THE LOVE BOAT - The hit TV series was a major cultural phenomenon from the 1970s into the 1980s. The TV show altered the style of cruising by ship. Jeraldine Saunders, a former cruise director, was the woman who revived the cruise industry with her book — The Love Boats.
“Love Boat” became a household phrase throughout the world after the success of the TV series she created.
During the mid-80s, I wrote for the very popular show. It was either in the top ten or top twenty of TV shows with major Neilson ratings.
The premise used elements of “Oh Suzanna” — a 50s TV series where actress Gale Storm played a cruise director — combined with an earlier show Aaron Spelling had produced called “Love American Style.” The added difference was the running shipboard staff along with having the major story be dramatic and not a comedy.
Ms. Saunders tell all book created a fantasy background for the show. “Something beautiful happens on a ship that doesn’t occur at a resort, on an airplane, or at a hotel. Perhaps is has something to do with the movement of the ship. People let down their protective walls and become playful. They smile and talk to strangers. It is as though you are at a private party and it’s proper to introduce one’s self. A cruise ship also works its magic on married couples who “fall in love all over again,” according to Saunders.
She certainly should be credited with turning a sagging 1970s industry into what we know today. Saunders and the TV show changed how cruise ships were perceived and run.