Become a Cruise Insider
Tips, deals and more in your inbox.
Your Ultimate Cruise Guide

Minerva Review

Minerva
Minerva - Superior cabin Minerva - Party on Deck Minerva - Minerva lounge Minerva - Library
72% of cruisers loved it
19 reviews | Write a Review
  • One of cruising's top enrichment choices
  • Traditional, British-style ship with country house ambience
  • Excursions included in the price
Show The Lowest Price

Minerva Overview

By Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor
Editor Rating
4.0
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
Print the entire ship review

Minerva Member Reviews

Could be better Suewoodcock
04/15
I travelled on Minerva first December then returned 12/05/2015. The quality of food was poor even since Christmas when chef replaced and obviously budget reduced. The speakers had not liased and there was overlapping of information, although all ... Read more
5 Star Staff, 3 Star Ship AA +Ilovecruising
03/15
This is our first and last time we use this ship. It its said to have been refurbished, but boy, does it need another one! DO NOT get a cabin on A or B deck from the reception backwards especially A73 - the vibration when the ship is sailing, ... Read more
12/14
An enjoyable cruise which, at the discounted fare, was good value for money (probably 5*) but which seems highly overpriced at brochure price. Booking was made less than three weeks before sailing. Swan Hellenic reservations team very helpful and ... Read more
1 - 3 of 19 Reviews
Show The Lowest Price

Minerva Ratings

Editor Rating 4.0 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
Dining
4.0
3.9
Public Rooms
5.0
4.3
Cabins
3.0
3.5
Entertainment
3.0
3.8
Spa & Fitness
2.0
2.7
Family & Children
1.0
Shore Excursions
5.0
4.1
Enrichment
5.0
4.4
Service
4.0
4.7
Value-for-Money
4.0
3.8

Explore This Ship

Minerva Deck Plans Minerva Cabin Reviews
Ship Stats
Crew:
164
Launched:
1996
Decks:
Six
Tonnage:
12,500
Passengers:
352
Registry:
Bahamas
CDC Score:
Not Yet Inspected

Community

Join the Forums Get answers from real cruisers on the forums

Swan Hellenic Ships

Minerva
Close X
Show Prices for Minerva

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.
We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.