I recently had the opportunity to sail aboard the ms MINERVA from Dublin north toward the dramatic landscape of the Outer Hebrides and around to Rosyth (Edinburgh) where I attended the spectacular performance of the Royal Edinburgh Tattoo. Scotland and the far north was such a unique experience that I plan on writing a future blog post dedicated solely to my journey there. This blog will tell all about the Swan Hellenic small ship cruise experience and what one can expect when cruising aboard the ms Minerva.
Swan Hellenic has been in business for 60 years, providing a distinctive style of small ship cruising to its passengers. The Minerva has the look and feel of an intimate country house hotel, with a capacity of only about 350 passengers. There are 44 staterooms with balconies, 56 staterooms with window or large portholes, and 8 inside cabins. Six decks consisting of the Promenade Deck, the Sun Deck, Bridge Deck, Main Deck, Aegean Deck and Baltic Deck.
Dining aboard is classy yet casual. Open seating is available in the elegant Swan Restaurant so cruisers have the chance to meet new people with every meal or dine with their friends and family. The more casual Verandah Restaurant, with buffet style, has opening times which vary according to the daily program. In either venue the food is wonderful with a variety of menu options from which to choose.
Public areas include the Orpheus Observation Lounge (with floor to ceiling windows for viewing), Library (with a large selection of books, magazines, games, puzzles), Computer/Internet Room (with wifi), Card and/or Craft Art Workshop Room, Gift Shop (wide selection of merchandise and toiletries), Wheeler Bar, Shackleton Bar, Darwin Lounge (with presentation stage for daytime guest lectures and exceptional evening performances), self-service launderette (with multiple washers, dryers, and ironing boards), a well-equipped fitness room, salon and spa, small outdoor pool, along with medical centre and reception/excursion desks.
The ship can only be described as charming. Public areas are clean and comfortable, and have the feel of a home away from home. The expert guest lecturers are always well selected and approachable if you have any questions, and the crew is friendly and attentive, accommodating passengers needs and requests. The selection of included shore excursions are well organized and interesting. There were even cooking demonstrations and tastings!
The smaller size of the ship allows it to reach remote and less crowded ports of call, as well as actually dock at them rather than tender (something experienced cruisers will much appreciate). These benefits allow more time ashore to experience the local culture, geography, and highlights of each port.
Swan Hellenic also offers a more inclusive experience with all port charges, taxes, and shipboard gratuities, meals, and a selection of shore excursions included in the cruise fare for a top quality and value filled vacation. I would not hesitate to recommend a cruise with Swan Hellenic, and hope to have the opportunity to travel aboard the Minerva again.
Contact Lorraine at 1.800.387.8890 Ext 228 or email [email protected] for details on two special offers up to 30% off standard fares plus bonus US$100 per cabin onboard beverage credit.
For bookings made by September 30, 2016. Additional 5% discount if you book both cruises.
(15-day Myths & Magic of Iceland July 1 – 15, 2017 from US$3,359 per person)
(12-day Summer Gardens & Castles of Britain and France July 15 – 26, 2017 from US$2,879pp)