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Readers may remember the demise of Swan Hellenic almost two years ago. The line, along with Voyages of Discovery, was owned by All Leisure Group which went out of business in early 2017. A number of the All Leisure Group brands including the two cruise lines were bought by G Adventures at that time. Several of the brands taken over, e.g. Travelsphere, were a good fit with G Adventures’ own brand but the cruise lines seemed to be poorer fit. While nothing was said about a future for Voyages of Discovery, there was an undertaking from G Adventures that they would bring Swan Hellenic back to the market.

Not long after the takeover the Swan Hellenic website began to feature a “new owners” page, but that hasn’t been updated for about 18 months so sadly there doesn’t seem to have been any progress on a relaunch so far. I contacted G Adventures earlier today and was told by their Global PR Lead that “plans are still underway”. However, there don’t seem to be any concrete plans for 2019 as yet, so I’m not hopeful.

To be honest, as I said above and in one of my earlier posts on this topic, running a cruise line doesn’t seem to fit with G Adventures’ principal activities. They mainly provide small group adventure travel holidays, and do so very well, I understand, but arranging for groups of (mainly) young people to have minimal facilities holidays in wild places is quite different from running a cruise line.

But I mustn’t criticise. I think the travel industry operates in a very hard and competitive market, and it must be very difficult to make and maintain your mark in it. G Adventures are clearly doing the right things for their core customers as they are still in business. Quite possibly the takeover of Travelsphere strengthened them, and it might be that in order to achieve that they had to take the cruise lines as well. It’s also the case that the ‘historical learning’ cruise market might have been over-supplied by the beginning of 2017 – in addition to Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery, there was another line, Voyages to Antiquity, active in the same market, and they are still in business. It might be that Swan Hellenic will never return.

It’s hard to remember that from 2003 to 2006 or 2007, Swan Hellenic was sailing with an R ship, R Eight, as ‘Minerva II’. Things must have looked good then. It didn’t last – when it became clear that the R ships could find a new customer base, Carnival  (who owned Swan Hellenic via their ownership of P&O) took Minerva II away (thus leaving Swan Hellenic without a ship for a year or so!) and gave her to Princess – she sailed for them as Royal Princess. Subsequently she sailed as Adonia for P&O and was much-loved as such, before going to fathom, and then being sold, unexpectedly, to the Royal Caribbean group for which she is now sailing as Azamara Pursuit.

 

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