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The Minerva has been to Guernsey many times. She was built in 1989 and was originally intended as a Soviet research vessel. The deal to purchase her fell through and she was purchased by Swan Hellenic (at the time a subsidiary of P&O Cruises) in 1996, and renamed Minerva.

She sailed with Swan Hellenic until her lease ran out in 2003. She briefly sailed with Saga Cruises as the Saga Pearl, and was then chartered to Abercrombie & Kent as the Explorer II, making voyages to Antarctica and South America.

In July 2007 it was announced that the ship had been acquired by the relaunched Swan Hellenic line and the name would revert to Minerva. In early 2012, the Minerva received a multimillion pound, 83-day refit.