© Malcolm CranfieldMV Argonaut (1929) – Past and Present

MV Regina Maris

Ex Argonaut, Orion, Vixen (PG-53), Orion

© Malcolm Cranfield

Argonaut – © Malcolm Cranfield

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1929 by Krupp Germania Werft, Kiel, Germany (Yard No 502) as a Yacht, later a US Gunboat and a Cruise Ship.

Technical Data

  • Length: 93.27 m (overall) m (between perpendiculars)
    Breadth: 14.18 m
    • Depth: m
    Draught: 5,639 m
    Tonnage: 4007 gross/1432 net/339 deadweight
    Engines: 2 Oil 4SA 8 – cylinder Friedr. Krupp diesels.
    Power: 3600 kW/2648 HP
    Speed: 15 knots (16.5 knots max)
    Passenger Decks: 4
    Capacity: 231 passengers (After rebuild)
    Crew: 90
    Call Sign: SWXZ
    IMO Number: 5265069 (as Regina Maris & Argonaut)
    Official Number: 2382
    Port of Registry: Piraeus/Greece, Panama


July 27th 1929: Delivered to Julius Forstmann, New York, USA as the private yacht ORION.

November 13th 1940: Requisitioned by the US Navy and was converted by the Sullivan Drydock and Repair Corporation to become a gunboat in their Brooklyn Navy Yards, New York. Her armaments were as follows: 4 X 3in (76 mm) guns; 7 X .50 calibre machine guns; 2 X .30 calibre machine guns & 2 X depth charge tracks. Renamed VIXEN (PG-53) and served as the flagship of the Commander in Chief, US Atlantic Fleet.

May 24th 1946: Decommissioned and taken out of service.

January 21st 1947: Sold to Pacific Cruises Line, Panama and rebuilt as a luxury Private Yacht.

1950: Renamed ORION.

1954: Sold to McCormick (Fraser) Shipping Co, Panama. Refitted into a cruise ship and operated on Caribbean cruises.

1964: Sold to Aegean Special Cruises S.A, (Epirotiki Lines), Piraeus, Greece and renamed ARGONAUT.

1964: Completely rebuilt and modernised, including the fitting of stabilisers, emerging as a luxury cruise ship.

March 1965: Refit completed.

Courtesy of Chris Howell

Courtesy of Chris Howell

1965: Commenced cruising in the Mediterranean.

© Ken Larwood

© Ken Larwood (Dover, 1981)

© Ken Lubi © Ken Lubi

© Ken Lubi (Tyne, 01/07/1985)

© Patrick Hill © Patrick Hill

© Patrick Hill (Hull, 02/07/1985)

© Derek Sands

© Derek Sands (Passing Harwich, 14/07/1986)

1996: Sold to Regina Maris Cruises SA, Panama (Memnon Cruises) and renamed REGINA MARIS.

© Aleksi Lindström

2002: Laid up in Alexandria, Egypt.

2004: Served as a floating hotel at Faliron, near Piraeus, for the 2004 Olympics.

December 2nd 2004: Arrived at Aliaga for scrapping.

© Selim San

© Selim San

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Malcolm Cranfield, Patrick Hill, Chris Howell, Ken Larwood, Aleksi Lindström, Ken Lubi,  Selim San and Derek Sands for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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