Paquet Cruise Line's SS RHAPSODY was built in 1957 as Holland America Line's STATENDAM. She spent her early years on North Atlantic crossings from Rotterdam to New York and in seasonal cruising. STATENDAM was mainly a tourist class vessel, but one of the keys to her success was the quality of her accommodation, which aspired to first class standards. For a predominantly tourist class ship, she was miles ahead of the competition and a vastly improved version of the pioneering, mainly tourist twins RYNDAM and MAASDAM that came before her.
STATENDAM was rebuilt for permanent cruise service in 1972. The transformation was so vast that she was dubbed "The Cinerella Ship" in HAL puclicity materials. Very little of her original decor survived the refit, which saw the complete rebuilding of her Promenade Deck. However, in certain parts of the ship, some traces of her 1950s traditional elegance remained. The key unspoilt areas were the indoor pool, the cinema, and the purser's lobby.
In 1982, STATENDAM was sold to Paquet Cruises, becoming the RHAPSODY. In 1984, she made headlines when she grounded off Georgetown, Grand Cayman, remaining lodged on a coral reef for six weeks. The company never fully recuperated, and in 1986, she was sold to Regency Cruise Line's, becoming REGENT STAR. Both Paquet and Regency left the few original areas of the ship "as is." During her conversion to REGENT STAR, the ship was fitted with diesel engines, replacing her somewhat star-crossed turbines. She was also given more cabins, extending her Lower Promenade Deck and providing a large observation platform on forward Upper Promenade Deck. MV REGENT STAR was laid up in 1995, following the collapse of Regency Cruises. She lay at anchor in Eleusis, Greece (technically renamed SEA HARMONY) looking very forlorn until being sold for scrap as the HARMONY in 2004.
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
SS RHAPSODY at Los Angeles in 1985. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 1985.