Cunard Princess was Christened by Princess Grace of Monaco in New York. She was launched as Cunard Conquest, but her name was changed to Cunard Princess while ship was being fitted out.
Cunard Princess set on her first cruise from New York City to the Caribbean in March 1977, joining her elder sister MS Cunard Countess in the Caribbean cruise service.
At the time the Cunard Princess was registered in Southampton, but in 1980 she was moved to the Bahamian registry, with Nassau as her home port.
Later during her career with Cunard, the ship started cruising in Europe, while the Cunard Countess remained in Caribbean service.
During the Gulf War the Cunard Princess was chartered to the United States Armed Forces Recreation Centre as a recreational facility for troops involved in the conflict.
The ship arrived in Bahrain on 24 December 1990. Initially the plan was to operate the ship on three-day cruises around the Persian Gulf, but for economical reasons she was instead permanently moored in Bahrain instead.
Following the end of her service in the Gulf War, the ship was docked at Valletta, Malta on 23rd September 1991. She re-entered normal service with Cunard on 19th October 1991.
In 1993 the Cunard Princess was moved to the fleet of Cunard's newly created mid-market subsidiary Cunard Crown Cruises, joining her sister Cunard Countess and three ships from Crown Cruise Line.
Cunard Crown Cruises proved to be short-lived, and in 1995 the Cunard Princess was chartered to StarLauro Cruises (who were in need of a replacement for their MS Achille Lauro that had sunk following a fire in 1994). Initially the Cunard Princess kept her original name in StarLauro service.
After the charter, Cunard Princess returned to the Cunard fleet until 1997, when company's finances drove the decision to remove the 4-star tonnage.
She was sold to StarLauro cruises and was renamed Rhapsody. That line has since re-branded as MSC Cruises and Rhapsody remained part of their growing fleet for many years.