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Postby shipstamps » Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:43 pm

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October 1953 the Holland Amerika Lijn ordered a new passenger vessel for her liner service across the North Atlantic, but also suitable for cruising.
Built under yard No 753 by N.V. Dok-en Werf Mij Wilton Fijenoord, Schiedam, Netherlands.
18 June 1955 keel laid down in a dry dock.
12 June 1956 she was floated out of the dry dock.
Tonnage 24.294 gross, 13.881 net, 6.284dwt., dim. 195.84 x 24.69 x 7.95m (draught).
Powered by four Parsons geared steam turbines, manufactured by Wilton Fijenoord, 22.000 shp., twin screws, maximum speed 21.9 knots, service speed 19 knots.
Accommodation for 84 first, 867 second and 867 tourist class, crew 429.
When cruising 650 passengers in one class.
15 December 1956 engine trials, with had been broken off, after she got engine trouble on the 16th and towed back to the yard by 5 tug boats.
14 January 1956 she made a new now successful engine trial trip, arrived back on the 17th.
23 January with on board around 500 guests including at that time HKH Princess Beatrix she official sea trial and delivery voyage, during this trip the ship was christened by Princess Beatrix and gave her the name STATENDAM (4).
Delivered to her new owner the N.V. Nederlandsche Amerikaanse M.S. (HAL).
Building cost 55 million Dutch Guilders.

06 February 1957 she left Rotterdam under command of Capt. C. Haagmans and after making calls at Le Havre and Southampton she sailed for New York with on board 877 passengers.
Then she made three cruise voyages from New York.
16 April 1957 she made her last North Atlantic voyage in the liner service, thereafter mostly used for cruising with occasional a North Atlantic voyage.
07 January 1958 she made her first world cruise when she sailed from New York, making calls in many countries and ports she arrived back in New York on 26 April.

October 1970 the HAL decided to give the STATENDAM a major refit by her builders from September 1971 till March 1972 for 18 million Dutch Guilders.
Two boilers were replaced by new more economical and more capacity.
Passenger accommodation for 740. Tonnage 24.114 grt.
Her gray painted hull was repainted in marine blue, as seen on the Grenada stamp.
From 10 till 12 March she made trials.

14 March 1972 she sailed for the last time from Rotterdam, thereafter only used for cruises from the USA.

December 1972 registry changed to the Netherlands Antilles with homeport Willemstad, managed by Holland America Cruises at Willemstad.

September 1981 sold to group American investors the Actus Investment Inc.
28 October 1982 handed over to the new owners at Newport News, renamed RHAPSODY.
Registered under the Bahamas flag and managed by the French owned Paquet Cruises.
After some repairs and with a white painted hull used from Miami to the Caribbean during the winter months and during the summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.

28 March 1984 grounded on the Grand Cayman near Georgetown when at anchor, she was pushed by strong winds and sea over the coral reef after three days stuck on the grounded ship the passengers were taken off and flown home.
It took more as two months before the RHAPSODY was refloated, first a cutter dredger made a cannel through the coral, then on 14 June by Smit International with the use of the pull barge TAKHEAVE 32 and the two tugs SMIT SALVOR and SMIT HUNTER the RHAPSODY was refloated.

She was towed to Galveston for repairs, returned to service in September from Port Everglades.

11 March 1986 sold for 12 million US Dollar to Mantica Holdings Inc. (Antonis Lelakis) in the Bahamas.
04 May 1986 handed over at Port Everglades to the new owner, renamed in REGENT STAR.
She sailed for Greece and arrived on 17 June 1986 by a shipyard in Perama, Greece, for a refit.
Her steam engines were removed, and the diesel engines of the container vessel MARGARET JOHNSON built in.
The installation of the four 12-cyl Pielstick engines with a total power of 20.646 shp was done under supervision of Wärtsila Diesels.
75 Extra cabins were installed and the passenger numbers increased to 950 people. Tonnage 24.500 grt.

07 July 1987 she left the shipyard and sailed from Piraeus for Montego Bay, Jamaica. Regency Cruises chartered her for 10 years.

26 July 1987, under the flag of the Bahamas she sailed from Montago Bay for her first cruise, ownership of Greek vessels is mostly murky, she was first owned by Mantica Holdings Inc, later changed to World Pioneer S.A. Piraeus, and was she managed by Universal Glow.
Later was she owned and managed by Tony Travel & Agency Ltd. Piraeus.
First in de winter used for Caribbean cruises and during the summer season from Vancouver to Alaska.
June 1990 arrived New York for the first Regency cruises from this port; she was already soon replaced in this service by the REGENT SUN.
The REGENT STAR came back in her old service, winters Caribbean and summers Alaska.
22 July 1995 she suffered an engine room fire when she was near Whittier, Alaska, during a cruise from Seward to Vancouver. Her passengers were transferred to the ROTTERDAM and on the 23July she was towed to Whittier. At that time she was owned by Shining Cruises S.A., Bahamas.
12 August 1995 she arrived at Vancouver for repairs, which were completed on 29 August 1995.

October 1995 Regency Cruise got bankrupt when the REGENT STAR passed the Panama Canal to the Caribbean, she ended her cruise and sailed to the Mediterranean to escape her American creditors. Laid up at Eleusis Bay, Greece.

01 November 1995 arrested at Eleusis Bay.
1996 Sold to Power Marina S.A. Bahamas, renamed SEA HARMONY.
She was slowly deteriorating.
March 2004 sold to Indian shipbreakers and on 14 March 2004 under the name HARMONY I and the flag of St Vincent and Grenadines she left Eleuse for the shipbreakers yard in India.

She is depict on the Bahamas stamp under the name RHASPSODY, before the NORWAY the passenger ship in the background of the stamp.

Grenada 1980 $5 sg1098A
Bahamas 1987 40c sg 805.

Sources: Blauwe Wimpel. Marine News.
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