Swan Hellenic: construction begins on the SH Minerva

Today the keel laying ceremony took place in Helsinki for the first of the two new Swan Hellenic cruise ships, the SH Minerva. The first 347-ton block of the ship, which had just arrived from Klaipeda where it was set up and painted, was placed on the keel over special coins for good luck.

Relaunched in July 2020, Swan Hellenic has scheduled the construction of two new expedition ships that are set to enter into service in November 2021 and April 2022. Their model of cultural cruises has brought them notoriety since the 1950s, especially in the English-speaking markets. The relaunching of the brand envisages the application of the same philosophy for a target of high-level cruisers. “Join us to see what others don’t see” is the motto of this relaunch, which will take place by the end of 2021.

The relaunch of Swan Hellenic, a brand with a long history in the cruise sector, will be tied to the current trend in cruising: expedition ships which are set up to operate on polar routes and in the most remote corners of the earth. The style of the interiors will be simple but classy modernity with a Nordic flare.

The first of the two unites, the SH Minerva, will be equipped with a 4.6 megawatt diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction, three-megawatt max battery package and a PC5 ice-strengthened hull. The ship will be 113 meters in length and weigh 10,500 tons. The name of the ship is a tribute to the Roman goddess of creativity and wisdom but also a tribute to the historical unit of the fleet, which represented for many years the key to the brand’s success.

Commenting on the special challenges that these innovative ships present, Project Manager Jonas Packalén explained: “New build 516 and her sister NB 517 are designed for extreme weather conditions: from the polar areas with severe ice conditions to the tropical regions. And they are naturally designed to respect the delicate ecosystems of the regions in which we will sail.”

The SH Minerva will offer a luxury cruise style, with 76 cabins and suites, for a maximum occupancy of 152 guests and 120 crew members. This is another confirmation of the trend towards small luxury units that we have been seeing in recent years which has now been further accelerated due to the pandemic.

“We are very happy to be able to welcome back our workers, involving them in this exciting project. Now we can do what we know how to do best: design and build ships with a great history behind them and even greater future ahead of them. These ships for the iconic Swan Hellenic brand are inspiring us, and I hope that the client feels that,” declared Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch, CEO of Helsinki Shipyard Inc.

The CEO of Swan Hellenic, Andrea Zito, was very satisfied with the project, with the work in the shipyard and with the progress the company is making. He said: “We are enthusiastic and honored to write this new chapter of Swan Hellenic history, and we can’t wait to encounter you on board when we sail to Antarctica in November 2021. Come with us to see what others don’t see.”

Information on Swan Hellenic, updates and reviews on Cruising Journal.

Gabriele Bassi