Princess Cruises has announced it will honour the role that the iconic television show The Love Boat has played in its history by naming the original cast members as godparents of its new cruise ship Regal Princess.
All six Love Boat cast members - who played the roles of Captain Stubing, Gopher, Isaac, Doc, Julie and Vicki – will reunite to christen the new ship in Fort Lauderdale on November 5 this year.
The ceremony will officially launch the golden year anniversary celebrations for Princess Cruises, which will celebrate five decades of operation throughout 2015.
The actors include Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing) Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter).
It has been nearly forty years since The Love Boat introduced viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, made Princess Cruises and its ships synonymous with holidays at sea.
“We can think of no more suitable godparents for our newest ship than the cast of the show that put Princess Cruises on the map,” Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said. “The show has been such a visible part of the cruise line’s history and after the public and media reaction to Gavin MacLeod and Lauren Tewes’ recent visits down under, there’s no doubting how enormously popular The Love Boat still is.”
The pilot episode of the Love Boat was shot aboard Princess’ 730-passenger original Sun Princess in 1977, launching the relationship between Princess Cruises and the show. Running for 10 seasons it became one of the highest rated and longest-running shows on television. The Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the primary floating stars of the show, while later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many of Princess’ other cruise ships in destinations around the globe.
“I’m absolutely thrilled that my former cast mates and I will be part of Regal Princess’ US debut,” said Gavin MacLeod, who has been Princess Cruises’ ambassador since the show ended in 1986. “The fact that The Love Boat continues to air in international syndication around the globe is a testament to the show’s longevity and the world’s fascination with romance on the high seas.”
The 3560-guest Regal Princess, which entered service in May, is arriving in Fort Lauderdale to begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruising. Among the special features found onboard is a dramatic multi-storey atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, offering a host of dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than eight metres beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms.
“The ship’s naming ceremony is just the beginning of the celebrations that will mark the cruise line’s golden anniversary including the very timely arrival of Golden Princess in Australia next year,” Mr Allison said. Beyond the Regal Princess festivities, guests sailing on any of the line’s fleet of 18 cruise ships during 2015 will enjoy a wide range of anniversary experiences.