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New Swan Hellenic ship Minerva sets sail for Antarctica

SH Minerva first cruise

New Swan Hellenic ship Minerva has left Helsinki for Argentina, as it prepares for its first expedition cruise of the Antarctic.

The ship’s 10-day maiden voyage will depart Ushuaia on 29 December 2021. Guests will experience “inspiring sights and wildlife of the peninsula, and milder Shetland Islands”, the expedition line said.

The 152-guest ship, which features 76 suites, was christened at the Helsinki Shipyard in late November 2021 during a ceremony attended by the ship’s godmother Johanna Mäkelä, Finland’s first professor of food culture.

Minerva is completely self sufficient for up to 40 days or 8,000 nautical miles, according to Swan Hellenic.

Preparations have been made to implement battery technology, which would also make it possible to operate silently.

Helsinki Shipyard project manager Jonas Packalén added: “This is a proud day for us all. Minerva is even more beautiful and elegant than we dared hope. We wish her and her crew fair winds and following seas, with special thanks to everyone involved in the project for their unstinting dedication.”

Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito added: “I, too, would like to congratulate everyone at Helsinki for their superb work in creating this wonderful new ship.

“We are delighted with the quality of their work, underlined by the superb performance Minerva achieved in her sea trials.

“With Swan Hellenic now a unique presence on the waves again, we very much look forward to taking our guests to see what others don’t, exploring the Antarctic in exceptional comfort and style.”

Minerva will be joined in the fleet by Vega, launching in April 2022, and a third, unnamed ship later the same year.

The third ship will be a larger PC6 ice-class vessel accommodating 192 guests in 96 staterooms and suites.

The vessels will be equipped with exhaust gas cleaning, advanced wastewater treatment systems and the waste storage facilities required for operating in sensitive polar areas.

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