Swan Hellenic Gets New Life Lease

March 15, 2007
Swan Hellenic, the historic, British-based "discovery cruising" line that was set to fade off into the sunset next month has gotten a reprieve. Lord Sterling, the former chairman of The Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O), has announced today the jubilant news that he'll buy the assets of the line -- including trademarks and marketing database.

For the past few years, Swan Hellenic (which had long been owned by P&O) was part of Carnival Corporation after that behemoth acquired P&O. Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison's long stated belief that small cruise lines weren't part of his business model (and Swan Hellenic indeed was small; it operated just one ship) had sounded a preliminary death knell for the beloved line.

Don't ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolled for Swan Hellenic last year when it was announced that Carnival would transfer its Minerva II to sister line Princess Cruises -- and that effectively would be that. The ship will still transfer on April 7; after a refurbishment it will become known as Royal Princess.

Lord Sterling's next task will be to find a new ship for the line. We’ll keep you posted.

--by Carolyn Spencer Brown