Luxury travel visionary and icon Valerie Ann Wilson (Founder and CEO of Valerie Wilson Travel) to be Godmother of the cultural expedition cruise pioneer’s third purpose-designed expedition cruise ship at ceremony on 4th of May 2023.
NICOSIA, CYPRUS – Swan Hellenic announced that the naming ceremony of its third and largest ice-class cultural expedition cruise ship, SH Diana, will take place in Amsterdam on the 4th of May.
The SH Diana, a new purpose-designed vessel, will be named by luxury travel visionary and icon Valerie Ann Wilson in the presence of Swan Hellenic Senior Management, local dignitaries, VIP guests, the media and members of the cruise and travel industries from around the world
Valerie’s key role in the naming ceremony underlines the strong relationships the renascent Swan Hellenic has already built across the United States. Renowned not only as the Founder and CEO of Valerie Wilson Travel, Valerie is also Chairman Emeritus of the Global Member Advisory Board of the Virtuoso global network of luxury travel advisors, and Chairman Emeritus to the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Committee. Valerie has earned countless awards including “Lifetime Achievement” from Virtuoso and Travel Weekly. Valerie Wilson Travel is proud to be part of FROSCH, a Chase company.
With over 40 years of experience in the travel industry and serving on almost every travel related advisory board during her career, Valerie’s influence remains impactful around the globe and throughout her beloved travel community. Valerie is committed to her true belief that there is no greater power than providing first-hand knowledge and sharing experiences with clients and industry colleagues, while keeping the founding principles of integrity, trust and loyalty as the cornerstones of her business.
Following the high-profile events and entertainment after the naming ceremony, Valerie will remain on board as a VIP group host during SH Diana’s maiden cruise to Tromso, “Norway Explored,” sailing on the evening of May 4th.
Having visited Germany’s Heligoland archipelago, SH Diana will call at Mandal, the southernmost town in Norway, and start making her way up almost the entire Norwegian coast. Benefiting from expert insights throughout, her guests will explore its longest, deepest, and most dramatic fjords, remote lakes, historic stave churches and charismatic fishing ports on their way to Tromso, Gateway to the Arctic.
Dr Terje Leiren will be accompanying the maiden cultural expedition cruise throughout, sharing his expert knowledge, insights and company with the guests on board. Terje Leiren is Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies and History at the University of Washington, Seattle, and was the University’s first holder of the Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies (2007-2017). Terje gained his Ph.D. in history at the University of North Texas and taught at the University of Oslo before joining the University of Washington in 1977. He served as Co-General Editor of the University of Washington Press book series, “New Directions in Scandinavian Studies”, and is the author of four books and over 40 academic articles on Scandinavian history. He has also contributed to several television documentary programmes broadcast on PBS and the History Channel on topics ranging from the Vikings to World War II.
Having completed her Arctic Season of 7 cultural expedition cruises, SH Diana will make her way back down the western seaboard to the Mediterranean, marking Swan Hellenic’s historic return to the region for which the concept of cultural expedition cruising was originally created. Then she will go further, taking it worldwide as she continues through the Suez Canal to the Paradise Islands, Madagascar and Southern Africa on her way to Antarctica.
SH Diana is the third and largest in a series of three elegant, high ice-class, cultural expedition cruise vessels made for authentic discovery experiences worldwide, with a strong bias for extreme latitude areas. SH Diana features a 4.6-megawatt diesel-electric propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction and a PC6 ice-strengthened hull with extra-large stabilisers for exceptional passenger comfort. At 125 m, the 12,100-ton vessel has been specially designed to explore the most inspiring and inaccessible places on the planet.
SH Diana, like her sister ships SH Minerva and SH Vega, has been designed to meet the latest environmental regulations and is completely self-sufficient for up to 40 days or 8,000 nautical miles. Preparations have been made to implement zero-emission battery technology which would also make it possible to operate silently in port, marine reserves, and other sensitive natural areas. The vessels are equipped with exhaust gas cleaning, advanced wastewater treatment systems and the waste storage facilities required for operating in sensitive polar areas.
Providing spacious 5-star accommodation for 192 guests in 96 spacious staterooms and suites, the vast majority with large balconies, SH Diana is operated by an onboard team of 141 to provide the highest levels of personal service.
Distinguished by the same elegant interior design as her acclaimed sister ships, with open-plan interiors, unobstructed sea views and extensive deck areas, there are nevertheless certain key differences, salient among them a dedicated presentation and lecture theatre overlooking the lounge and on-board tender boats to take guests ashore in addition to the customary expedition zodiacs. Like her siblings, SH Diana will feature a state-of-the-art gym, spa, panoramic sauna, superbly equipped restaurant and cellar, club room and swimming pool with poolside grill.
Swan Hellenic CEO Andrea Zito commented: “We’re truly honoured to have Valerie as Godmother to this very special new ship, considering her iconic status in the US travel industry and the importance of the US market for Swan Hellenic. SH Diana proudly takes us back to where our story began, while also opening a new chapter that takes cultural expedition cruising worldwide in exceptional comfort and style.”
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