Swan Hellenic will be cruising the Red Sea to Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan during the coming 2023 cruise season, as well as South Africa and other destinations on the continent.
The boutique luxury cruise line will be deploying two of its ships in the Middle East and Africa during 2023, with the brand-new SH Vega sailing from Cape Town to West Africa, and SH Diana cruising to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan.
SH Diana will also sail a 21-night Atlantic cruise from Cape Town in 2023, as well as a North African voyage in the Mediterranean, while SH Vega will cruise several bespoke itineraries on the West African coast and Atlantic Islands.
SH Vega, Swan Hellenic’s brand new, five-star, Scandinavian design boutique cruise ship will kick things off in Africa with a cruise from Cape Town in South Africa to Luanda in Angola on March 25th, 2023. Prices start at $9,939 per person for two guests sharing a cabin.
The ship, which is named after the first ship to cross the Arctic Northeast Passage in 1880, will visit Luderitz and Walvis Bay in Namibia, as well as Namibie in Angola, before arriving in the country’s capital port city of Luanda.
“Cruising the west coast of the Southern Region of Africa from Cape Town up to Luanda on a boutique expedition ship provides a fascinating insight into a continent with so many different aspects,” says Swan Hellenic.
“From the harsh conditions of the Namib desert to unspoilt Angolan coastlines, spotting flamingos, pelicans, whales and dolphins, we get to truly experience these exquisite landscapes before ending our cruise in the Portuguese-influenced city of Luanda,” it adds.
This 10-night voyage is one of two scheduled Cape Town departures for Swan Hellenic during the year. On November 14th, 2023, the even newer (she’s still under construction) SH Diana will depart Cape Town for a 21-night voyage to Ushuaia in Argentina, on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, the southernmost tip of South America. Prices start at $15,276 per person for two guests sharing a cabin.
The voyage features expeditionary port calls to some of the world’s most remote islands in Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, taking in the sights of Antarctica, as well as South Georgia.
“You will visit beaches crammed with penguins which will stir the emotions,” says Swan Hellenic. “The exceptional landscape and incredible wildlife encounters make your voyage the ultimate Southern Atlantic trip.”
When it comes to the Red Sea and Arabia, SH Diana’s 13-night voyage on October 3rd, 2023, is a cruise into the heart of the Holy Land and ancient trade routes of intrigue and discovery. Prices start at $8,101 per person for two guests sharing a cabin.
She’ll depart Limassol and cruise the Mediterranean bound for Port Said, Egypt’s primary Mediterranean port. Built in 1859, it served as the staging ground for the construction of the iconic Suez Canal, which SH Diana transits the following day, bound for the Egyptian resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh.
Then it’s on to Aqaba, the gateway to the ancient city of Petra, carved into the rock of the Al Siq canyon, before crossing the Red Sea to Egypt’s port of Safaga, another gateway port. Safaga is just a few hours from Luxor, which sits on the site of ancient Thebes, the pharaohs’ capital at the height of their power, during the 16th–11th centuries B.C.
More UNESCO World Heritage Sites await in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, a gateway to Al’ Ula, possibly Saudi Arabia’s most iconic tourist attraction, as well as the archaeological site of Hegra (also called Mada’in Saleh). But Yanbu old town is an attraction in itself, home to traditional coral stone Arabian houses, and the former home of T.E. Lawrence, otherwise known as Lawrence of Arabia.
“You have plenty of time to discover the charms of the Red Sea, from the beauty of diving in its waters, to the intriguing ports of Sharm El-Sheikh, Aqaba and Safaga, perhaps travelling inland to visit ancient sites such as Cairo, Luxor and Petra,” says Swan Hellenic. “Then it’s time to call in to Saudi Arabia, at the holy city of Medina before exploring some prime diving around Marmar Island. Finally we arrive in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s jewel.”
While these three cruises are the only ones with departures from South Africa, or cruises to ports in the Middle East, the cruise line has another seven itineraries featuring African ports of call. After her Cape Town to Angola cruise, SH Vega will cruise from Luanda to Accra in Ghana, and then from Ghana to Dakar in Senegal, before setting off on a cruise to Lisbon via Tenerife.
Later in the year, in August, SH Diana will be cruising from Lisbon to Cyprus, visiting ports along the North African Mediterranean coast, and in October she’ll be cruising from the Seychelles to Mombasa in Kenya, before departing Kenya for a voyage down the east African coast to Maputo in Mozambique.