Swan Hellenic Minerva Cruise

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#1
Tucson AZ
262 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
I'll be cruising Athens to Istanbul on the Minerva in September. It's my first time on this line and I don't know much about it, but the itinerary is wonderful and the guest speaker programme sounds levels above the usual port destination lectures on most ships. Also like the fact that it is a small ship and includes "tailor-made" shore excursions. If there are cruisers here on CC who've had experiences with this company I'd like to hear from you... I've scoured this board but haven't found any posts about the Minerva, she seems to be a well-kept secret!

The name of my cruise is "The Hospitable Sea"... anyone else booked on this one?

alita
#2
West Country, UK
4,177 Posts
Joined Sep 2007
I'll be interested in your findings. I have booked on her for the first time next February from Bangkok to India. They are very much "cultural" cruises and I know you get reading lists before you sail so they do sound very nice indeed.
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#3
Bellingham, WA, USA
1,798 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Hope you finally find someone who has been on this ship. We are looking at Black Sea cruises for next year and like their itinerary. I wandered about the company's status though as they seem to have disappeared for a while and are now back.
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Tamara

Upcoming:Celebrity Constellation-Arabian Sea and India Dec 2017/Jan 2018

PAST CRUISES: Azamara: QUEST-Eastern Mediterranean Oct/Nov 2008 & Southeast Asia Dec 2009/Jan 2010; Celebrity: CONSTELLATION-Caribbean Dec 2004; Fred Olsen BLACK WATCH-Arctic Explorer July/Aug 2016, BOUDICCA-Canary Islands & Cape Verde Nov/Dec 2016; Holland America: VOLENDAM-Japan, S Korea and No Pacific Crossing Apr/May 2017, ZAANDAM-South America/Antarctica Jan/Feb 2014, OOSTERDAM-South Pacific Nov/Dec 2013, VOLENDAM-Australia Mar/Apr 2010, PRINSENDAM-West Africa Oct/Nov 2006, & STATENDAM-Mexican Riviera Dec 2003; Hurtigruten: NORDKAPP-Norway Apr/May 2006; Norwegian: JADE-Western Caribbean Jan 2016, STAR-Alaska Aug 2008 & WIND-Alaska June 2004; Oceania: REGATTA Amazon-Nov/Dec 2010 & NAUTICA Black Sea-Aug/Sep 2011; Princess: DIAMOND-Grand Japan/Taiwan May-June 2015, GRAND-Pacific Coastal March 2015, SAPPHIRE-Pacific Coast Sept 2005, DAWN-Hawaii/South Pacific Oct 2002, & SUN-Panama Canal/Caribbean Mar 2001; Royal Caribbean: MONARCH OF THE SEAS-Baja/Calif. June 2006; Swan Hellenic: MINERVA-Italy May 2011 & Grand Trade Winds Feb/Mar 2013; Uniworld RIVER QUEEN-Rhine & Moselle Sept/Oct 2009; Viking: SEA-Grand Mediterranean Feb/Mar 2017; Victoria: STAR-Yangtze, China Oct 2007; Voyages of Discovery: VOYAGER-Indian Ocean and East Africa Dec 2014/Jan 2015.
#4
4 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Its very British. Take a good book or something to do in the evening as there is very little in the way of entertainment other than the very good lectures. You will meet lovely people and some who are just a little above themselves! It can be a good laugh. Its very well organised. The food is a bit school food but OK, the crew are super. Breakfasts on the deck by the pool are best.
#5
Tucson AZ
262 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Thanks for the information... I do know that the ownership changed a couple of years ago -- very much for the better -- and the company is now going strong. My particular cruise sold out last month and when I look at their website I see that upcoming cruises are sold out too.

ditsy... your description made me smile, I've heard similar things but my take is that I'll be so exhausted by the end of each day -- the cruise is *very* port intensive -- that I'll be happy to retire to my cabin early each night. In fact, a preference would probably be to order dinner in my room from time to time; anyone know if there's a proper room service dinner menu?

I'll post a review when I return!
#6
Cornwall, England
44 Posts
Joined Apr 2007
Hi there, we were on Swan when they were on their previous ship. I believe that this is their original ship. (I think!?) We very much enjoyed our cruise with them and loved the way they looked after you. If you went to somewhere where one felt a bit vulnerable, they always made sure people were safe on trips. As well as the trip leader, there was always another person at the back making sure everyone was accounted for, helping people up steps, pointing out facilities etc. It is very British but we did meet some people from the Us and Canada on our cruise. As for entertainment, we had a choice of a recent film, local shows of companies who were from the 'stop of the day', shows by the Filipino crew as well as some very interesting lectures that you could see again in your cabin television. There was also the odd quiz for those who enjoyed them. There is no casino on board and this was converted to a bar. Hope this helps.
#7
California - Italy - Switzerland
6,210 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
Having spent 42 days on another port intensive "British" ship (MV Discovery), I wish they had replaced the entertainment in the evenings with the always superb lectures and enrichment classes they held during the mornings and afternoons during the sea days.

The entertainment was very good for such a small ship and the lectures during the day simply could not be missed. But that left little time to just be on the ship being lazy and "cruising" with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face (slathered with sun screen of course).

So any ship with similar offerings that does substitute the evening entertainment for their excellent enrichment lectures sounds like my kind of ship. And hopefully our Voyages to Antiquity will be just that one.
#8
Innisfil, Ontario, Canada
1,224 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
After walking through several different cultures and having lots of interesting lectures, I'm rather hoping there will be a good, old-fashioned mindless movie to watch once and awhile on my VtoA cruise.
#9
San Diego, CA
4,682 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
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Emerald Princess: Western Caribbean - 21 Dec 2014 http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...ghlight=dileep
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#10
New Hampshire
17 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
We are seasoned vacationers, and esp. love cruises (# 32 coming up) As time goes on, we find we are interested in the venues more than all of the activites on board. Last fall, we sailed with Swan for the first time, Highlights of the Ancient World. We were 2 of six Americans. If you enjoy history, culture, a wide selection of excursions which are presented in a well organized booklet delivered a month before the journey, this could be the trip for you!

We are actually taking the Islands of the Sun trip the end of this month. So, we must enjoy. Evenings can be a little quiet, but if you do take the usual 2 tours each day, you will be tired. I am a reader and a knitter, so found no problem entertaining myself in the evening. Plus if you chose not to attend the lectures, they are broadcast on the 'telly'.
There are very interesting people to talk to, at first can be a bit daunting, but after a day or so, very friendly. Dinner is a bit of a fuss with dressing up, but there is a very good alternative. We are looking forward to our sailing, as the ship has been refurbished this winter.
Any questions, I'd be glad to answer.
Sharon
#11
Derbyshire
14 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We have done six cruises with Minerva and Australian friends joined us on two of these. We have booked for two more this year. We have cruised with other lines but this suits us best. Small ship, open dining, excellent buffet, intelligent lectures and pleasant fellow passengers. The entertainment is limited - young opera singers but music in the bars such as harpist and pianist. The lectures are of a high standard - not flogging tours! Some of the passengers are quite aged but we are all going to get there one day. The included tours are perfectly organised and all tipping is done so no embarrassing moments watching fellow passengers scuttle by. If you want a floating resort this is not for you but if you want to be treated as an intelligents person it is wonderful.
#12
acton,london
3,063 Posts
Joined Feb 2001
not been on minerva but was on MINERVA 2 which i loved. they have just dry docked the ship new added balcony cabins among other things she sails on march 2nd. i will nbe going to portsmouth to see her arrive i got ship visit on her in may abnd would love tp see what she is like. i will post my thought here i would love tpo do a cruise on her sometime
dave
#13
Connecticut, USA
9 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
We just booked a trip on the 29th March (POSTCARD FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN)...we are looking forward to it a lot. Anyone else booked on this?
#14
Staffordshire, UK
239 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
I'm very much a fan of Swan Hellenic. You are able to sail with plenty of well-travelled, like-minded fellow passengers and, of course, excellent lecturers. Thankfully no casino, 'production shows', ship's photographer or, my absolute bete noir, piped music!!! I am booked on two cruises in 2012 - 'St Petersburg & The Baltic' (22 May) and 'South to the Mediterranean' (1 August). Both cruises have excellent itineraries. This is 'old fashioned' cruising as it used to be, but with all the modern comforts we have, over the years, come to expect.
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#15
Canada pacific northwest, vancouver island
27 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I have just made a reservation on Minerva for the Grand Voyage,Dubai to Singapore Dec 5 to Jan3. Anyone else going ? I have never been on Minerva but did spend 71 days on M.V. Discovery and loved it .
B.
#16
396 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Just received today via snail mail a sale notice from Swan Hellenic for cruises from now until into 2013 that are deeply discounted--and no single supplement for some of those cruises in case anyone is interested.....
#17
Incline Village, NV
111 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Hi! I'm on the Minerva from Athens to Dubai from Nov 7 to Dec 5. I expect it to be a good as many have described. Looking forward to booking excursions (free). I've been many places to date, smallest was 39 pax to Antarctica. Tom