Swan Hellenic's Minerva cruise ship has come a long way since its debut as the ice-strengthened hull of a planned Ukrainian spy vessel to its current position as an upscale cruise vessel with a country-house hotel ambience, catering to Brits with a tendency for educational travel. Minerva cruise ship, registered in the Bahamas, the 6-deck first came to Swan Hellenic cruise company in 1996, but was replaced by the much larger Minerva II (formerly Renaissance 8) in 2003. In 2007, the Carnival Cruise Company, Swan Hellenic's owner, eliminated the line, but it was revived by former P&O Chairman Lord Jeffrey Sterling and All Leisure, a British holding company. Minerva (I) was then chartered again, and lots of the key former Swan crew members returned to work in the office and on the board of Minerva cruise liner.
In 2011, the vessel went into dry dock for an extensive 10 million pounds refurbishment, emerging in March 2012 with new bathrooms, new verandas, an extended walkaround promenade deck and a brand-new lounge (the latter two on Promenade Deck before the renovation was known as Funnel Deck). More technical enhancements included new tenders which allow for a faster, more comfortable ride ashore when the cruise liner is anchored some distance from the dock; given some of the abnormal ports at which Minerva calls, this is an important and useful improvement.