Minerva Review

Editor Rating:  4.0
Call our partner agents at 866-501-2339 to book your cruise.
69% of cruisers loved it
27 reviews | Write a Review
  • One of cruising's top enrichment choices
  • Traditional, British-style ship with country house ambience
  • Excursions included in the price
Editor Rating
4.0
Cruiser Rating
Why Choose Minerva?
  • One of cruising's top enrichment choices
  • Traditional, British-style ship with country house ambience
  • Excursions included in the price

Minerva Overview

By Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributor

Swan Hellenic's Minerva has come a long way from its beginnings as the ice-strengthened hull of a planned Ukrainian spy ship to its current position as an upscale ship with a country-house hotel atmosphere, catering to Brits with a penchant for educational travel. Registered in the Bahamas, the six-deck Minerva first came to Swan Hellenic in 1996 but was replaced by the much larger Minerva II (formerly Renaissance 8) in 2003. In 2007, the Carnival Corporation, 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 chartered again, and many of the key former Swan staffmembers returned to work in the office and onboard.

In 2011, the ship went into dry dock for an extensive £10 million overhaul, emerging in March 2012 with new bathrooms, new balconies, an extended walkaround promenade deck and a brand-new lounge (the latter two on Promenade Deck, which before the refit was known as Funnel Deck). More technical improvements included new tenders that allow for a faster, more comfortable ride ashore when the ship is anchored some distance from the dock; given some of the unusual ports at which Minerva calls, this is an important and useful enhancement.

The current Minerva is a 12,500-ton ship that carries up to 352 passengers, double occupancy, on in-depth, cultural itineraries in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean and East of Suez into the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia.

As the ship was originally designed for Swan Hellenic's intensive cultural enrichment programs, which cater to mostly British passengers, it has a country-house hotel atmosphere and is decorated with many paintings, prints and drawings that reflect its cruising regions. The officers are European, the stewardesses Ukrainian and the restaurant and bar service personnel Filipino. Swan's mostly British cruise staff have superb organizational skills, especially when it comes to smoothing out the process of getting on and off the ship and orchestrating shore excursions. Virtually everything happens right on time.

While the cabins are generally of moderate size with most of the usual amenities, the ship is a most comfortable conveyance for those who enjoy sea travel, attractive lounge surroundings and good conversations. Indeed, plenty of passenger interaction is possible during open-seating meals, in the lounges, during the lectures and on the excursions. Anglophiles from other countries form a minority, but their numbers will grow as the line resumes its presence in international markets.

Finally, don't let the high fares put you off. A full program of tours and all gratuities are built into the pricing, so rates are not as unreasonable as they may first appear.

Minerva Fellow Passengers

Most passengers are British, with a small number of Americans, Canadian and Australians onboard, depending on the itinerary. Repeaters, known affectionately as Swans, often make up a high percentage of the passenger manifest. Most Swan Hellenic cruisers are ages 55 and older, and the average age on cruises departing from British ports is about 10 years older than on a fly-cruise itinerary. Travelers younger than 50 are almost always part of multi-generational family groups.

Minerva Dress Code

At night, the Swan Restaurant requires jackets and ties for men, but the Veranda Cafe does not. Women typically dress in nice trousers, skirts or casual dresses. There are usually three formal nights on 14-night cruises, during which men must don dinner jackets or dark suits, and women typically wear cocktail dresses or gowns. Dining in the Veranda is always casual, though the mostly British Swan passengers generally do not wear jeans or T-shirts, even during the day.

Minerva Gratuity

Swan Hellenic includes all onboard gratuities and tips to guides on all the shore excursions. Although it is not expected, some passengers do tip extra.

Next:  Minerva Cabins

By Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributor

27 Minerva Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

Start your review of Minerva
Click to rate
Peepsporter
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
11 helpful votes
Sailed July 2016
First - the cruise left from Portsmouth, England. We had a very good time on this cruise of the West Coast of the United Kingdom. Ports were Guernsey, Scilly, Fishguard, Stornaway, Oban, Isle of Man, and Waterford, Ireland. All places ... Read more
Pedleaway
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
10 helpful votes
A splendid glossy brochure described lovely excursions from various ports around Britain from the Channel Islands to Scotland and Ireland. The ship was clean, meals were plenty and of good qualitity, service at meal times was ... Read more
Brianbluebird
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
20 helpful votes
Sailed May 2016
Aged 67 and 63 we has a first time on this small ship and will return . We are very experienced cruisers mainly with smaller ships. The food was notably very good indeed, varied and of excellent quality. Choice of 3 soups, great salads ... Read more

Minerva Editor Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    4.0
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.3
    5.0
  • Cabins
    3.7
    3.0
  • Entertainment
    3.5
    3.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    2.7
    2.0
  • Family & Children
    1.0
  • Shore Excursions
    3.9
    5.0
  • Enrichment
    4.1
    5.0
  • Service
    4.6
    4.0
  • Value-for-Money
    3.7
    4.0
Cruise Deals

Swan Hellenic Cruises Fleet

Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?