First small cruiser in UK set to lift anchor

Minerva – billed as the UK’s first small cruise ship – sets sail on Sunday, designed by Winch Projects and RPW Architects and Designers.

The 12 000 ton, 128m-long Minerva is “definitely the first small cruise ship custom-built for the UK market”, according to a spokesman from Swan Hellenic, which is launching the ship. It will carry 310 passengers.

Ship design consultancy Winch Projects is sister company to London’s Andrew Winch Designs. It won the exterior design project in a credentials pitch. RPW also participated in a credentials pitch to design the ship’s interior, and all signage is designed in-house by Swan Hellenic.

“We want to reach a market of British cruising traditionalists, an ethos of old-fashioned cruise vessels, a lifestyle of yesterday,” says Andrew Winch, managing director of both Winch Projects and Andrew Winch Designs.

Minerva was converted from a mission-built frame. Winch designed a promenade deck, a “popular aspect of cruise ships sadly neglected in modern liners”, he says. Minerva’s interior includes a smoking room, gym and 90-seat auditorium.

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