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Friday File: The Princess Celebration

Yesterday was the big day for Princess Cruises, which has had many big days over the last 50 years. Yesterday being December 3, it was the actual 50th anniversary of the first Princess cruise — Los Angeles to Mexico on the Princess Patricia. It was also the first day of the cruise to re-create that first itinerary, this time on the Pacific Princess. That was the name of The Love Boat that is credited with bringing cruising to the masses, but this is a more recent iteration, one that joined the fleet in 2002. The original Pacific Princess is long gone but her memories were ever-present yesterday at the 50th Anniversary bash in Southern California…

Princess Cruises celebrates their 50th Anniversary with the original cast of The Love Boat aboard Pacific Princess at the Port of Los Angeles on Thurs., Dec. 3, 2015, in San Pedro, Calif. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Princess Cruises/AP Images)

It’s been 29 years since The Love Boat’s nine-year reign ended on prime time television but six members of the cast were on hand yesterday: Bernie Kopell (Doc), Fred Frandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing).

Princess Patricia

The ship that started it all, the Princess Patricia, which sailed the Mexican Riviera on the first week of December 1965.

Pacific Princess-1

It was the original Pacific Princess that became The Love Boat and made a TV show, a crew of actors and the cruise industry famous.

Royal Princess-Kate

Two years ago, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge christened the Royal Princess to join the family of Princess Godmothers — which includes Princess Diana.

2015 Princess Rose Parade Float Photo by Rob Comeau for Princess Cruises

The 50th anniversary celebrations kicked off 328 days ago, with a float in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Capt. Ravera

Gavin MacLeod notwithstanding, Captain Stefano Ravera is our favorite Princess captain, from an Alaska cruise on the Star Princess.

Majestic Princess

To validate how far the cruise line has come since 1965, take a peek at the Majestic Princessdue to make its maiden voyage in 2017.

— Love Boat reunion photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Princess Cruises/AP Images) & Rose Parade Float photo by Rob Comeau

In the news…

• Carnival Live’s new performer: comedian Kathy Griffin, for two cruises in February
• MSC Armonia and Opera both to have Havana as home port next November

Today at portsandbows.comPrincess does it right for passengers 

Holland America Amsterdam
1 night
May 21, 2016
Vancouver, Seattle
Inside: $99
Cost per day: $99

Golden Year For Princess Cruises

This isn’t excluding TMZ reporting, but is anybody out there concerned about the health of Tori Spelling because she has a job to do for Princess Cruises the first week of November?

The daughter of famous producer Aaron Spelling is scheduled to emcee a reunion of The Love Boat cast on the Regal Princess when it docks in North America on November 5. In Tori Spellingthe meantime, there have been (TMZ) reports that she was quarantined in a hospital “like an ebola patient” with what is now believed to be a sinus infection.

Such things generally take time to disappear and the countdown until the Princess event in Florida is currently 12 days. If she’s unable to make it (her dad produced The Love Boat), there will be plenty of talent on hand. The six major cast members from the legendary TV show are all going to be in Fort Lauderdale to christen the Regal Princess…and to be the ship’s “godparents.”

That would be Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki). And if any Love Boat crewof them is too busy smashing the champagne against the Regal’s bow, many other talented talkers are scheduled to be on deck, among them Florence HendersonDiane LaddDick Van PattenFrank Sinatra Jr.MacKenzie Phillips and Jack Jones.

Talk about bench strength!

* * *

On the subject of love on a boat…

Princess is marketing newlyweds to spend their honeymoons on a cruise ship by introducing a Honeymoon Wishes Registry, where couples can sign up and choose from a list of options that range from shore excursions to drinks by the pool. The cost of their choices is applied as an on-board credit to the honeymooners’ account.

This is the cruise line that made maritime and marriage history 16 years ago by having the captain join a bride and groom in marriage. According to Princess, it was the first time a ship’s captain had performed a wedding ceremony, and it has led to many weddings at sea, a “Tie The Knot” program on the ship and in ports and annual Valentine’s Day cruises of renewal vows.

And now…the Honeymoon Wishes Registry.

* * *

On the subject of anniversaries…

This is a big one for Princess. The cruise line’s 50th year begins the day after the Regal Princess is christened, November 6. The first Princess ship sailed down the coast of Mexico — like The Love Boat did so many times — on November 5, 1965.

The Golden Anniversary will be marked throughout 2015 with a lot of 50th anniversary themes. There will be Love Boat Disco Parties all year long. A golden balloon will drop in Regalthe atriums on every cruise. A special craft beer has been especially brewed for all Princess ships in the coming year and, along with inventive cocktails, will raise a toast called “Cheers To 50 Years.” Two 50th anniversary chocolate desserts have been created by the noted chocolatier Norman Love (hmm, did his surname help land this job?).

The campaign will be launched on the Regal Princess in 12 days.

Will Tori Spelling be able to enjoy it?

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
10 nights
April 28, 2015
Baltimore (return): Labadee, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten
Inside: $783
Cost per day: $78

Princess Finds Big Winner…Again


On our calendar, it's 492 days until December 3, 2015. Can you believe there's a cruise that's sold out that far in advance…in fact, even further, because this isn't exactly "breaking news" as they say incessantly on CNN?

The Love Boat Cruise is sold out.

Billed as the "50th Anniversary Mexican Riviera" cruise, it quickly became known as the "Love Boat Cruise" cruise among Princess passengers and television viewers, because it will re-trace the wake left by The Love Boat  when the popular TV show of the '70s that kick-started the cruise line's popularity.

Okay…some of the wake.

The anniversary ship will be the Pacific Princess, a namesake of the original Love Boat, so that's part of the attraction, too. It's small — 670 passengers — just like the original and its real purpose is to celebrate the cruise line's 50th birthday. That original ship Captain Stubingfrom 1965 was called the Princess Patricia, leased from Canadian Pacific, and it survived less than a year, so ill-suited was it for warm-weather cruises.

The original Pacific Princess, on the other hand, lasted 27 years with the company and several more after she was sold. Included in that was a decade-long run as star of the TV show that introduced many Americans to cruising. Her hops down the Mexican Riviera were short (most times the ship never left California waters) and next year's unique cruise is not.

It lasts two weeks round-trip from Los Angeles, because that's how long the first-ever Princess cruise was, and ventures inland from the riviera. With six ports, it will give passengers a real taste of Mexico — adding Manzanillo on the Riviera and venturing inland to La Paz and Loreto on the Sea of Cortez to the traditional Big Three ports (Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas).

Prices started at $1,699 per person, or about $120 a day). The date of departure, December 3, is exactly 50 years from when the cruise line launched the Princess Patricia.

Princess promises there will be "special guests" on board…Captain Stubing (Gavin MacLeod) himself, perhaps?

But here's the real question:

By selling out a year and a half in advance, won't Princess be tempted to run "Love Boat" cruises again…and again..and again…?

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Busy times in Galveston

Holland America Westerdam
7 nights
November 22, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Grand TurkSan JuanSt. ThomasHalf Moon Cay
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

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