SH Minerva

Specifications of SH Minerva

Year built2021 new ship
BuilderHelsinki Shipyard Oy (Helsinki, Finland)
ClassVega Class ice-strengthened cruise ship
Building costUSD 115 million (EUR 98 million)
OwnerVolga Shipping Company (via Vodohod)
OperatorSwan Hellenic Cruises
Speed14 kn / 26 kph / 16 mph
Length (LOA)113 m / 371 ft
Beam (width)20 m / 66 ft
Gross Tonnage10500 gt
Christened bytba

SH Minerva Review

Review of SH Minerva

Scheduled for launch in August and inauguration in November 2021, SH Minerva cruise ship is one of the Swan Hellenic Cruises vessels. The newbuild has a planned inaugural cruise to Antarctica in November 2021. A second vessel (sistership) is planned for launch in January and to join the fleet in April 2022. A third sistership was ordered in October 2020 and scheduled for completion in 2022-Q4.

History - construction and ownership

Swan Hellenic (1950-founded as "Swans Tour Agency") is a British cruise line headquartered in Limassol Cyprus. The company plans to open offices in London UK, Dusseldorf Germany and Monte Carlo Monaco. Swan Hellenic's new cruise vessels were originally ordered by the Russian company Vodohod (shipowner). Swan Hellenic has shareholders in common with the Russian river cruise brand while others are international investors. The two brands operate independently. Swan Hellenic Cruises' CEO is Andrea Zito. Company's Expedition Director is Pierre Thomas, who was previously worked for several premium ship travel brands, including Lindblad Expeditions and Silversea.

SH Minerva cruise ship (Swan Hellenic Cruises)

P&O Cruises acquired Swan Hellenic Tours in 1983 and in 2003 became part of Carnival Corporation. Swan Hellenic as a brand was discontinued by Carnival /ended operations in 2007. Soon, the brand was purchased by ALG (All Leisure Group) and cruise shipping operations were restarted. In 2017 (after ALG filed for bankruptcy), Swan Hellenic Cruises was acquired by G-Adventures which sold it to a private British investment group in 2020.

The shipowner is Vodohod - a 2004-founded company (currently Russia's largest river cruise line) and a fully-owned subsidiary of "Volga Shipping Company". Vodohod has headquarters in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg. To Vodohod's fleet were added all vessels of the company "Volga Flot Tour" (to a total of 50+ riverboats). Vodohod's operational regions include the large rivers Volga, Don, Kama, Moscow's canals, Volga-Don Canal, Volga-Baltic Waterway, the lakes Onega and Ladoga. With Swan Hellenic, Vodohod actively entered the ocean cruising market. At the time when both expedition cruise ships were ordered, Vodohod owned/operated on Russia's inland waterways a total of 25x riverboats (large-sized cruise vessels), 9x speed boats, 5 pleasure boats. In October 2020, Vodohod and Swan Hellenic both joined CLIA Europe (a division of CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association, which has as members all the world's largest cruise shipping companies).

Swan Hellenic Minerva ship (hull/yard number NB516) and the still-unnamed sistership (hull number NB517) are ace-class expedition vessels designed for operations in extreme weather conditions - from tropical climates to polar regions with heavy ice fields. These modern boats are also specially designed to respect the ecosystems of the regions sailed.

The new vessel was named after the 1989-built MS Minerva - in service with Swan Hellenic between 1996-2020. The new Minerva ship will be Malta-flagged (MMSI number tba) and registered in Valletta.

Cruise itinerary program

SH Minerva's itinerary program is based on Antarctica cruises. The exact dates and itineraries (as homeports and call ports) are to be announced at a later date.

The homeport for Antarctica roundtrips is Ushuaia Argentina and many itineraries also visit the UK's Falkland Islands. The route is via Drake Passage - a body of water between Cape Horn (mainland South America) and Livingston Island (part of South Shetland Islands). This seaway connects the Atlantic Ocean (via Scotia Sea) with the Pacific Ocean.


SH Minerva ship provides 5-star staterooms for a total of 152 passengers (max capacity) in 76 cabins and suites. Most staterooms are with large step-out balconies. The vessel is maintained by 120 staff-crew.

Shipboard facilities

The new Minerva cruise ship represents the next generation of polar expedition ships, designed for worldwide sailing with a focus on high-latitude areas.

SH Minerva cruise ship (Swan Hellenic Cruises)

Swan Hellenic's SH Minerva ship features include a PC5 class (ice-strengthened) hull, 4,6 MW diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction, 3 MW max battery package, max cruising speed 14 knots (26 kph / 16 mph), draught 5,7 m (19 ft), LOA length 113 m (371 ft), GT tonnage 10500 tons. The boat's interior spaces and venues are designed by Tillberg Design of Sweden (Hoganas-based company that designs interiors for smaller-sized/luxury cruise ships, hotels and restaurants).


Commonly to most small-sized expedition cruise ships, SH Minerva has an aft Marina Deck that serves the launching of Zodiacs (large-capacity inflatable speedboats used for landings and coastal cruising), Helideck (top-deck located helicopter landing platform used in cases of emergencies), Sundeck with Infinity Pool and Pool Bar, indoor Bar Lounge, Lecture Hall (used for Cruise Director's port talks, itinerary-themed lectures and media presentations), Main Dining Room (full capacity restaurant), wellness complex (rooms for Spa massages, Gym, Sauna Room) - all with floor-ceiling windows, Mud Room (midship-located facility utilized for passenger embarkation/disembarkation on/from the Zodiacs, also for tour equipment storage), bow-located Navigation Bridge (called Wheelhouse on smaller ships and riverboats).

More details on the ship's facilities and amenities are yet to be announced by Swan Hellenic.

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    SH Minerva Wiki

    The vessel's keel-laying ceremony was held in Helsinki Finland (at Wartsila Hietalahti Shipyard / fka Arctech Helsinki Shipyard) on September 24, 2020. During the special ceremony, the hull's first 347-ton block arrived from Klaipeda Lithuania, where it was outfitted and painted. The prefabricated hull block was loaded in Klaipeda on Sept 12 and arrived in Helsinki on Sept 14. During the ceremony, the huge block was put over "lucky coins" in accordance with the maritime traditions. Swan Hellenic also announced the new ship's name - "SH Minerva" - that honours the company's first ship (MS Minerva/1996-built) named after the Roman goddess of wisdom.


    In May 2020, Helsinki Shipyard Oy (with all its assets) was acquired by Algador Holdings Ltd from Arctech Helsinki Shipyard Oy. Algador Holdings Ltd is owned by Rishat Bagautdinov (Ришат Диасович Багаутдинов/co-owner of Vodohod) and Vladimir Kasyanenko (Владимир Касяненко/Vodohod's owner) whose companies specialize in cruise shipping and shipbuilding businesses.

    The production of the ordered by Vodohod first of two cruise ships (SH Minerva) started on April 27, 2020, with the steel-cutting ceremony at Helsinki Shipyard Oy. The shipbuilder's CEO (Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch) commented that these two passenger vessels are the first newbuilds of the established in May 2019 shipbuilding company. Both ships were intended to operate in the Russian Arctic and Antarctica (during winter and summer) and in tropical destinations (during spring and autumn).

    The vessels' steel blocks were manufactured by Western Baltija Shipbuilding (in Klaipeda). The total 33 outfitted and painted blocks (for SH Minerva) were prefabricated and assembled in Klaipeda and transported/barged to Helsinki by sea. Vodohod's new vessel is based on max passenger capacity 157.

    In late-February 2020, Helsinki Shipyard Oy ordered to MHI-MME (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Marine Machinery and Equipment) two retractable fin stabilizers for Vodohod's both luxury expedition vessels. Fin stabilizers reduce the ship's rolling/rocking while at sea.

    In early-April 2020 Valmet Oyj was contracted to supply the Vodohod newbuilds' marine automation and information management systems. The modern equipment was scheduled for 2021 (delivery in August and installation in November). The order also included project engineering, factory acceptance testing, commissioning, staff training. The 2013-founded Valmet Oyj (formerly part of Metso Corporation) generally specializes in developing and manufacturing of automation systems (technologies, equipment, services, spare parts) for pulp-paper mills and bioenergy production plants. In 2013, Metso Corporation was split into Valmet and Metso. After the demerger, Valmet Corporation took the pulp-paper-power businesses, while Metso Oyj kept the mining-construction-automation businesses. In June 2020, Metso partially demerged and Metso Minerals merged with Outotec Oyj into the new Metso Outotec Oyj.

    In early-October 2020, Swan Hellenic signed a partnership with Tam Wing Kun Holdings Ltd to represent the brand in Asia. Tam Wing Kun Holdings represents many of the world's leading logistics companies and airlines in Asia through offices or partners in China (Beijing, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Shanghai), Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, The Philippines.

    In mid-October 2020, the shipbuilder contracted ALMACO Group to design, build (as prefabricated modules) and deliver all crew cabins (and public spaces) and all passenger cabins for both Swan Hellenic ships (Minerva and TBN1). On October 20, Swan Hellenic ordered from Helsinki Shipyard a third cruise ship (SH TBN2) scheduled for completion in 2022-Q4.

    In mid-December 2020, Swan Hellenic Cruises signed a partnership with Travel Planners (Eastern India) Pvt Ltd for a direct presence in India. Travel Planners (E.I.) is part of Sinclair & Co (owned by SBG-Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc/ fka Chesapeake Television Corporation) and is headquartered in Kolkata India.

    In mid-January 2021, Swan Hellenic opened a North American sales office (with a call center) in Fort Lauderdale (Florida USA) to serve the company's USA, Canada and Mexico operations. The Cyprus-based Swan Hellenic Cruises also has offices in the UK (London), Germany (Dusseldorf) and Monaco (Monte Carlo).

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