Swan Hellenic Cruising back with Social Values, Eco and Cultural Cruises

Swann Hellenic, the small British cruise line that went into bankruptcy has been acquired by G-Adventures – the founder speaks on TV about the ambition for the new boutique cruise line.

SWAN HELLENIC: A very British but very niche cruise line, with only one ship – Minerva – which briefly sailed as the SAGA Pearl in a previous life – went into bankruptcy in January 2017. G-Adventures have announced they have purchased the brand and intend to resurrect the traditional strengths of the eclectic cruise line.

G Adventures annual revenue in 2016 was $400m, they have been offering land based adventure holidays for 25 years and sea based expedition cruises for 15 years. So when they say they can have tourism with social values, consider the ecology and recycle, and make it a cultural adventure, they are aiming at like-minded people, who will pay a premium for something a little different. The cultural experience is part of their ethos. They suggest that cruises can sometimes not manage to get that cultural experience. As they say don’t knock success and G-Advetures who have bought the UK Cruise company SWAN HELLENIC have a place in the market. They have had expedition cruising for years, like ships to Antartica, Galapagos Islands and Greece. There ships have 150 to 200 guests, they aim to be different. We found this video of founder Bruce Poon Tip on Bloomberg TV talking about his ambition for Swan Hellenic Cruise Line.

Currently not sailing, the MS Minerva is a loss. It was, is, a country house-style ship with Persian carpets in the reception area and a conservatory style buffet restaurant as well as the waiter serviced main dining room. Built on the hull of a Russian research ship she carried 350 cruisers. Apart from a few Americans and Australasians its passengers were virtually all British. It offered a very high standard of expert lecturers in subjects such as classical Greek and Roman history and took guests to classical Greek and Roman historic sites when its first itineraries were launched in the 1950s.

This could morph into an interesting mix of young, sexy and adventurous cruising, showing another step at just how the cruise industry is changing. In their words it could ‘continue the brand’s extraordinary legacy’. To be kept informed they invite you to register here. Itineraries will be announced this summer.


So, dream of a yacht like experience cruising around the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Black Sea, Far East, India and north Norway with afternoon tea and pre-dinner G&Ts. The Shackleton Bar may be revived, and after-dinner music in the Darwin Lounge the order of each day.


ABOUT G ADVENTURES – Celebrating its 27th anniversary in 2017, G Adventures is an adventure travel pioneer offering the widest selection of affordable small-group tours, safaris, and expeditions to more than 100 countries on all continents. It was the first adventure travel company to offer 100% guaranteed departures in 2013. Powered by an international team of passionate travellers, the award-winning trips embrace authentic accommodation, exotic cuisine, and local transport to put travellers on a first-name basis with the planet’s people, cultures, landscapes, and wildlife. The intimate, authentic, and sustainable approach to small-group travel introduces travellers to the highlights of a destination while offering the freedom to explore it on their own. Whatever age, interest, ability, or budget, G Adventures has a genuine life-changing experience. For more information please visit G ADVENTURES


HISTORY of SWAN HELLENIC – There is a more interesting story on the name the Royal Princess. The name has been around a long time. Some is in the History of the Princess Cruises which we strongly suggest you read when you have two minutes. But the name pops up in the history of a small British Cruise company, Swan Hellenic. Swan Hellenic was acquired from the Swan family by P&O back in 1983. P&O, Princess etc all have history, so eventually Swan Hellenic became a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation & plc. Swan Hellenic was known for its small 300 passenger ship. Under Carnival, the ship Minerva was replaced by the 600-passenger Minerva II. The cruisers that used Swan Hellenic were not overly impressed, and it lead to calls that the original cruise concept of small ship cruising had vanished. The new ship we remind you only held 600, less than the Adonia. In April 2007, Carnival ended its operation of Swan Hellenic. The ship Minerva II went back to the Princess fleet, with the new name Royal Princess. This is why you may find many Royal Princess ships when searching. With no ship, it was thought to be the end of Swan Hellenic especially as others launched small ships to take the passengers who had no favourite ship left.

There’s a chat group for your ship – click here to find it

However, in 2007, Lord Sterling, the former chairman of P&O, announced he was to buy Swan Hellenic and was looking for a vessel. Swan Hellenic was subsequently acquired by the All Leisure Holidays Group Plc, who also own Voyages of Discovery who ran the ship Explorer II, previously their ship the Minerva and it was all back to where they started. Swan Hellenic cruises started up again in 2008, but failed to turn a profit with the small ship and after significant losses which put pressure on the entire group, the company closed insolvent. More recently, in 2017, G Adventures the company that designs bespoke adventure holidays to eclectic destinations, purchased the name and brand. As yet they have no cruise hints on their website, but we understand the first cruises are planned for 2018.

What is interesting is that Thomas Cook still have Swan Hellenic in their menu system, though the search currently shows nothing. CRUISE DEALS @ THOMAS COOK