Swan Hellenic orders a third expedition ship

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A rendering of one of Swan Hellenic's upcoming expedition cruise ships.
A rendering of one of Swan Hellenic's upcoming expedition cruise ships.

Swan Hellenic ordered a third ship for its nascent expedition cruise line, which is set to return to service in late 2021

The owners of the storied British cruise brand revived the Swan Hellenic name this summer with the order of two, 152-passenger expedition ships with ice-strengthened hulls from the Helsinki Shipyard Oy in Finland. The first is scheduled set sail for Antarctica in November 2021 and the second is slated for delivery in April 2022.

The third Swan ship will be larger than its sisters, accommodating 192 passengers in 96 cabins, the vast majority with balconies. It will have a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system that enables the ship to operate in almost total silence under battery power, Swan said, causing minimal disturbance to sensitive ecosystems and wildlife.

In a statement, Swan said that the order for the three Vega-class ships demonstrates "solid confidence both in the strength and resilience of the high-end cruise market and its own unique vision of cultural expedition cruising."

Swan first launched service 70 years ago and ceased operations in 2017, when its parent company, U.K.-based All Leisure Holidays, collapsed. Swan's new CEO, the former Silversea Cruises technical operations executive Andrea Zito, led a team of cruise industry veterans that purchased the brand. He said in a statement this summer that Swan's mission is "to be the leader in cultural expedition cruising" when it returns to service. 

Swan said that all three ships are being built on a "fast-track schedule." The keel laying for the Vega 1 took place in September in a ceremony during which the line said it would name the ship the Minerva in honor of the original company's first purpose-built vessel. 

This is the second time the Swan Hellenic name has been revived since it was founded by the Swan family as a tour company in 1950. Purchased in 1983 by P&O Cruises, it became part of the Carnival Corp. family when those two companies merged in 2003. When Carnival Corp. shut down the line in 2007 and transferred its only ship, the Minerva II, to Princess Cruises, All Leisure Group resuscitated the brand.

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