Monday, 3 October 2011

MV Minerva Cruise Ship and 12th Century Dover Castle, Inner Harbour, Kent, UK

The MV Minerva photographed from the Turret on the Admiralty Pier of the Western Docks at 4.02 pm on Wednesday, 28th July, 2010:

From Copenhagen (Denmark), going to Kirkwall (Orkney Islands). Owner: Swan Hellenic Cruises. IMO: 9144196. Ex-Okean, Saga Pearl, Explorer II, Alexander von Humboldt. View from Admiralty Pier Turret.
(Click this MS Minerva cruise ship text link to see the largest size)

The MS Minerva had previously been berthed at Cruise Terminal 1 on the Admiralty Pier (out-of-shot to the left) and is shown in the processs of completing an 180 degree turn (see thumbnail) whereupon she will head for the Western Entrance of Dover Harbour and the English Channel beyond.

The Minerva arrived from Copenhagen (Denmark) at the end of a 15-night, "Treasures of the Baltic" cruise. The passenger ship is now leaving port at the start of a 15-night, "Sagas of Fire & Ice" cruise with the following itinerary (schedule):

Kirkwall (Orkney Islands, Scotland), Lerwick (Shetland Islands, Scotland), Helmaey (Vestmannaeyjar Islands, Iceland), Reykjavik (Iceland), Grundarfjordur (Grundarfjörður, Iceland), Isafjordur (Ísafjörður, Iceland), Akureyri (Iceland), Thorshavn (Torshavn, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands, Denmark), and Edinburgh (Scotland).

A video from Swan Hellenic featuring the MV Minerva:

MV Minerva (1)

The first Minerva is a cruise ship built in 1989, and originally intended as a Soviet research vessel, the Okean. The deal to purchase her fell through and she was purchased by Swan Hellenic (at the time a subsidiary of P and O Cruises) in 1996, and renamed Minerva. She is 436 feet long, has a beam of 65.6 feet and measures 12,500 gross tons.

The ship 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 and Kent as the Explorer II, making voyages to Antarctica and South America from December to April with up to 198 passengers. From May to November, she sailed for the German-owned travel company Phoenix Reisen as the Alexander von Humboldt.

In July 2007 it was announced that the ship has been acquired by the re-launched Swan Hellenic line and the name reverted to Minerva.

Vessel details (1) (2):

Name: MS Minerva
Operator: Swan Hellenic Cruises
Port of registry: The Bahamas
In service: April 29, 1996
Status: In service
Tonnage: 12,500 GT
Length: 436 ft (133 m)
Beam: 66.5 ft (20.3 m)
Draught: 18.9 ft (5.8 m)
Decks: 6 (passenger decks)
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Stabilisers: retractable fin
Capacity: 350 passengers
Crew: 160 (mainly Filipino and Ukrainian)
Officers: British and European
Call Sign: SMGH
IMO: 9144196
MMSI: 309477000
Official MV Minerva webpage.
Official Swan Hellenic Cruises website

Elsewhere in the photo (1)

The area between the Admiralty Pier and the Prince of Wales Pier (behind and to the right of the ship) is called the Inner Harbour (ex-Commercial Harbour). Above the Prince of Wales Pier, the Outer Harbour (ex-Admiralty Harbour) extends as far as the out-of-shot Eastern Arm.

Dominating the skyline on the right of the photo is the Norman 12th Century Keep, or Great Tower, of Dover Castle.

The Keep, or Palace Tower, is 83 feet (25.3m) high and just under 100 feet (30m) square with walls up to 21 feet (6.5m) thick. The architect was 'Maurice the Engineer' (or Mason) and it was built between 1180-1185.

Below the Keep are the massive walls of the Inner Bailey (or Inner Curtain Wall), followed by Constable's Gate and other Towers of the Western Outer Curtain Wall. A Dover Listed Building and a Dover English Heritage site.

The white building behind the Minerva on the left is part of the Victorian (or Georgian) Waterloo Crescent on Marine Parade.

The main part of Waterloo Crescent is perhaps best known for once being the "White Cliffs Hotel" (named, of course, after the White Cliffs of Dover). It then became the "Churchill Hotel" until the beginning of 2010. The hotel is now the "Dover Marina Hotel and Spa" and opened as such in early 2011. Another part of Waterloo Crescent is Dover Harbour Board's "Harbour House".

Above the beige-coloured Premier Inn on the right is the Gatehouse of Henry VIII's coastal artillery installation known as the Mote's Bulwark (alt. Moat's Bulwark).

Built in 1539 as a timber revetted platform approached by tunnels in the cliff, the Mote's Bulwark was remodelled as a large semi-circular battery in around 1750 and then connected to the castle above via a tunnelled spiral staiway in 1856 (the Guildford Shaft).

Also see the Dover Castle and the Beach from the Prince of Wales Pier photo (not yet uploaded).

(1) Wikipedia entry for MV Minerva
(2) Marinetraffic entry for MV Minerva

The main photo first appeared at:

MV Minerva Cruise Ship and 12th Century Norman Dover Castle, Inner Harbour

To be uploaded:

MV Minerva Cruise Ship at CT1, Admiralty Pier, Western Docks, Dover Harbour
MV Minerva Cruise Ship at CT3, Admiralty Pier, Western Docks, Dover Harbour
MV Minerva approaching CT 3, Admiralty Pier, Western Docks, Dover Harbour

Click to see all Dover MV Minerva, Swan Hellenic Cruises, and Cruise Ship photos.

Clickable thumbnails of all harbour-related photos on the main Panoramio Images of Dover website are available on this blog at the Port of Dover Page (also linked to below the blog title).

Also see the Dover Castle Page.

The Panoramio photos are each accompanied by a Google Earth satellite map. However, the images are smaller than those on the Images of Dover Blog and the captions are less well formatted.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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