Minerva (then Explorer II) at anchor at Grytviken, South Georgia in November 2007.
|Port of registry:||Nassau, Bahamas|
|In service:||April 29, 1996|
|Length:||436 ft (133 m)|
|Beam:||66.5 ft (20.3 m)|
|Draught:||18.9 ft (5.8 m)|
|Decks:||6 (passenger decks)|
|Speed:||15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)|
The first Minerva is a cruise ship built in 1989, and originally intended as a Soviet research vessel, the Okean. The deal to purchase her fell through and she was purchased by Swan Hellenic (at the time a subsidiary of P&O Cruises) in 1996, and renamed Minerva. She is 436 feet long, has a beam of 65.6 feet and measures 12,500 GT. She sailed with Swan Hellenic until her lease ran out in 2003. She briefly sailed with Saga Cruises as the Saga Pearl, and was then chartered to Abercrombie & Kent as the Explorer II, making voyages to Antarctica and South America from December to April with up to 198 passengers.
 From May to November, she sailed for the German-owned travel company Phoenix Reisen as the Alexander von Humboldt. In July 2007 it was announced that the ship has been acquired by the re-launched Swan Hellenic line and the name will revert to Minerva.
In early 2012, the Minerva received a multimillion pound, 83-day refit. During the refit, she received additional 32 balconies to existing cabins, increasing the number of balcony suites to 23% of all cabin accommodation, a new forward facing observation lounge and bar - the Orpheus Lounge - on the top deck, providing guests with expansive panoramic views, a dedicated internet lounge, an extension to the popular Shackleton Bar where guests can enjoy pre dinner drinks, new outdoor walk round promenade deck and finally, new en-suite facilities in every cabin. 
- Ward, Douglas. Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships 2005-2007. Berlitz.
- "MV Minerva – Facts & Figures". Swan Hellenic.
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