Princess Cruises will start celebrating its 50th anniversary year (2015) at this fall’s naming ceremony of the Regal Princess in Port Everglades.
The company is honoring the role that The Love Boat played in its history by selecting the original cast members to serve as godparents for the Regal Princess. All six cast members - who played the roles of Captain Stubing, Gopher, Isaac, Doc, Julie and Vicki – will reunite to christen the new ship on Nov. 5.
Princess said the ceremony will officially launch its golden year anniversary celebrations, 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).
“We can think of no more suitable godparents for our newest ship than the cast of the show that put Princess 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 pilot episode of The Love Boat, shot aboard Princess’ 730-passenger original Sun Princess in 1977, began the relationship between the cruise line and the show, which for 10 seasons eventually 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’ 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.”
The 3,560-guest Regal Princess, which entered service in May of this year, is arriving in Port Everglades to begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruises. Among the special features found on board is a 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.
“The ship’s naming ceremony is just the beginning of the celebrations that will mark our company’s golden anniversary,” said Swartz. She added that 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.