Small ship cruising specialist Swan Hellenic has launched its Summer 2011 Cruise Program on their dedicated North America website

The website features a host of exciting and fresh destinations and cruises that revisit classic Minerva itineraries, all of which uncover the soul of each port. With lead-in fares from $1,425 per person, guests can be assured of exceptional inclusive value – an integral part of Swan Hellenic’s ethos since 1954.

While Minerva will call at some of the world’s most celebrated cities such as St Petersburg, Venice, Bordeaux and Dubrovnik, her itineraries also visit new and lesser known ports that add depth to every itinerary. In 2011, Minerva will call at Rovinj and Pula, both on the Istrian Peninsula. Other “off the beaten track” ports include Crotone in the southern region of Calabria, Italy and Lazio – featured in the “An Italian Serenade” cruise beginning with an onboard overnight in Venice May 11, 2011.

Swan’s 2011 program will also return to some of the well-loved, lesser-known ports that Minerva has not visited for several years. Swan Hellenic takes pride in listening to guest feedback and requests regarding itineraries. Consequently Minerva will return to her roots, offering in-depth cruises to the Hellenic world, visiting some of the major sites such as the royal tombs of Vergina and the monasteries of Meteora, but also some of the smaller, less-visited Greek islands including Lesbos, Chios, Milos, Symi and Delos. Late summer will see Minerva make a complete circuit of the Black Sea with visits to Sinop in North Turkey, Batumi in Georgia and the ports of the Crimea, including the site of the “charge of the Light Brigade” near Balaclava.

Accompanying Swan’s inspiring range 2011 summer itineraries are bespoke podcasts from long serving and well respected Minerva Cruise Director, Paul Carter. This unique feature is a first for the cruise industry. Each podcast presents Paul’s expert insights and provides a personal narrative that will bring each itinerary to life. These commentaries, all voiced by Paul in his own distinctive style, are available to download from:

Equally new and exciting for Swan Hellenic’s 2011 summer season is that Minerva will now sail from the historic naval port of Portsmouth. What finer way to begin your Swan Hellenic cruise than by sailing away past the Historic Dockyard, the Old Portsmouth Waterfront, Victorian fortifications and the Isle of Wight.