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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Love Boat cast christens Regal Princess in a star-studded ceremony

   Out to Sea for Nov. 15/14

   (c) By Jim and Barb Fox

   Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico.
   Now, as the “Love Boat” line launches its 50th anniversary year, the maiden Bahamas voyage of the Regal Princess was a star-studded ceremony in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale), Fla.
   Love, exciting and new. Come aboard, we’re expecting you,” sang Jack Jones, reprising his original version of the Love Boat theme song.
   Even though the Aaron Spelling TV series hasn’t been around since 1987, it lives on in syndication and the six original cast members were there to christen the new ship.
The original cast from Love Boat christened the Regal Princess before its maiden Bahamas voyage.
   The cruise line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic show paid tribute to the program and its cast members by making them the ship’s godparents.
   They were joined last week at the launch of a three-day voyage by 25 of the show’s guest stars.
   The cast – Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing); Fred Grandy (Gopher, chief purser); Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender); Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor); Lauren Tewes (cruise director, Julie); and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter) – pulled a lever that sent 50 Champagne bottles smashing against the ship’s hull.
   That nod to the anniversary celebration was followed by the breaking of a giant 15-litre bottle signifying Princess Cruises’ continued success.

   Caribbean dreaming
   The 3,560-guest Regal Princess has now begun her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations out of Port Everglades.
   Among the special features found onboard is a dramatic Piazza multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship and offering numerous dining and entertainment options.
The Regal Princess, the 18th ship of Princess Cruises, has started weekly Caribbean sailings.
   There’s an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck, glass-bottomed walkway extending beyond the edge of the ship.
   The Princess Watercolor Fantasy is a fountain and music show while the Night Sky Lounge is a new nighttime experience that enables cruisers to enjoy a chic and contemporary poolside nightclub under the stars.
   The Chef’s Table Lumiere is a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light, while the ship also has the largest pastry shop at sea.
   This 18th Princess ship has 1,780 guest cabins, most of them with private balconies, 40 suites and 306 mini suites, along with plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water.
   Princess, the world’s third-largest cruise line, is marking its golden anniversary with “an incredible lineup” of new dining, shopping and entertainment aboard its ships throughout 2015.
   Flo, Loni and Jamie
   Frequent show guest-star Florence Henderson served as master of ceremonies at the debut.
   Among the celebrities taking part and who appeared on the show were Loni Anderson, Joyce DeWitt, Jamie Farr, Pam Grier, Christopher Knight, Diane Ladd, Lorenzo Lamas, Carol Lawrence, Rich Little, Kristy McNichol, Lee Meriwether, Donny Most, Tracy Nelson, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts, Marion Ross, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Charlene Tilton, Joan Van Ark, Dick Van Patten and Adrian Zmed.
   The guest star with the most appearances was Charo who entertained guests with a classical guitar number.
   The pilot episode was shot aboard the 730-passenger Sun Princess, with Pacific Princess and Island Princess then becoming the primary floating stars of the show.
   Later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many of Princess’ other ships in destinations around the globe.
   The show, which aired from 1977 to early 1987, went on to become one of the highest-rated and longest-running shows on television, introducing viewers to modern-day cruising.
   “The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers’ homes for the decade it was on air,” said Jan Swartz, the line’s president.
The Piazza, a multi-story atrium, serves as the social hub of the new Regal Princess.
   “The fact that the Love Boat continues to air in international syndication is a testament to the show’s longevity and the world’s fascination with romance on the high seas,” said MacLeod, who has been Princess Cruises’ ambassador since the show ended.

   If you sail
   Weekly sailings from now through April 24 visit Princess Cays, Bahamas; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. Maarten; and return to Fort Lauderdale.
   Fares for sailing this month are from $472 (Cdn) a person for an inside stateroom, $604, balcony; and $1,450, mini-suite. princess.com; 1-800-PRINCESS


Jim and Barb Fox can be reached at outtosea50@hotmail.com
For more Out to Sea trip tips: http://outtoseatravel.blogspot.ca

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