SS ENCHANTED ISLE
Commodore Cruise Line's ENCHANTED ISLE was built in 1958 for Moore McCormack Lines as the ARGENTINA.
The 14,984 gt ARGENTINA and BRASIL were the last true American-built passenger liners and were designed for the New York to Buenos Aires run but were also built with an eye toward off season cruising. They featured platformed midships dummy funnels and, in a style reminiscent of the Holland America liner ROTTERDAM of 1959, their actual funnels were twin uptakes located far aft. This design is credited to American marine architect George Sharp, who first devised it on the 1940 conversion of the Great Lakes cruise ship JUNIATA into the streamlined ferry MILWAUKEE CLIPPER.
The ships were rebuilt in 1963 to increase their passenger capacity from 437 to 557 and tonnage to 15,257 gt. There was now an extensive observation deck located atop the bridge and new observation lounges offered panoramic views over the bow (similar rooms would be incorporated on Holland America's newbuilds NIEUW AMSTERDAM and NOORDAM in the early 1980s). Even with their increased capacities, the Moore McCormack twins were hard pressed to make a profit during their relatively short careers. Rising American labor costs and their fuel guzzling powerplants found the ships struggling by the mid to late 1960s, although their reputations for fine food and service seem to have been untainted all the way until their final cruises in 1969, when they were subsequently laid up at Baltimore.
Holland America Line bought both sisters and refitted them for cruise service in 1971. When they debuted in 1973 to replace the dowager 1938-built SS NIEUW AMSTERDAM, the ARGENTINA was renamed VEENDAM and the BRASIL became VOLENDAM. More modifications included the extension of portions of the aft superstructure and a new capacity of 671. Mainly due to different measurement standards, their gt increased significantly to 23,372.
The VEENDAM became BRASIL in 1974 for a brief charter, then VEENDAM again in 1975. In 1976, she became MONARCH STAR for Holland America's subsidiary, Monarch Cruise Lines. During this period, the MONARCH STAR spent winters in Caribbean cruising and summers in Alaska. In 1978, she was renamed VEENDAM again. In 1984, she was sold to Bahama Cruise Line and renamed BERMUDA STAR.
In 1990, she went to Commodore Cruise Lines, who renamed her ENCHANTED ISLE. The ENCHANTED ISLE was an extremely popular, yet informal cruise ship. The dowager vessel was far from fancy, but her large cabins and homey atmosphere had a strong appeal and she was able to carve a successful niche in the various markets she served. Her final years were based in New Orleans, offering cruises deep into the Caribbean. During one cruise in September of 1998, she rode beautifully between two hurricanes, taking the huge ocean swells in stride. Spotless to the end, largely due to her uncompromising and thorough captain, Jens W. Thorn, the ENCHANTED ISLE finally could not compete against the discounted Carnival megaships and was dealt a death blow by the lull in tourism due to 9-11. That year, she was laid up at Violet, Louisiana following the bankruptcy of Commodore. In late 2003, she was renamed NEW ORLEANS and sailed to Alang, India for scrapping.
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
The ENCHANTED ISLE at Cozumel. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1998.