Regal Princess entered service in May of this year and is arriving in Fort Lauderdale soon to begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations. Saving the grand experience of naming the 3,560-passenger vessel for her arrival in Florida, Princess Cruises is also preparing for its milestone 50th anniversary year in 2015. Put those two events together and the line of the Love Boat has positioned itself to honor the past, while preparing for the future. Brilliant.
In the forty years since The Love Boat introduced viewers to modern day cruising and made Princess Cruises synonymous with vacations at sea, the cast of the show have made public appearances as ambassadors for the brand. We recently sailed on Princess’ Cruising For A Cause with Bernie Kopell who played Doc, the ship’s doctor on the long-running television program. What a thrill it was to meet a very mobile Kopell as we walked up to the ship’s top deck with him, floor after floor. Having the entire Love Boat cast around, on the same ship, hilarity is nearly guaranteed.
How appropriate then for Princess to bring cast of the Love Boat to Florida both to serve as godparents of Regal Princess and to kick off the 50th anniversary celebration.
“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,” said Jan Swartz, the line’s president. “The show has been such a visible part of our company’s history, it made sense to kick off our anniversary celebrations with this special tribute.”
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).
“I’m absolutely thrilled that my former cast mates and I will be part of Regal Princess’ U.S. 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.”
On the other hand, they may not know their way around new Regal Princess, a dramatically different ship than the 730-passenger original Sun Princess on which the Love Boat’s pilot episode was shot.
Among the special features found on board is a dramatic multi-story 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 28 feet 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.
Here’s more on Regal Princess and her signature Sea Walk