MV DISCOVERY at Barbados. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2008.
Voyages of Discovery’s 19,910-gross ton DISCOVERY was built in 1972 as the second in a pair of identical cruise ships for Flagship Cruises’ New York-to-Bermuda and Caribbean cruise service. A product of the Rheinstahl Nordseewerke shipyard at Emden, Germany, the ISLAND VENTURE was completed a year after the SEA VENTURE but only sailed in New York-based service for one season before being chartered to Princess Cruises.
At the time of her debut for Princess in November of 1972, the then ISLAND PRINCESS was by far the newest and most advanced cruise ship to be permanently based on the West Coast. She boasted a generous amount of open deck space and two postage stamp-sized swimming pools, one underneath a retractable glass and steel Magrodome that would later be a common backdrop in Love Boat deck scenes. ISLAND PRINCESS was designed by Robert Tillberg and had an entire deck of public rooms lined with full length windows and airy, Scandinavian decor that was the hallmark of a new generation of purpose-built cruise ships. Her “wow” spaces included the iconic Love Boat lobby, a precursor of the modern atrium, with its vivid glass panel by Frans Widerberg and the aft-situated double deck Carib Lounge with its balcony, spiral staircase and huge glass screen overlooking the aft pool area.
In 1977, the ISLAND PRINCESS became the uncredited setting for the popular Love Boat television series along with her more famous twin sister PACIFIC PRINCESS (ex SEA VENTURE). Basically, only color schemes and artwork belied the difference between the two vessels but both featured wonderful panels by key Norwegian artists like Frans Widerberg, Kristian Ystehede, Benny Motzfeldt and Arne Vigne Gunnerud.
The Love Boat revolutionized the cruise industry and led to a new fleet of mega cruise ships with balconies and amusement park-style attractions. By the mid-1990s, the ISLAND PRINCESS no longer fit Princess’ cutting edge image. She was sold to Hyundai for their newly formed cruise operation in Korea. Renamed HYUNDAI PUNGAK in 1999, she was soon laid up and sold to travel entrepreneur Gerry Herrod, who brought her to Malta for a refit under the name PLATINUM. When she began sailing for Herrod’s newly formed Discovery World Cruises (later Voyages Of Discovery) in 2003, she was renamed DISCOVERY.
DISCOVERY became a staple of the enrichment cruise crowd who loved her intimate size, teak decks and still handsome public spaces. Although new soft fittings and furnishings found their way aboard, most of the ship’s original artwork and fittings remained. To the end, DISCOVERY had a loyal following but after several mechanical setbacks, her owners opted to sell the ship for scrap in 2014 at the end of her charter to UK-based Cruise and Maritime Voyages.
While en route to Alang for breaking up, her name was changed to AMEN. She was beached in December of 2014 and stripping commenced immediately after that. The last of AMEN was scraped off the Indian beach in August of 2015, just as a container full of her artwork and furnishings arrived in Southern California, her former home.
EMPRESS OF CANADA ENCHANTED ISLE EUGENIO C FEDOR SHALYAPIN FESTIVALE FIESTA MARINA FRANCONIA ISLANDBREEZE IVERNIA IVORY JEAN MERMOZ LURLINE MADAGASCAR MARDI GRAS MARGARITA L MARIANNA VI MARIANNA 9 MAYAN EMPRESS MERMOZ MONARCH STAR MONTEREY MS PHILIPPINES OLYMPIA OLYMPIC PRINCIPE PERFEITO PRINCESA VICTORIA REGAL EMPRESS RENAISSANCE RHAPSODY REGENT STAR S. A. VAAL SAPPHO SERENADE SHOTA RUSTAVELI SPERO STATENDAM STELLA MARIS II STELLA OCEANIS STELLA SOLARIS TAHITIEN THE BIG RED BOAT II