Swan Hellenic Inspires With Explorations of the Heart of Africa

Swan Hellenic’s four early 2024 cultural expedition cruises along the west coast of Africa are already generating a real buzz of excitement and selling fast. Exploring from Cape Town to Dakar, they each offer powerful experiences of Africa’s unique wildlife and rich cultures, from coastal elephants to the lakeside dwellings of Benin and pristine Bijagos Archipelago.

Benin and pristine Bijagos Archipelago, Swan Hellenic

Swan Hellenic is clearly striking a chord in its mission to take adventurous travellers beyond the norm to see what others don’t, having just announced that there is already limited availability for two of its four mould-breaking cultural expedition cruises of Southwest and West Africa between March and May 2024. Those cruises have been already completed successfully in 2023 and are now refined in terms of itinerary and shore excursion offerings.

As the pioneer of cultural expedition cruising, Swan Hellenic is the choice of adventurous minds across the generations seeking in-depth exploration of the Arctic, Antarctic and Rest of the World – from Brazil to the Bijagós Archipelago, Norway to Nova Scotia, Argentina to Africa, and Madagascar to the Mediterranean.

SH Vega is the second Scandi-design boutique ship in its fleet, accommodating 152 guests in 76 spacious suites and staterooms, the majority with large balconies.

The first cruise in the 2024 Africa series is Coastal Treasures of Southwest Africa, which departs Cape Town on 25 March for a 13-night voyage to Luanda that offers an astonishing range of experiences, from hot air ballooning over the Namib Special Nature Reserve desert to expeditions in Walvis Bay kayaking with the seal.

The Unspoilt Wilds of Southwest Africa cruise follows, sailing from Luanda for Tema on 4 April 2024 and touching 7 countries in 13-night. Offering encounters with Congo’s and Gabon extraordinary coastal national parks  wildlife, including orangutans, gorillas and elephants, together with immersive experiences of the Ganvie lake village in Benin and an authentic animist Voodoo ceremony in Togo, it should come as no surprise that this cultural expedition cruise is selling fast.

Crucibles of West Africa leaves Tema for Dakar on 17 April, taking guests on a 13-night odyssey of contrasts, from historic strongholds of the slave, gold and ivory trades to the natural paradise of the Bijagos Archipelago, often described as the Maldives of Africa but also an exceptional anthropological experience. Demand for this cultural expedition cruise has, unsurprisingly, also been exceptionally high.

Pristine Islands of West Africa concludes the series to focus exclusively on the Bijagos Islands, departing from Dakar on 30 April 2024 for an 8-night exploration of its pristine islands, now a protected UNESCO biosphere reserve. Having remained largely unaffected by colonial influence, the local culture retains many traditional features, including coming-of-age ceremonies like the Difuntu for women and Fanado for men.

Offering exceptional personalisation and unrepeated itineraries, these cultural expedition cruises can be daisy-chained as desired to create one-of-a-kind voyages of exploration.

Patrizia Iantorno, Chief Commercial Officer of Swan Hellenic, says: “We’re proud and delighted that these expert-designed African cultural expedition cruises have met with such an enthusiastic response. Combining in-depth encounters with pristine nature, extraordinary wildlife and unique cultures, they each offer exceptional experiences and two already have limited availability. So anyone inspired to join us, please book without delay to avoid disappointment”.


For personal assistance with a Swan Hellenic cruise please email Heidi@AllThingsCruise.com // See cruises here Swan Hellenic Cruises (cruisecompete.com)

About Swan Hellenic

Swan Hellenic was relaunched in July 2020 to proudly advance the spirit of cultural expedition cruising the company pioneered in the 1950s. Building on its British roots, the new company has a distinctly cosmopolitan culture dedicated to providing guests with global opportunities to see what others don’t.

Swan Hellenic’s purpose-built boutique ships feature elegant Scandi-design interiors, extensive outdoor spaces and dedicated expedition facilities. SH Minerva and SH Vega, two 5-star Polar Code PC 5 expedition cruise ships with ice-strengthened hulls, launched in December 2021 and July 2022. Both accommodate 152 guests in 76 spacious suites and staterooms, the majority with large balconies. A slightly larger PC 6 ice-class vessel, SH Diana, accommodating 192 guests in the same distinctive comfort and style in 96 staterooms and suites, was launched in April 2023.

While sharing the unique design features of her sister ships, SH Diana also introduces certain key enhancements, including a dedicated presentation and lecture theatre overlooking the lounge, and on-board Tender boats to take guests ashore in addition to and in greater comfort than the customary expedition Zodiacs. Like her siblings, SH Diana features a state-of-the-art gym, spa, panoramic sauna, club room and swimming pool with poolside grill.

All three ships feature three dining venues – the Swan Restaurant, Club Lounge and Pool Bar & Grill – and are built in full compliance with SOLAS Safe Return to Port requirements. Dedicated to guests with a passion for adventure and cultural exploration, the company’s meticulously planned itineraries explore the wild landscapes, wildlife, peoples and cultures of the world’s less travelled and most historic regions.

The crews each include a team of 12 seasoned expedition guides, expert speakers and lecturers, for a total complement of 120 and 140 persons respectively, offering outstanding staff-to-guest ratios to deliver the highest standards of attentive personal service.

Swan Hellenic’s cultural expedition cruises have always been distinguished by the company, guidance and expert lectures of famous explorers, seasoned expedition guides and leading authorities in their fields. Now, many of the cruises are also enriched by partnerships with unique organisations to bring very different experts on board in the same way, including JRE-Jeunes Restaurateurs, Chopra and the SETI Institute.

Maris Culinary Discovery at Sea brings a different JRE gourmet chef aboard each in a series of exclusive cruises which take guests on a parallel voyage of gastronomic discovery. Chopra Explore & Restore well-being voyages pair inward journeys with outward exploration, resulting in a deeply enriching, healing experience with impacts that last long after the voyage has concluded. While the SETI Explore Space at Sea Series brings a different world-renowned scientist from the SETI Institute aboard each cruise to provide guests with expert insights into the history and latest discoveries in astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology and planetary science, as well as the quest to find other forms of life within and beyond our solar system.

On many cruises, guests can also participate in Swan Hellenic’s Citizen Science partnerships, contributing valuable data obtained during their expeditions and on board, reporting cloud data with NASA, recording whale sightings with Happywhale, monitoring phytoplankton with the Secchi Disk Study, and Antarctic seabird numbers with Stony Brook University.

Headquartered in Cyprus with offices in London, Dusseldorf, Monaco, Fort Lauderdale (serving the North American market), Hong Kong (serving Greater China, India and South-East Asia), Sydney (serving Australia-New Zealand) and Copenhagen (serving Scandinavia and Iceland), together with a partnership serving Japan, Swan Hellenic supports the travel trade with local specialist partners to provide customers with expert personal service worldwide.

Cover photo: SH Vega, Swan Hellenic

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For personal assistance with a Swan Hellenic cruise please email Heidi@AllThingsCruise.com // See cruises here Swan Hellenic Cruises (cruisecompete.com)

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