mastercard logo, Maestro cards and personal cheques are not accepted.
What is the daytime dress code?
During the day, the general atmosphere on board is informal and casual clothing, including shorts, is perfectly acceptable. However, just as at a land based resort, we ask you to cover swimwear when entering the ship from the open decks.
What is the dress code for Evening dining?
In the evening, the dress code varies according to your chosen restaurant. The Veranda is smart casual for ladies (dresses or blouses with skirts or trousers) and for gentlemen, long trousers and shirts with collars.
In the Swan Restaurant gentlemen are required to wear a jacket and tie (unless advised differently on board by the Cruise Director).
As a courtesy to other passengers the dress code will be observed. Please ensure you are correctly dressed to avoid any embarrassment on entering your chosen dining area.
What is the dress code for the Formal Nights?
On Formal nights: There are approximately 2 formal evenings during the course of a 15 night cruise. Gentlemen are asked to wear black tie or dark suits and ladies to wear evening gowns or cocktail dresses.
On Formal evenings the dress code is applicable to both Restaurants.
What are the dining arrangements?
There are two restaurants on board Minerva: the Swan Restaurant is a formal restaurant offering a special sense of occasion, whilst the Veranda, with its conservatory décor, provides a less formal dining environment with buffet service. Breakfast - with a wide range of options - can be enjoyed in the Swan Restaurant, the Veranda or out on the open deck around the pool. Morning coffee and pastries are served in the Veranda and afternoon tea in the Swan Restaurant. Both restaurants offer the same wide choice of menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You may also on occasion enjoy a lunch time barbecue buffet on the Pool Deck.

Minerva offers 'open dining' which allows you to dine in the restaurant of your choice in the company of your friends: you simply arrive when you wish within the time advertised in the Daily Programme; by yourself or with friends and the Maitre'd will show you to a table.
This flexible and informal 'open dining' policy is one of the most popular aspects of life on board.
Can I reserve a table in the restaurant?
An Open Dining policy is operated on board Minerva and table reservations are not taken. However, if you are celebrating a special occasion during the cruise, please contact the Maitre'd once on board and every effort will be made to accommodate your request.
I am travelling alone, what are the dining arrangements?
The informal and flexible Open Dining policy is operated in both the Swan Restaurant and the Veranda and the friendly atmoshphere on board is conducive to single travellers. You may choose to arrive at the Restaurant of your choice with friends or alone. The Maitre'd will be happy to show you to a table further to your request.
Can I get decaffeinated coffee and tea on board?
Decaffeinated coffee and tea is available on board.
Can I get Earl Grey or herbal tea on board?
A variety of teas are available including Earl Grey, Lapsong Souchong, Assam and Darjeeling. A selection of herbal and fruit teas is also available (all subject to availability).
Can I get tea and coffee other than at published times?
An early bird service of complimentary tea and coffee is available from the self-service station before the official breakfast time. Afternoon tea and coffee will be available from the self-service station and tea and coffee will also be available from the self-service station for 45 minutes after lunch and dinner.
Is there a pool on board?
Yes – it is situated outside aft on the Bridge Deck.
Is the swimming pool fresh water or salt water?
Sea water.

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© 2014, Swan Hellenic - All Rights Reserved. Swan Hellenic is a trading name of All Leisure Holidays Ltd. No. 2888825. Compass House, Rockingham Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 7QD.
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