Princess Cruises, the cruise line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic Love Boat television series, christened its new Regal Princess this week with a tribute to the show as all six of the original cast members served as the ship’s godparents, and were joined by 25 of the show’s past guest stars.
The star-studded Love Boat themed festivities, which also launched the line’s 50th anniversary, celebrated the role the show played in Princess Cruises’ five-decades-long history.
All six Love Boat cast members – 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) – pulled a lever that first sent a record-breaking 50 champagne bottles smashing against the ship’s hull as a nod to the company’s anniversary celebration, followed by the breaking of a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size 51st bottle signifying Princess Cruises’ continued future success.
Frequent show guest-star Florence Henderson served as the Master of Ceremonies and celebrities walking the 50th Anniversary gold carpet included Loni Anderson, Joyce DeWitt, Jamie Farr, Pam Grier, Christopher Knight, Diane Ladd, Lorenzo Lamas, Carol Lawrence, Rich Little, Kristy McNichol, Lee Meriwether, Don Most, Tracy Nelson, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark, Dick Van Patten and Adrian Zmed. The guest star with the most number of appearances on the show, Charo, entertained guests with a classical guitar number and Jack Jones, who sang the original version of the Love Boat theme, reprised the famous song.
“The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers’ homes for the decade it was on air. So it was fitting that the cast was selected as godparents for Regal Princess as we begin our 50th anniversary celebrations,” said Princess president Jan Swartz.
The 3,560-guest Regal Princess now begins its maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations out of Ft. Lauderdale. Among the special features found on board are a dramatic multi-storey atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; 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; Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; the Night Sky Lounge, a new nighttime experience that enables guests to enjoy a chic and contemporary poolside nightclub under the stars.