Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review: Cruise & Maritime Voyages / Voyages Of Discovery / Swan Hellenic

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review
Cruise & Maritime Voyages will not continue to charter the 1976-built OCEAN COUNTESS (ex CUNARD COUNTESS, AWANI DREAM II, OLYMPIC COUNTESS, OLYMPIA COUNTESS, OCEAN COUNTESS, LILI MARLEEN, RUBY) as they have done for the last three years. The 17,593 gross ton ship operated its last departure on October 9th.

MV DISCOVERY at Sochi, Russia.  Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2009.
MV DISCOVERY at Sochi, Russia. Photo © Peter Knego 2009.

It will be replaced with another veteran, the 1971-built, 20,216 gross ton, 650-passenger DISCOVERY (ex ISLAND VENTURE, ISLAND PRINCESS, HYUNDAI PUNGAK, PLATINUM). Cruise & Maritime Voyages will continue their successful programs using the classic 1965-built MARCO POLO (ex ALEXANDR PUSHKIN) with a capacity for over 800 passengers.

VOYAGER rendering, courtesy Voyages of Discovery
VOYAGER rendering, courtesy Voyages of Discovery

Voyages Of Discovery added their second ship in December when the 1990-built, 15,343 gross ton VOYAGER (ex CROWN MONARCH, NAUTICAN, WALRUS, JULES VERNE, ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLT) joined the fleet. The 508-passenger vessel underwent a major refit at Portland, U.K., which included adding balconies and a new bow. Their other ship is the former Princess Cruise liner from 1971, the DISCOVERY (see above). That ship operated its last voyage for the company in October before undergoing an extended dry dock period this winter. When the vessel returns to service in February, 2013 it will be chartered to Cruise & Maritime Voyages for a five year period.

Both companies will jointly market the DISCOVERY. Voyages Of Discovery is owed by the All Leisure Group which also controls Swan Hellenic Cruises and ultra-luxury operator Hebridean Island Cruises. The parent company had a difficult year reporting an 11.2 million pound loss in the first six months of 2012.

Swan Hellenic completed an extensive three-month rebuilding of their MINERVA (ex OKEAN, MINERVA, SAGA PEARL, EXPLORER II, ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLT) which first joined the company, then a division of P&O, in 1996. It sailed for them until 2003 when Carnival Corporation eliminated the division. In 2007 the All Leisure Group reacquired the ship and revived the Swan Hellenic name in 2007. This was the first major refit for the MINERVA since the conversion of the 1989-built ship was completed by T. Mariotti, Genoa in 1996. A new observation lounge was added above the bridge, a new wrap-around promenade deck and 32 balconies were added to existing cabins during the refit which increased the gross tonnage to 12, 499 tons.


Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to  For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.