Want to feel incredibly old? The Love Boat — a show which helped introduce the television-watching public to the concept of cruising — first set sail on ABC television 40 years ago this month. In marking the occasion, original castmates Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Ted Lange (Isaac), Cynthia Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) — as well as Jill Whelan (who joined the show as the captain’s daughter, Vicki, in season 3) — found out that the show will be getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Love Boat
“We get together whenever Princess Cruises has an event,” MacLeod said during the cast’s appearance on NBC’s Today show. And that, of course, makes sense, given that the series was set aboard the line’s Pacific Princess.
Believe it or not, the series aired 250 episodes before being cancelled in 1986. After what might be called a period in drydock, ABC aired several additional movies, including a 1990 special titled The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage. As time went on, the show occasionally ventured onto other ships for special episodes. In fact, when cruise director Julie McCoy headed to Australia to get married in 1981, the episode was filmed aboard P&O’s Sea Princess.
Of course, the vast majority of the show was filmed not on board actual ships, but on soundstages recreating the vessels.
In 1998, UPN launched a short-lived reboot of the series, called The Love Boat: The Next Wave, which was set aboard the Sun Princess and starred Robert Urich as Captain Jim Kennedy. It didn’t have nearly the success or staying power of the original, however, airing only 25 episodes over 2 seasons.
What Happened To The Ship?
The Pacific Princess — originally known as the Sea Venture when launched by Flagship Cruises in 1971 — sailed with Princess Cruise lines from 1975 until 2002. Unlike the many couples to sail on the fictionalized version of the ship, the Pacific Princess herself did not have a happy ending. After being sold, leased and charted to various companies in the following years, she was eventually dismantled in 2013.
“But wait,” you’re saying. “How can that be? I thought the Pacific Princess was still sailing… in fact, I’m booked on her next week!” Never fear, you have not been duped. It turns out that after selling the original, Princess Cruise Lines purchased a ship formerly known as R Three from Renaissance Cruises and dubbed her the Pacific Princess!
Watch the segment here: