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SH Vega begins inaugural Arctic season

SH Vega - like its twin SH Minerva - is designed to meet the latest environmental regulations. It will sail areas of the Svalbard Archipelago that are mostly inaccessible.
Swan Hellenic’s brand new ship SH Vega set sail from Tromsø, Norway yesterday kicking off its inaugural Arctic season.

The expedition vessel embarks on an 11-day exploration of the Svalbard Archipelago, sailing remote areas that will allow passengers to see mountains, glaciers and fjords, unique flora, seabirds and mammals. 

Arctic tern, little auk, northern fulmar, thick-billed murre and black-legged kittiwake may be spotted or polar bears, reindeer and Arctic fox, whales, dolphins, seals and walruses. Lectures delivered by a skilled expedition team will be held onboard throughout the voyage. 

Accommodating 152 passengers in 76 spacious staterooms and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, SH Vega is managed by an onboard team of 120. Philipp Reutener, who created the Swan Hellenic onboard experience for SH Minerva, is hotel director. Executive chef Avhier Singh, who also comes across from SH Minerva, is responsible for presenting fresh and curated daily dishes including original Italian and Asian fusion dishes created by award-winning consultant chefs Andrea Ribaldone and Sang Keun Oh.

At the helm is capt. Tuomo Leskinen.

‘Innovative and stylish’

Remarked Andrea Zito, CEO, Swan Hellenic, ‘We are proud to bring our unique cultural expedition cruises to the Arctic for the first time, welcoming Swan Hellenic enthusiasts new and old aboard our elegant second new ship to see what others don’t. 

‘Wowed by the relaxed comfort of her innovative and stylish design, they’ll soon realise that everything is actually focused on fully experiencing the wonderful world outside. We know they’ll love it and look forward to seeing the proof on their faces.’ 

Inaugural season

Departing Tromsø again on July 30, SH Vega will continue to sail the Arctic, from the Svalbard Archipelago and Iceland’s landscapes of ice and fire to Greenland, the Northwest Passage and the wilds of Northern Canada. In late Autumn, the ship will make its way down the US East Coast over 12 days, taking in everything from New York, Norfolk and Charleston to Miami. 

From November, SH Vega will offer a range of 11- to 21-day cultural expedition cruises of Antarctica through to March 2023, when she sails up the West Coast of Africa to the Canary Islands and Western Europe, immersing passengers in the Celtic lands of Britain and Ireland on the way to its second Arctic season. 

This will conclude with a crossing from Greenland to Nova Scotia, followed by the Caribbean and then Brazil in October 2023.

Swan Hellenic's Zito discussed the line’s far-flung 2023 itineraries and challenges last week while onboard the ship, as it embarked on a short naming day voyage exclusively for media and representatives from the travel trade. 

SH Vega 

SH Vega, whose naming ceremony was held July 11 in Helsinki, Finland, is the second in a series of three, high ice-class, expedition cruise vessels designed to operate in extreme latitude areas.

The 10,600gt ship has a 5MW diesel-electric propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction and a PC5 ice-strengthened hull with extra-large stabilisers for passenger comfort. Preparations have been made to implement battery technology, which would also make it possible to operate silently. 

Like its sister ship SH Minerva, the 113mtr vessel is self-sufficient for up to 40 days or 8,000nmi at sea. Both vessels are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning, advanced wastewater treatment systems and the waste storage facilities required for operating in sensitive polar areas.

SH Minerva and SH Vega will be joined early next year by the slightly larger SH Diana, which is under construction at Helsinki Shipyard.