Throwback: MSC Rhapsody, the Cunarder

Currently part of Israeli cruise line Mano Cruises as Golden Iris, Rhapsody has been one of the most icon MSC old style ships.

The ship was initially ordered by the american Overseas National Airways and designed to became a floatable Playboy Club thanks to the supervision of Playboy founder Hug Hefner during the design process. Then the ship was sold to Cunard which kept the informal atmosphere and launched it as Cunard Conquest at Dutch shipyard Burmeister&Wain in 1976. After it was moved to La Spezia, Italy for the fitting out and in 1977 entered in service as Cunard Princess. The maiden voyage left New York in the same year heading to Caribbean Sea.

During Gulf War the ship was chartered to US Armed Forces Recreation Centers for troops involved in the war and docked in Bahrain from 1990 to 1991, when returned to Cunard.

In 1993 Cunard Princess joined the newborn Cunard Crown Cruises, a Cunard subsidiary created to enter the mid-market. Unfortunately the company closed down only two year later, in 1995 and the ship was chartered to StarLauro Crociere, which needed a new ship after the sinking of its flagship Achille Lauro.

Shortly after, the italian cruise line acquired the ship which at first should be called Harmony, but then was named Rhapsody. Soon StarLauro turned into MSC and the former Cunard cruise ship, with its classic Mediterranean cruises, it soon became a ship appreciated by the clientele until the sale to Mano Maritime in 2009.

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