Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Cruises
Reload this Page >

Swan Hellenic - Minerva II - Eastern Med - advice please

Swan Hellenic - Minerva II - Eastern Med - advice please

Sep 2nd, 2003, 08:56 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
Swan Hellenic - Minerva II - Eastern Med - advice please

My mother and I are thinking of booking a cruise on Swan Hellenic's Minerva II. I'd like advice from those who know the line as to whether you think it might suit us.

By way of background, I will tell you what we did not like about a recent experience on a 'premium' line, noting however that the itinerary, service, accommodation, and pools were excellent.

What we did not like, however, was the fact that there were too many passengers and many were of the 'baseball-cap-backwards' variety; there was smoking allowed in some of the public areas; the food, though showy, was mediocre; the entertainment was vulgar; the casino, art auctions and spa held no appeal; the library was rarely open for business; and the shore excursions were mindless (so we organized our own, and this worked well).

Swan Hellenic, however, with its advertised country-house atmosphere and cultural/educational orientation sounds as though it might be better suited for us.

I'd certainly appreciate hearing the general views of those who have sailed with Swan-Hellenic as to whether it lives up to its advertising !

I'd also appreciate some specific information on:
a) the Swan Hellenic smoking policy. This is because we are both sensitive to tobacco smoke and would like to avoid it as much as possible
b) whether room service is available for at least the evening meals. This is because my mother tires easily, and would prefer not to 'go out' for dinner.

Many thanks.
curiousx is offline  
Sep 5th, 2003, 06:20 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 213
I have sailed with Swan Hellenic, on the old Minerva. It was one of the bet cruises of my life. There were no children on the ship. In fact, almost all the passengers were elderly Brits. I, at 60, was one of the youngest people aboard. I loved it. This may be the most well-run cruise line at sea. Food is wonderful, the staff is fantastic, the atmosphere is very refined. The lectures were excellent, almost all the shore excursions are included, the library is open all the time (and was the heart of the ship). Ther was no casino, and the entertainment consisted of a piano duo and a show one night by the ship's crew. Everyone was in bed by 10:00. Feel free to email me for more information.
virgo839 is offline  
Sep 7th, 2003, 12:02 PM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
Thanks awfully for the great info - this really sounds like our kind of place. And thanks also for the offer to email you directly. I expect you will be hearing from me !

BTW I note that the 'new' Minerva appears to have a casino. Too bad.
curiousx is offline  
Sep 8th, 2003, 05:08 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 213
It's not true about the casino. The "new" Minerva II used to be a Renaissance ship, and IT had a casino. I believe that they took it out and replaced it with the Library. I have a new brochure from them, and it does not show a casino.
virgo839 is offline  
Sep 9th, 2003, 06:14 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
no casino after all - what good news - thank you for the clarification!
curiousx is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 04:12 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
to virgo 839 - an update - as you will see from another post, we've decided on Seabourn for this year, but next September we are planning an extended family cruise with Swan Hellenic in the Eastern Mediterranean. I hope you will be able to stand me peppering you with questions.
curiousx is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 09:46 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 213
Happy to help. Feel free to email me directly: [email protected].
virgo839 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 01:04 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6
My husband and I (early 60's) cruised on Minerva II last summer (British Isles tour) and have reservations for a cruise from Istanbul to Venice in June. We enjoyed Minerva II very much. The lectures are enlightening, the included tours great.

I can't remember, but will go and check my stuff from last year, but I think room service is available...if not, you can always go to the buffet line and do it yourself.

As to the smoking--we were delighted when the pre-trip info said the ship was non-smoking; however, although that was their original intention, they had so many complaints, they have designated several smoking sections in the bars--for cigar smokers as well as cigarettes. I, too, am very sensitive to smoke and several times had to leave my favorite spot in the lounge because of the smoke. Twice we requested the cigar smoker to go outside, and he, rather ungraciously, complied. There are lots of smoke-free areas, such as the delightful library. There are almost always jigsaw puzzles in the works throughout the ship, with folks stopping by to work for a while.

There is no casino, and the entertainment is low-key; some put on by the crew, some locally imported (such as Irish dancers in Dublin), so I would think the same thing would be true in the Med.

If I think of anything else or you have other questions, I will check back.
1phoebe is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 01:17 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 6
In addition, the passengers were about 50/50 Brit and American. Most of the Brits had previously travelled on the Minerva I which was only 300 passengers, and they were not very happy with the larger size, nor the fact that there were so many Americans. But the ones we got to know on an individual basis were just delightful.

BTW, on our critique, we complained about the smoking, saying that their info had been misleading and if they were going to continue to appeal to US travellers, they needed to tighten up the smoking requirements.

Having said that, we loved the Minerva II and, as I said, are booked for a return trip. The food was tasty and nicely served and displayed. Afternoon tea was ever so nice--we would highly recommend it to you. There were several mother-daughter travellers on our trip.

We did occasionally opt for our own excursions (in places where we had been before or had specific things we wanted to see that were not included), but enjoyed all but one of theirs that we chose.

I hope this has been helpful.
1phoebe is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 01:28 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 277
Curiousx, Swan Hellenic's Minerva sounds like an interesting ship that I know NOTHING about but you've perked my interest. I'd love to hear more.

I must say though....I think that most cruiselines are just getting back on their feet after 9/11 and it would seem very difficult to stay in business if the ships didn't allow smoking or have casinos. They need to appeal to the majority and the groups where within a group cruising together of say 2 or 3 couple, chances are very good that there is at least one smoker in the bunch and probably several in the group that enjoy a night or two in the casino.

I have heard that Oceania is another cruiseline that has limited smoking areas (I don't think passengers are even allowed to smoke in their own cabins!!). This might be another cruiseline to look into. I've heard they're offering good pricing since they're relatively new.

By the way, which premium cruiseline were you on where you were disappointed?? The premium lines that pop into my mind are Silverseas, Radisson, Seabourn and Crystal...but I can't imagine you being disappointed in the food on any of those lines??
traveller333 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 02:04 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
Thanks, 1phoebe, for your informative post - you have re-piqued my interest in Minerva II.

And, Traveller333, thanks for your observations re the economic challenges of running a non-smoking ship.

As mentioned above, we did choose Seabourn over Minerva and loved every minute aboard.

Smoking on Seabourn was confined to smoking areas and people complied with this. The casino was small and elegant.

As you state, Seabourn is generally classed with Radisson, Silverseas, Crystal as a luxury 6 star line and our experience was certainly of that order. No complaints!

The premium 5 star line with which I was overall unimpressed was Princess. Never again (noting, however, that the itinerary, service, accommodation and pools were excellent).
curiousx is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 04:43 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 277
Got it....I didn't know Princess was considered a premium cruiseline...thus my confusion. Princess would never be in the same league as the Radisson, Seabourn, Silverseas lines.
traveller333 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2004, 06:01 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 546
traveller 333 - at least in the cruise literature I have looked at, Princess, Hall, Celebrity lines are generally called 'premium' or 5-star. Crystal, Seabourn, etc are called 'luxury', 'deluxe, or 6-star.

The other categories are I have seen used are mass market (like Carnival) and budget.

That said, I am now very suspicious of the word 'premium'!
curiousx is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2004, 10:59 PM
  #14  
loveopera
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Every year they seem to add stars to their classification. Three star used to mean the very best, still is in restaurants in France. Then we start to see five star resorts, and now in order to find the real premium cruise, we have to look for six stars. I predict Princess, Celebrity, HAL would be adding themselves one more star soon, and we consumer need to look for seven, eight stars to find the real one. I certainly didn't know Princess, the line you can pay me to go back again, once was once too often, was premium.
 
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
ozqueen
South America
4
Mar 20th, 2014 09:02 AM
travelbug1976
Cruises
21
Feb 23rd, 2008 08:46 AM
Birdie
United States
79
Aug 7th, 2005 04:46 PM
Lookie
Europe
13
Jan 3rd, 2001 09:23 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:03 AM.