The cultural expedition cruise pioneer’s purpose-designed new ship is on her way to Ushuaia ready for a New Year maiden Antarctic cruise departing 29 December.

On 8 December 2021, Swan Hellenic announced that its new ship SH Minerva had left Helsinki for Argentina and her first cultural expedition cruise of the Antarctic, a ten-day New Year celebration of discovery departing Ushuaia on 29 December 2021.

SH Minerva was delivered on 3 December following her christening on 23 November and three days of successful sea trials in which the next-generation polar expedition vessel performed beyond expectations in all respects, from manoeuvrability and stability to top speed and emissions.

The new purpose-designed ship sailed through the Kiel Canal on 6 December (as pictured).

She is the first in a series of three high ice class cultural expedition cruise vessels intended for premium cruise experiences worldwide, with a strong bias for extreme latitude areas.

SH Minerva features a five-megawatt diesel-electric propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction and a PC5 ice-strengthened hull with extra-large stabilisers for exceptional passenger comfort.

At 113 m, the 10,500-ton vessel has been specially designed to explore some of the most inaccessible places on the planet.

The vessels have been designed to meet the latest environmental regulations. SH Minerva is completely self-sufficient for up to 40 days or 8,000 nautical miles. Preparations have been made to implement battery technology which would also make it possible to operate silently.

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

Providing five-star accommodation for 152 guests in 76 spacious cabins and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, SH Minerva is operated by an onboard team of 120 to provide a high level of personal service.

Now in the expert hands of industry veterans Captain Tuomo Leskinen and Hotel Director Philipp Reutener, SH Minerva is set to take her first guests on a 10-day cultural expedition cruise of the Antarctic to celebrate the New Year.

There, they will explore the inspiring sights and wildlife of the peninsula and milder Shetland Islands in the company of Expedition Leader Pablo Brandeman, polar historian expert Dmitry Kiselev and renowned ornithologist Andy Bunten.

At delivery, Helsinki Shipyard Project Manager Jonas Packalén commented: “This is a proud day for us all. SH 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!”

Minerva will be followed by her sister ship SH Vega (NB517) and the slightly larger NB518, which are both already under construction at Helsinki Shipyard.

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