Swan Hellenic christens SH Minerva, confirms delay

First two expeditions cancelled as new ice-class ship prepares for positioning voyage

Swan Hellenic has confirmed the cancellation of the first two voyages of its new ship, SH Minerva, as exclusively foreshadowed by LATTE Cruise.

Overnight, the cruise line christened the five-star SH Minerva at the Helsinki Shipyard during a private ceremony. Godmother for the polar PC-5 ice-class expedition ship was Johanna Mäkelä, the first Finnish professor of food culture, and wife of Helsinki City Mayo, Juhana Vartiainen. Mayor Vartiainen also attended the intimate gathering, along with Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito and Helsinki Shipyard CEO Carl-Gustaf Rotkirch and top management.

Andrea Zito, CEO Swan Hellenic and Johanna Mäkelä, Godmother of SH Minerva

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Citing “global supply chain disruptions” along with recent outbreaks of COVID-19 cases in Finland, Swan Hellenic made the “difficult decision” to postpone the start of Minerva‘s inaugural season.

Swan Hellenic said it preferred to cancel its first two voyages – a 12-day Antarctica Solar Eclipse on 30 November and the 10-day Classic Antarctica cruise on 12 December – “than risk in any way compromising the highest standards of quality and safety”.

SH Minerva is now scheduled to depart the shipyard in Helsinki early next week.

According to the cruise line’s website, the maiden cruise will be on 22 December 2021 – a 22-day Antarctica in Depth: Antarctica and South Georgia voyage operating roundtrip from Ushuaia, Argentina.

At the christening, Helsinki Shipyard Project Manager Jonas Packalén commented: “We are glad to see this day finally, following the many global challenges that made our task far from easy. Our special thanks to everyone involved in the project for their unstinting dedication and superb work!”

Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito added: “I, too, would like to congratulate everyone at Helsinki for their impeccable work in difficult circumstance and the tight safety measures which have kept SH Minerva a safe environment at all times.

“The vessel has been completed after only 26 month from the signing of the contract which is a remarkable achievement. We now very much look forward to taking our guests to see what others don’t, exploring in exceptional comfort and style,” Zito said.

SH Minerva is the first of two PC-5 ice class sister-ships being constructed by Helsinki Shipyard. It and SH Vega have a capacity of 156 guests (76 suites and staterooms – the majority of which feature balconies).  SH Vega is slated to debut in April 2022. A third and larger ship, the PC 6 ice-class vessel which will have a capacity of 192 guests in 96 berths, will enter service in late 2022.

Swan Hellenic is represented in Australia by Cruise Online.

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