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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

Love, Love, Love — That’s Princess  

Princess has a perk that only this cruise line can legitimately offer: free love stories for passengers to enjoy while cruising. Only Princess has a well-known history that includes “The Love Boat.”

The cruise line has always made the most of the TV show of the same name. Gavin MacLeod, aka Captain Stubing, has been a public relations giant for Princess for years. Frequently, there are or have been events ranging from building “The Love Boat” with The Love BoatLego to re-creating the old ship’s inaugural cruise down the West Coast to celebrating its 50th anniversary by rounding up as many of the TV show’s stars as possible.

It even extended to being fortunate enough to have the world’s two most-beloved princesses — Diana and Kate — as ship godmothers.

This is The Love Boat line.

In about a week, Princess passengers will be able to enjoy three short love stories — Kiss Me Maybe by Heather Burch, To Catch a Bouquet by Carolyn Brown and Once Upon a Night at Sea by Barbara Longley — all of which were inspired by each author's cruise on a Princess ship.

There’s one catch.

Because this is being done in partnership with Amazon’s Kindle Love Stories…obviously you must have a Kindle.

But it’s a nice touch, as love stories always are.

In the news…

• Carnival 36-hour $50 per person per day sale ends at midnight tonight
• Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to host Seabourn cruise through Panama Canal
• Oceania OLife guests getting free Internet, gratuities, shore excursions

Today at portsandbows.com: Owen Wilson, a star with P&O Cruises

Celebrity Constellation
9 nights
November 28, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): St. Barts, St. Maarten, St. Croix, San Juan, Labadee
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $66

Princesses Making Headlines Next Week

One day next week, a new cruise ship is likely to make more headlines than any ship since the Titanic, more than 100 years ago. It's pretty much guaranteed to eclipse the attention showered on any cruise liner of recent vintage.

Unless the baby comes early.

The ship is the Royal Princess, due to arrive Friday in Southampton, where she will be christened next Thursday. The christener — and the reason this ship will make unprecedented headlines — will be Britain's most famous mother-to-be, the Duchess of Cambridge herself. Yes…the woman known as "Kate." She will forever be the ship's Godmother and her presence next Thursday is going to capture headlines around the world, and not just in the tabloids. It will be her last official engagement before the wee one arrives.

The baby is due precisely one month later (July 13), but babies don't wait for boats, or anything else, do they? When it's time, all bets are off.

Naturally, the good people at Princess Cruises are hoping for a healthy, but not premature, arrival. How they convinced the new Royals to participate in a ship christening at this time of their lives is a mystery, as well as a coup d'etat, but it probably begins with the fact that Kate's posthumous mother-in-law, Princess Diana, christened the original Royal Princess in Southampton on November 15, 1984, and was the ship's Godmother.

That Royal Princess was transferred to P&O Cruises and re-named Artemis in 2005 and subsequently sold to a German shipping company and re-named again, the mv Artania, just over two years ago. She was a shadow of her new successor, carrying 1,260 passengers when full. The new Royal Princess will carry three times as many and become the flagship in a fleet that next week will number 17.

She will be followed exactly one year later by the Regal Princess, a twin and the line's 18th ship. So if the Royal Baby prevents his mother from officiating at next week's ceremony, there's always another time.

It just wouldn't be as unique as this time.

Celebrity Silhouette
10 nights
July 9, 2013
Rome, Naples, Valletta, Athens, Mykonos, Ephesus,  Santorini, Venice
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $89

A Royal Story Rich in Irony

Who writes this stuff? Really. Shakespeare or Monty Python? The Royal biographer, perhaps…

A cruise ship is called the Royal Princess. At an elaborate "naming ceremony" the ship will be christened by a young woman who used to be a Royal Princess but is now a Royal Duchess. Okay, technically, she never was "Princess" Kate…but once she became a Royal she was the "People's Princess" and since has grown into the most beloved young woman in Britain's Royal Family since the last People's Princess, whose name was Diana. Had she lived, Diana would today be Kate's mum-in-law. They remain linked by, among other things, the same engagement ring.

It gets better.

When Kate Middleton (aka, HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) officially becomes the new ship's Godmother, it will be at a ceremony on the docks of Southampton, which would be a short Tube ride from Buckingham Palace — if The Tube ran from Buckingham Palace to Southampton, which it doesn't. It's a fair hike in a carriage, the Royal Family's traditional mode of transportation, so we can assume that it will be a vehicle from the Royal Fleet that takes the Duchess to her appointed ship.

This isn't her first rodeo, although the Brits would have another name for that. Two years ago, she christened a lifeboat at the Trearrddur Bay Lifeboat Station in Anglesey, Wales. It was her first official engagement after becoming a Royal, and you could say that pouring bubbly on that bow was a dry run, except that this one will be, too…at least for her.


The Royal Duchess is about to be another kind of mother — the real kind. As Shakespeare would have put it, she is "with child" and is scheduled to become the Other Mother less than six weeks after christening the Royal Princess. And if the script writers have their way, that will be another "Royal Princess."

Holland America Ryndam
7 nights
September 21, 2013
Athens (return): Istanbul, Lesbos, Ephesus, Mykonos, Crete
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $114

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