This was our 5th or 6th cruise on Minerva so it must be reasonably good if we keep returning. We have learned to accept the excessive engine vibrations and carefully choose our cabin accordingly. The staff are great and the lectures and excursions are usually very entertaining. Classical music and jazz are also featured. All is not 'sweetness and light' however. The Swan restaurant is a bit jaded and needs upgrading. Breakfast and lunch were taken in the more pleasant surroundings of the Verandah Restaurant and adjacent deck area. I would rate the food as 4 out of 5 and not nearly as good as Princess.Was not as 'happy ' a ship as on earlier cruises probably due to recent senior staff changes and cost cutting. Being 'At Sea' for as long as 4 days at a time left you out of touch with the rest of the world,not helped by the depressingly poor ship's internet service and disruption to TV News Channels. Since we started cruising with Swan their prices have increased considerably however, no doubt to pay for the recent expensive refit. The choice of wine in the restaurants is limited and fairly expensive. Viking Cruises provide copious quantities of free wine and beer at both lunch and dinner so why can't Swan?
This cruise was different to the earlier cruises that we had taken with Swan in respect that, because of its location and duration, it was around twice the price that we usually pay. This coincided with an unusual number of what appeared to be passengers from the Home Counties, all with the 'very cultured Southern England speech impediment' (as described in an earlier review). One always had the feeling of being carefully scrutinised before they deigned to sit at your table.I quickly learnt and did the same. My recollection was that passengers from 'Up North' were not welcome at their table while the Welsh remained unpopular. Regrettably this was the worse example of class distinction I have encountered on the Minerva. Despite all this met lots of interesting fellow passengers and enjoyed the cruise.