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Minerva's Timeline

The history of Minerva, from when she first came to Swan Hellenic in 1996 to her return as a newly upgraded ship in 2012.  

  • Early 1994 - Swan Hellenic, then under the ownership of P&O, decides to look for a replacement of their popular, but elderly vessel, Orpheus.
  • 1994 - An agreement is signed between P&O, V-Ships and Mariotti shipyard of Genoa for the building of a suitable replacement. An existing hull is found in the Ukraine, originally intended as a Russian spy vessel in 1989, but on which work had been suspended after the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc.
  • December 1994 - V-Ships acquires the ice-classified hull and five days later delivers it to Genoa, where Mariotti takes care of its completion as a passenger ship.
  • April 1996 - The vessel, to be named Minerva, is delivered with the design having taken into account preferences expressed by Swan Hellenic passengers, for instance replicating Orpheus' encircling open promenade deck, a huge library and, of course, a lecture theatre.
  • June 1996 - Minerva is launched with Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester performing the naming ceremony in London's Docklands.
  • 2003 - Minerva II - a new, bigger and faster ship with a larger number of balconies is introduced, allowing cruising to even more distant destinations, such as New Orleans, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. An Orpheus Room, offering panoramic views, the renowned library and large public areas are particularly popular with passengers.
  • April 2007 - Carnival UK makes alternative plans for Minerva II and she sails away, leaving Swans out of the water. The brand is then sold to Lord Sterling.
  • July 2007 - Swan Hellenic joins the All Leisure Group. Plans are put in place to reunite Swan Hellenic with their former vessel Minerva.
  • 2008 - Minerva is welcomed back by passengers who preferred the intimacy of the smaller vessel.
  • 2010/11 - Minerva sails for a successful winter season to the warm waters of India and the Far East.
  • November 2011 - Minerva undergoes an extensive upgrade,  combining the very best of Orpheus, Minerva II and two decades of feedback received from loyal passengers.
  • March 2012 - The 'all new' Minerva will return to embark on an exciting new chapter in her distinguished history as a leading discovery cruise ship.




A visionary multi-million pound upgrade has created more balcony suites than ever and expansive new public areas, giving passengers all that they love about Minerva and much, much more..

  • 32 existing cabins have been extended with new balconies, creating a total of 44 balcony cabins (23% of passenger accommodation)
  • All 181 passenger cabin facilities have been updated with new en suite facilities
  • A new wrap-around panoramic Observation Lounge, the Orpheus Lounge and Bar, at the forward end of the Promenade Deck
  • The Shackleton Bar has been extended into a horseshoe shape allowing passengers additional space
  • A new walk round promenade Deck has been laid at the top of the ship
  • The former cinema has been upgraded to an additional lounge, the Livingstone Lounge
  • The internet area has been reolcated to the port side of the ship and now boasts a total of six terminals
  • A new Salon Centre and Gymnasium have been created at the aft end of Aegean Deck
  • The aft end of the new Sun Deck has been extended with teak decking to create an additional, sheltered outside space for relaxation
  • A new canopy around the pool area on Bridge Deck now provides protection from the sun and an enhanced space for dining alfresco and enjoying late evening entertainment
Minerva’s Profile
  • Gross Tonnage - 12,449
  • Length - 437 ft
  • Beam - 66 ft
  • Draft - 19 ft
  • Cruising Speed - 14 knots
  • Passenger Decks - 6
  • Stabilisers - retractable fin
  • Registration - Bahamas
  • Passengers - 350
  • Crew - 160; mainly Filipino and Ukrainian  
  • Officers - British and European
  • Entered Service - 29th April 1996

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© 2015, 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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