Swan Hellenic Cruise Blog Day 1
I was recently lucky enough to experience a few nights on board the newly refurbished 350 passenger MV Minerva. The ship belongs to British company Swan Hellenic who have more than 50 years’ experience in small ship discovery cruising. Here is my day by day blog, I hope you enjoy.
On arrival at LGW Airport North Terminal I was greeted by a cheerful Swan Hellenic representative the minute I walked through the doors. He kindly directed me to the BA check in desk where I waved goodbye to my case and headed through to departures. I was a little peckish so made my way upstairs to scan the restaurant and café options. I spotted the new Jamie Oliver Italian Restaurant and without a second thought made a B line for this with Eggs Benedict on the brain. It was delicious and I’d highly recommend it. After a leisurely brunch I headed through to my gate and met the rest of the small group I was travelling with. We boarded the flight and before we knew it we were in warm sunny Naples. The majority of the passengers on my flight were also heading to the MV Minerva so there were a handful of Swan representatives on hand to point us to the correct luggage collection belt. As soon as we’d collected our cases they were taken away and loaded onto the trolley. The next time we saw them was in our cabins. We swiftly left the airport, boarded our coach and were off to the ship. The whole process was really smooth and the guidance from the Swan representatives was appreciated by myself and fellow guests.
The coach ride from Airport to Port took about 15 minutes. We pulled right up next to the Minerva and made our way to the gangway for embarkation. This again was a breeze. We had our photo taken for the embarkation/disembarkation card and I was handed my room key, yes room key, no card to swipe, just a good, old fashioned key and lock. I had been allocated a cabin located forward on Bridge deck with 2 small port holes. The cabin was pretty well appointed with a good amount of storage space consisting of a large wardrobe, plenty of deep draws in the bedside table and TV stand, along with a few shelves to the side of the desk/vanity area. The plug sockets in the cabin were three pin UK and a hairdryer was provided along with binoculars and a safe. My bed was comfortable but rather basic, no sumptuous pillows or goose down duvets but comfy all the same. The cabin had a flat screen TV which played a few films on a loop over the duration of the cruise. You could also watch the lectures on it if you preferred to do so in your cabin, as opposed to the lounge. The bathroom had a corner shower (with curtain, not glass) which was nice and powerful, loo and one sink, There was good storage space in the bathroom but the room was very small and a bit of a squeeze. Since the recent refurbishment, and due to demand the MV Minerva has increased the amount of balcony cabins avaiable, it now now has 73% outside cabins including 23% balcony cabins.
After a quick look around the cabin I unpacked, showered and got dressed for our cocktail party. This evening my group and I ate in the Veranda Restaurant which is the self-service option. Both evening options are open dining to allow you to dine with who you like, when you like. I helped myself to all of the lovely fresh salad options including buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes, Greek salad, olives, parma ham and more. For my main I had the steak and kidney pie with lashings of gravy (how British), it was delicious. I somehow managed to find a little bit of room for dessert so devoured a selection of different chesses. Did I mention the captain, Giovanni Biasutti joined us for dinner? He was a really lovely, genuine captain who made us feel incredibly welcome. We all had a very enjoyable dinner and went to bed full, happy and a little tipsy.