THE LOVE BOAT sails again…
Major Broadway Stars -Ethel Merman, Ann Miller and Carol Channing with "Captain" Gavin MacCloud ready to film LOVE BOAT 2-Hour special in the 1980s.

THE LOVE BOAT sails again…

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It’s a blast from the past, as the ship’s whistle for the brand new Regal Princess is the theme from “The Love Boat,” the romance sitcom from 1976 until 1986 that helped make cruising mainstream.

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The Love Boat was known for its frothy romances and the steady stream of well-known actors who made guest appearances on the show — Wikipedia lists more than 1,000 of them over the show’s life span. The show was also known for hot young women. It was about the sexiest thing on TV during the 70s and 80s!

  • “The Love Boat” went off the air back in 1987, but the TV hit’s six original cast members are still with us, and they came together this week to be named godparents of Princess Cruises’ newest ship, The Regal Princess.
  • “The Love Boat” was the greatest “info commercial” in the history of TV. It dramatically changed how the public saw cruises and brought in over a billion dollars in revenue for P&O Cruises (parent company of Princess Cruises at the time).
  • Several cruise companies running out of Los Angeles in the mid-1970s were pitched on hosting the show. All of the steamship or cruise companies didn’t want it. Princess Cruises was finally persuaded to act as location for the TV show. But most of the show was shot at the former Samuel Goldwyn Studios in West Hollywood, California.

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The most frequent guest was Charo, a Spanish-American actress who called herself a “cuchi-cuchi girl.” She gave a sizzling flamenco guitar performance at the ceremony.

Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch) and Marion Ross (Happy Days), who also made frequent appearances on The Love Boat, are co-godmothers of another Princess ship, the Emerald Princess, and took part in Wednesday’s ceremony. In fact, Henderson emceed the ceremony, stepping in at the last minute for Tori Spelling — daughter of the show’s executive producer, the late Aaron Spelling — who canceled due to illness.

Jack Jones, who recorded The Love Boat theme song, sang it once more at the christening.

Jill Whelan, aka Vicki Stubing, interviewed guest stars from The Love Boat Wednesday. The interviews were shown on the ship’s enormous Movies Under the Stars screen for guests on the pool deck.

The 3,560-passenger ship is a twin to Royal Princess, which arrived at Port Everglades a year ago.

The Regal Princess will depart Thursday on a three-night cruise for members of the media, travel agents, frequent guests and VIPs. On Nov. 9, it will begin its regular schedule of week-long eastern Caribbean cruises.

Charo rocks out on her guitar aboard the new Regal Princes.

Charo rocks out on her guitar aboard the new Regal Princess.

Love Boat Cast today: Gavin MacLeod (Capt. Merrill Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship's doctor), Lauren Tewes (Julie, the cruise director) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain's daughter) gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday for the celebration.

Love Boat Cast today: Gavin MacLeod (Capt. Merrill Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (Julie, the cruise director) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter) gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday for the celebration.

“The thing we can’t deny is that our “The Love Boat” television series brought the idea of cruising to the masses,” said Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing.

“Our show made people feel good,” said Bernie Kopell, who played Doc.??”People cruise all over the world now,” said Ted Lange, who played Isaac, the bartender.??”The show really did have a huge impact on a lot of people,” said Lauren Tewes, who played Julie.

Familiar faces are recognized among a conga line of cast members delighting a travel media guest list.

“Anytime that I can be with my fellow castmates, it’s a party,” said Jill Whelan, who played Vickie.

“This is almost like our neighborhood, it’s like we’re coming back to our ‘hood right?” said Fred Grandy, who played Gopher.

Thirty-seven years after “The Love Boat” sailed into TV history, how does the Regal Princess stack up?

“The Pacific Princess, in fish terms, would be a minnow and the Regal would be a giant whale, the Regal would be a giant whale, it’s kinda like that,” said MacLeod.

Following in the romantic wake of the original, onboard Regal Princess, love is still life’s sweetest reward.

  • Regal Princess and Royal Princess are new-generation ships for Princess Cruises. Among the special features found on board the 3,600-passenger vessels will be a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship…
  • a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; the new Princess Live! television studio…
  • a pastry shop; 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 Love Boat” featured over a thousand film and TV stars during its ten year run.

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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…