Swan Hellenic is one of those names that resonates across the years, and after a period away, it’s wonderful to see the brand bouncing back into the limelight as a new team with brand new ships gets ready to set sail in 2021 with the same commitment to cultural small-ship cruising of the highest order.
Swan Hellenic Cruises started making waves back in the 1950s when a winning triumvirate was formed of Ken Swan, founder and gifted organiser; Sir Mortimer Wheeler, archaeologist and wit; and the redoubtable Miss Doreen Goodrick who took care of all the detail. The lecturers who accompanied the sailings – academics, diplomats, naturalists – were all pre-eminent in their fields.
I first came across Swan Hellenic when I joined P&O Cruises – which had recently acquired the brand – as a young graduate back in the 1980s. My very first task was to write copy for a Swan Hellenic leaflet. Ken Swan, a bear of a man, was very much still on the scene, living and breathing all things Swan Hellenic, and he seemed to have his own force field as he lumbered around the office.
My parents went on several Swan Hellenic cruises and I still have one of the iconic turquoise Swan Hellenic Handbooks that came with every booking, setting out in exhaustive detail exactly what each of the sites to be visited on that particular cruise would offer – a real doorstop of abstruse detail.
The ships will sail where others don’t – or can’t. From polar regions to the tropics, these expedition ships will range far and wide, taking in off-the-beaten track path destinations and the lesser-known cultures of the world. Innovative itineraries – as meticulously planned as any Ken Swan drew up – include the opportunity to discover remote parts of Russia’s Far East and even the opportunity for guests to explore the Yenisei river in Siberia, a real gem, rich in natural wonders and home to orthodox communities from another time.
The ships will combine the latest polar ice-class technology with understated elegance and unobstructed views; it’s where path-finding exploration meets boutique hotel-style. Spacious and well-planned cabins feature generously-sized bathrooms with glass-doored rain showers and Scandi-chic styling.
The expedition programme will offer immersive wish-list experiences for the inquisitive traveller. The first ship will arrive in London in November 2021 prior to setting sail on her maiden voyage and onward to Antarctica. The second will follow in April 2022.
These are exciting times for such an iconic and pioneering brand, and we look forward to seeing the new Swan Hellenic flag flying aboard the new ships very soon.
Ship images courtesy of Swan Hellenic.
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Swan Hellenic.