After revealing its rebirth in late July, Swan Hellenic held a keel-laying ceremony for the first of two new ice-class expedition cruise ships in Helsinki last week. The event saw the first 347-tonne block of the ship – newly arrived from Klaipeda, Lithuania where it had been outfitted and painted – being set on the keel over coins to bring good luck in accordance with ancient maritime custom.
During the ceremony, Swan Hellenic revealed that the ship would be christened SH Minerva in honour of the company’s first purpose-built vessel, named after the Roman goddess of creativity and wisdom.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Helsinki Shipyard Inc. CEO Carl-Gustasf Rotkirch and Project Manager Jonas Packalén, together with Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito, participating via video link due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new ship represents the next generation of polar expedition vessels, designed for worldwide cruising with a strong focus on high-latitude areas. SH Minerva will feature a 4.6-megawatt diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction, three-megawatt max. battery package and PC5 ice-strengthened hull.
Providing five-star accommodation for 152 guests in 76 spacious cabins and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, SH Minerva will be operated by an onboard team of 120 to provide the highest levels of personal service.
“We’re excited and honoured to take Swan Hellenic into this next chapter and look forward to meeting you on board when we head to Antarctica in November 2021,” Zito said, adding “join us to see what others don’t!”
The second yet-to-be-named expedition ship is earmarked for debut in April 2022.