Anyone in the 40+ age range surely remembers Aaron Spelling’s immensely popular television series, ‘The Love Boat’ (1977-87). Princess Cruises, one of the largest cruise lines in the nation, just held the christening for its latest addition to the fleet, Regal Princess, and to celebrate the upcoming company’s 50th anniversary, called upon the cast and guest stars of The Love Boat to assist in the vessel’s debut launch.
The Regal Princess boasts a multitude of entertainment venues, including a fully equipped casino with slots and blackjack, theaters, lounges and the largest pastry shop to sail the high seas. Princess Cruises added the new ship to its convoy back in May, but as part of the 50th anniversary celebration, the maiden voyage didn’t take place until last Wednesday, November 5th.
Before setting sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, 15 miles due north of Miami, the Regal Princess received a stately welcome from an all-star line-up of television’s greatest actors who burst a whopping 50 bottles of champaign along the ship’s hull. Actress Tori Spelling, daughter of The Love Boat’s creator, Aaron Spelling, hosted the event, while Florence Henderson, everyone’s favorite sitcom mom from ‘The Brady Bunch’, played the role of emcee, leading the soiree for the area’s newest elegant casino cruise.
Henderson was best known for her Brady Bunch role, but true fans of The Love Boat will remember she made multiple guest-star appearances on the series, as well as appearing in The Love Boat Movie that aired one year prior to the TV series’ debut. “Hosting this event is a great honor as I have ties to Princess Cruises and The Love Boat,” said Henderson, who joined Marion Ross, the mom of ‘Happy Days’ in the 2007 christening of Regal Princess’s older cousin, Emerald Princess. “In 1977, Aaron Spelling introduced the love and magic of cruise ships and also introduced a whole new way of vacationing through his series.”
Also assisting in the christening were members of the show’s regular cast, Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki, daughter of Capt. Stubing), Fred Grandy (chief purser, Gopher),Ted Lange (Isaac the bartender), Bernie Kopell (chief medical practitioner, Doc) and Lauren Tewes (Julie, the cruise director). More big name celebrities on hand included Charo, Loni Anderson, Joyce DeWitt, Jamie Farr, Pam Grier, Lorenzo Lamas, Rich Little, Don Most, Mackenzie Phillips, Doris Roberts, Frank Sinatra Jr. and Dick Van Patten, among others.
Regal Princess features an array of entertainment options. For a relaxed, romantic getaway, guests can amble along The SeaWalk, extending 28 feet beyond the ships edge, or take in the WaterColor Fantasy fountain, complete with colorful dancing streams that rise 33 feet into the air each night. The Princess Casino offers all the most popular gambling activities, including a vast floor of slot machines, blackjack tables, roulette wheels and Texas Hold’em Poker. For more energetic crowds, there are numerous bars, lounges and the Club 6 nightclub, where melodic beats pound through the dance floor every evening.
The Regal Princess sets sail each week from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale with stateroom packages starting at $299 per person (+$102 taxes, fees and port expenses). The casino cruise makes several stops along its Caribbean voyage, including Princess Cays in the Bahamas, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Maarten.