Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

6 3 According to Andrea Zito, the majesty of the Antarctic continent will leave guests feeling very small in comparison and giving an extra layer of safety to operation,” says Zito. “She has a dynamic positioning system so that she doesn’t need to moor with an anchor. This is particularly important in areas where anchoring can damage the seabed. “The vessel was built in extraordinary circumstances, but the fact that she was delivered almost in time was remarkable. Finland was hit by an outbreak of Covid 19 in October 2021, so it was quite a challenging time. Once delivered, SH Minerva sailed a positioning voyage from Finland to Argentina in December 2021.” SH Minerva has been designed to feature elegant interiors and to reflect the landscapes that she sails through. “She is a very elegant vessel in terms of decor. Tillberg Design of Sweden has designed the vessel to have interiors with understated elegance to encourage passengers to completely immerse themselves in the environment they are cruising through,” says Zito. “So, there are a lot of windows, and the deck is designed in a way that does not intrude on the views.” SH Minerva also features three restaurants, a multifunctional observation lounge with a video wall for lectures, spa facilities and a marina with Zodiac boats on the lower deck to make it easy for passengers to travel ashore. SH Minerva will complete her Antarctica season at the end of February 2022, then move northwards towards the South American coast. She will then reposition for the summer in the Bering Strait, between the Pacific and Arctic oceans. “While Antarctica is completely deserted in a human sense, there are local communities in the North to explore. We will touch the mouth of Siberia’s Yenisei River where there is the biggest national park in the northern hemisphere. Then we move to Greenland, Iceland, the Canadian Arctic as well as other destinations on the eastern part of the North American continent.” Onshore excursions will be supplemented by onboard activities led by an international team of marine biologists, geologists and ornithologists. “We have a laboratory where passengers can actively take part in some scientific work by contributing towards data collection,” says Zito. “For example, the crew is monitoring the movement of individual humpback whales. This is extremely interesting for our guests because they can be immersed in the environment, even if they are not scientists themselves.” SH Minerva’s sister ship, SH Vega, will offer similar onboard features and amenities when she is completed at the beginning of May 2022. “The second sister ship is always a little bit easier than the first since lessons have been learnt,” says Zito. “She will start operating this summer in the European Arctic and then move towards the East Siberian Sea before sailing itineraries in Greenland, Iceland and the Canadian Arctic.” The third vessel, whose name is yet to be announced, is likely to travel in the Mediterranean – a nod to the history of the company as Swan’s Tours. CFR