Today, Swan Hellenic announced the details for the naming ceremony of its newest and largest expedition cruise ship, SH Diana. The ceremony for the cruise line’s third ice-class vessel will take place on May 4, 2023, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The brand-new SH Diana will get to call the luxury travel mogul and icon Valerie Ann Wilson, her godmother. Along with Wilson, Swan Hellenic Senior Management, local dignitaries, media, VIP guests, and members of the cruise & travel industries from all over the globe will be in attendance. 

Wilson’s Extensive Industry Experience

Swan Hellenic’s decision to select Valerie Ann Wilson as SH Diana’s godmother isn’t much of a surprise. Wilson is the Founder and CEO of Valerie Wilson Travel, which is a part of the Chase company, FROSCH.  She is also the Chairman Emeritus of the Global Member Advisory Board of the Virtuoso global network of luxury travel advisors and the Chairman Emeritus of the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Committee. The travel industry icon has been nominated for countless awards and won awards like the “Lifetime Achievement” award from Virtuoso and Travel Weekly. 

Thanks to her over 40 years of experience in the industry, Valerie’s influence on the travel community is insurmountable. Wilson has served on nearly every travel-related advisory board throughout her expansive career. Her commitment to sharing experiences and knowledge with her clients and colleagues has made her one of the most beloved figures in the travel industry. Wilson is widely viewed as a model for others in the industry to emulate largely because of her efforts to maintain trust, loyalty, and integrity as the cornerstone of her business & brand. 

After the official naming ceremony, Wilson will remain onboard during SH Diana’s maiden cruise to the Tromso, “Norway Explored,” sailing on departing on May 4. She will take on the role of VIP group host during the sailing. 

Valerie Ann Wilson

SH Diana’s Maiden Voyage 

SH Diana will stop in Mandal, the southernmost town in Norway, and continue sailing through nearly the entire Norwegian Coast. Throughout the sailing, guests will gain expert insight into the region’s longest and deepest fjords, rarely visited lakes, historical stave churches, and renowned fishing ports while heading to Tromso, also known as the Gateway to the Arctic. 

Dr. Terje Leiren, an expert and professor, will also be onboard during SH Diana’s Maiden Voyage to share his expertise and insights with the guests. Dr. Leiren is a Professor Emeritus of Scandinavian Studies and History at the University of Washington, Seattle, and is the University’s first holder of the Sverre Arestad Endowed Chair in Norwegian Studies from 2007 to 2017. Dr. Leiren obtained his Ph.D. in history at the University of North Texas and was a professor at the University of Oslo shortly before joining the University of Washington staff in 1977. 

Dr. Terje Leiren served as Co-General Editor of the University of Washington Press book series, “New Directions in Scandinavian Studies.” He is also the author of 4 books and more than 40 academic articles based on Scandinavian history. In addition, Dr. Leiren worked on numerous television documentary programs sharing his expertise on subjects such as the history of Vikings and World War II. These programs were broadcasted on PBS and the History Channel. 

SH Diana has recently finished her Arctic cruising season, consisting of 7 cultural expedition cruises. After her maiden voyage, the new vessel will head down the western seaboard to the Mediterranean. The cruise line is excited to be back in the Mediterranean, home to the origination of Swan Hellenic’s concept of cultural expedition cruising. Shortly after, she’ll travel to other destinations around the world, like the Suez Canal, the Paradise Islands, Madagascar, and Southern Africa, before heading to Antarctica. 

SH Diana’s Design 

The third and largest ship in Swan Hellenic’s high ice-class fleet, SH Diana was designed for discovery expeditions in extreme latitude regions worldwide. SH Diana measures 125 m and weighs 12,100 tons. The new vessel includes a 4.6-megawatt diesel-electric propulsion system with selective catalytic reduction and a PC6 ice-strengthened hull fit with massive stabilisers designed for maximum passenger comfort. SH Diana has been specifically designed to offer travelers experiences like none other in some of the most rarely visited destinations throughout the world. 

Her design is similar to her sister ships, SH Minerva and SH Vega, and adheres to all the latest environmental regulations. SH Diana can be completely self-sufficient for up to 40 days or 8,000 nautical miles. Future plans for the new vessel intend to implement zero-emission battery technology, making it possible to silently operate in ports, marine reserves, and other invaluable natural areas. All of Swan Hellenic’s ships are designed with modern wastewater treatment systems, exhaust gas cleaning, and waste storage facilities that are designed to operate in polar areas.  

SH Diana’s design is complete with open-concept spaces, unmatched sea views, and expansive deck areas. She also has a gym, spa, comprehensive sauna, a restaurant and cellar, club room, and a swimming pool with a poolside grill. However, there are some key differences between the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet like a dedicated lecture & presentation theatre and on-board tender boats for easy access to the shore for planned zodiac expeditions. 

SH Diana has a maximum occupancy of 192 guests in her 96 staterooms and suites. Most of the rooms feature large balconies with unobstructed ocean views. The vessel is managed by a 141-member onboard team to provide guests with customizable and impeccable service while onboard.  

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.”