Princess Cruises bids farewell to the original "Love Boat". Pacific Princess made final voyage October 27. Famous ship, hundreds of celebrities, exotic locales and "Love" helped shape modern day cruising
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Princess Cruises bids farewell to the original "Love Boat". Pacific Princess made final voyage October 27. Famous ship, hundreds of celebrities, exotic locales and "Love" helped shape modern day cruising
After 27 years of service, Princess Cruises is saying goodbye this week to Pacific Princess, the original "Love Boat," which is departing today, October 27, 2002, on its final voyage, a trans-Atlantic cruise from New York to Rome. The 640-passenger ship provided the spectacular setting for the popular '70s and '80s television series, helping to introduce cruising to the mainstream vacationer with its weekly installment of fun and romance on the high seas.

"After years of service and many wonderful memories for passengers and crew alike, it's time to say goodbye to the ship that made Princess such a recognizable name," said Phil Kleweno, president of Princess Cruises.
"Every week when the show aired, millions of people were introduced through television to the then new idea of vacation cruising. I think most in our business would agree that 'The Love Boat' was responsible for beginning the modern-day growth of the cruise industry. Pacific Princess
But cruising has changed since those early days and we have built a fleet of ships whose amenities rival any landside resort,"
he continued.
"Our focus today is to offer passengers such a variety of choice in dining, entertainment and activities, that they can truly personalize their vacation experience, while at the same time visiting exotic places around the world. Through 2004 we'll be introducing seven new ships, including a 'new' Pacific Princess, similar in size to her namesake but with a lot of enticing features for passengers."

Princess Cruises acquired the German built ship in 1975 from Norwegian cruise company Flagship Cruise Lines and christened her the Pacific Princess, deploying her on the Mexico and Alaska routes.
That same year, television producer Aarron Spelling approached Princess Cruises about filming a new TV show aboard the ship. Although the ship was sailing at near capacity, the company felt that participating in the series would be an ideal way to increase awareness of cruises in general, and generate interest in the then new Pacific Princess.
After nine lively seasons, making it one of the longest-running shows on television, "The Love Boat" and its regular star Pacific Princess continue to attract fans today with its subsequent airings of re-runs around the world in more than 90 countries.

From 1977 to 1986, more than 1,000 celebrities "sailed" aboard the Pacific Princess (on "The Love Boat" series) including Tom Hanks, Mickey Rooney, Heather Locklear, John Ritter, Billy Crystal, Jamie Lee Curtis, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Hulk Hogan, Carol Channing, Charo, Marion Ross, Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers.
When not on camera, the stars enjoyed dining in the ship's Coral dining room, swimming in the famous Crystal pool, strolling the lido deck and descending down the well-recognized lobby staircase. Star-struck passengers booked cruises long in advance to watch the shows being filmed onboard, and to perhaps even be invited on screen as extras. During the run of the show, the ship and the show's main cast -- Gavin MacLeod, as Captain Merrill Stubing; Lauren Tewes as Cruise Director Julie McCoy; Fred Grandy as Yoeman Purser Burl "Gopher" Smith; Bernie Kopell as Dr. Adam Bricker; Ted Lange as bartender Isaac Washington; and Jill Whelan as Vicki Stubing -- visited exotic ports around the globe such as Acapulco, Barcelona, Stockholm, Mazatlan, London, Los Angeles, Helsinki, Paris and Sydney.Pacific Princess

"The popularity of 'The Love Boat' television show turned the Pacific Princess, the show's cast and cruising into household names overnight," said Gavin MacLeod, the actor who portrayed Captain Stubing on the show.
"What I enjoyed most about 'The Love Boat' was interacting with the variety of guest stars we had on the show each week. The producers did a fantastic job of appealing to a wide audience range by combining legendary stars like Lana Turner, Cesar Romero and Ethel Merman, with current celebrities of the day like Andy Warhol, Melissa Gilbert and Michael J. Fox, as well as future stars Vanessa Williams and Kirstie Alley in each episode."

Cruising and Princess ships have evolved since the original days of the "Love Boat." When she was introduced, Pacific Princess was a "state of the art" cruise ship with amenities like an elevator, beauty salon and a casino. Today, Princess ships feature a multitude of cabins with balconies, spectacular atriums, multiple Broadway- and Cabaret-style theaters, miniature golf putting greens, luxurious health spas, wedding chapels and Internet cafes.
And, while passengers were assigned to dine aboard the original "Love Boat" at a specified time, Princess now offers passengers a plethora of dining choices, including anytime restaurant-style seating, steakhouses, Italian trattorias and Southwestern eateries.

(Source: Princess Cruises)

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