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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

Princess Floats With Fun Idea

Ahoy, ye landlubbers! You’ve seen cruise ships sitting on the top of cliffs impersonating hotels. You’ve seen the innards of cruise ships outside a football stadium, attending tailgate parties.

How about “sailing” down Colorado Boulevard in Los Angeles?

That’s where the Regal Princess — or a reasonable facsimile of it — will be on New Year’s Day. The ship (it doesn’t arrive in North America until November 10) has been turned into a float in a parade. Now there’s a double entendre of sorts…the ship’s a-float, and the ship’s a float.

Rose Bowl floatThis will be the first time Princess has been in America’s best-known parade, which serves as a prelude to its best-known college football game. It will be just a little smaller than its matron — 60 feet long, 24 feet high — and it will be made of flowers, because that’s what floats are in the Rose Bowl Parade, when the six original cast members of The Love Boat will be riding on the “deck.”

This “Regal Princess” has already been christened, two weeks ahead of the one that doesn’t cruise down Colorado Boulevard. That means she already has a Godmother, Princess Vice-President of PR Julie Benson, who as she smashed a bottle of bubbly (or confetti) on the float’s bow declared: “I name this float Regal Princess. May God bless her and all who cruise down Colorado Boulevard on her.”

In addition to seizing a photo op that will be viewed by 80 million TV watchers on January 1, Princess is clearly having some fun with the concept.

Maybe the next step will be to have her on display on a Princess ship.

They can call it The Love Float.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
4 nights
November 17, 2014
Port Canaveral (return): CocoCay, Nassau
Inside: $149
Cost per day: $37

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

The Love Boat's value increasing

Are you ready for re-runs of The Love Boat?

If that’s not next, it can’t be far away.

Princess promotes a Love Boat cruise and it sells out 18 months before sailing. Now, Princess has named the entire original cast of the famous TV show as “godparents” of the Regal Princess, a new ship that has been without such blessings since she hit the water in the spring.

The ceremony will be in Florida, in November, after the Regal Princess makes her first Atlantic crossing.

The Love Boat original cast — Captain Merrill Stubing (Gavin MacLeod), Isaac the bartender Ted Lange), Julie the cruise director (Lauren Tewes), Doc Bricker the ship’s Love Boat castdoctor (Bernie Kopell), Gopher the yeoman purser (Fred Grandy) and Vicki the captain’s kid (Jill Whelan) — will officially name the ship that cruise passengers will have been sailing on for six months by then.

Talk about nostalgia.

On the eve of its 50th anniversary, Princess discovered there was still equity in The Love Boat. Even the most optimistic Princess patterers couldn’t have imagined how much equity there was in a made-for-TV movie that was spun into a regular series lasting 10 years. Only MacLeod, Kopell and Lange appeared in all episodes of the series. And “original” does not apply to the first two of three made-for-TV movies, only the TV series.

Other ships were used but it’s widely known that the now-deceased Pacific Princess was the true Love Boat.

The show has been syndicated in many countries in many languages for many years. Surely, it will be revived in America — even if only on Princess ships with more regularity.

And if you think that means more pocket change for that original cast, well, it doesn’t. In the ’70s, they accepted contracts paying them just for their acting, with nothing for syndication.

After all, who could have known?

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Emerald Princess
7 nights
November 16, 2014
Houston (return):  Roatan, Belize, Cozumel
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $64

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