What’s in a name? Well, at Princess Cruises the name Gavin MacLeod naturally is associated with the famous TV captain of The Love Boat. But it turns out that the line coincidentally also has a real-life bridge officer with the same name. And the long-time Princess ambassador couldn’t wait to meet him.
When Island Princess Third Officer Gavin MacLeod, who hails from Inverness, Scotland, joined Princess in 2010, he never gave much thought to the fact that he shared a name with the actor who made the role of “Captain Stubing” an iconic part of television history.
But last week when Island Princess called at the port of Los Angeles, the two men met on the ship’s bridge and enjoyed lunch together at Sabatini’s restaurant. The pair also signed several navigational charts to be auctioned for charity.
Frequently filmed aboard Princess ships throughout its 1977-86 run, The Love Boat created a lasting legacy in the cruise industry. Actor Gavin MacLeod has continued his association with the cruise line ever since, serving as an ambassador who travels regularly aboard Princess ships and represents the company at a variety of events throughout the year.
Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS (1-800-774-6237), or by visiting princess.com.
Princess Cruises honored television’s most beloved captain, Gavin MacLeod, with a special 80th birthday party aboard Golden Princess this week in Los Angeles.
Crew members, along with his friends and family, sang “Happy Birthday” and presented him with a massive cake — a 5-foot-long, 3D replica of the original “Love Boat,” Pacific Princess.
MacLeod is perhaps best known for his role as “Captain Merrill Stubing” in the popular television series, The Love Boat. One of the longest running television shows in history, The Love Boat cruised through 10 seasons from 1977 to 1986 and is still in syndication in 92 countries worldwide. This year also marks MacLeod’s 25th anniversary serving as Princess Cruises’ spokesperson.
MacLeod’s impressive career spans television, theater and film. He spent seven years on the award-winning television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show as “Murray Slaughter,” the acid-tongued news writer. His other well-known television roles include “Happy” on McHale’s Navy and “Big Chicken” on Hawaii Five-O, and he has also appeared in The Dick Van Dyke Show, Hogan’s Heroes, The Big Valley, Ironside, To Catch a Thief, Run For Your Life, Hotel and Murder She Wrote.
MacLeod’s film debut was in 1958 with Susan Hayward in the Oscar-winning film I Want to Live. His subsequent 35 film credits include Compulsion with Orson Welles, Operation Petticoat with Cary Grant, High Time with Bing Crosby, The Party with Peter Sellers, The Sand Pebbles with Steve McQueen and Kelly’s Heroes with Clint Eastwood.
A Royal Onboard Affair
Meanwhile, the highly anticipated Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be televised live on all Princess ships on April 29. Passengers will be able to follow along with full coverage of the pomp and majesty of the historic wedding through BBC World’s broadcast of the event.
Not only can passengers follow along as the future princess walks down the aisle, but they’ll enjoy viewing parties on board as they watch this royal event. BBC is the official wedding broadcaster and has exclusive access inside Westminster Abbey during the ceremony.
The onboard viewing parties will add a celebratory flair to the event with British-style refreshments and special royal-themed cocktails. Passengers can also test their knowledge with royal wedding trivia competitions and participate in a William and Kate look-alike contest.
“As this is the first British royal wedding in years we know there will be wide interest among our passengers,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “We at Princess also feel a connection with Prince William because his mother, Princess Diana, christened our original Royal Princess back in 1984.”
Royal Wedding broadcasts are planned for all ships in the Princess fleet, subject to satellite availability. In some time zones the broadcast may be delayed for viewing at a convenient hour.
The Royal Wedding is one of several special events shown on the line’s Movies Under the Stars giant outdoor screens, including the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. The LED screens are more than 300 square feet in size with a 69,000-watt sound system and have sufficient lighting power to be seen clearly at mid-day and heard even while the ship is moving at full speed.
In the late ‘70 and early ‘80s, when “The Love Boat” was a hit show on television, cruising was popular, but not nearly as popular as it is today. So many first-time cruisers’ expectations came from watching the TV show. Many were probably not too happy when they compared the size of their cabins with those on the show. But even before they got to their rooms, they may have been surprised to find out their non-sailing friends and family members weren’t allowed on the ship.
Being able to give your guests a tour of the ship you’re about to sail on is a tradition from the early days of cruising. Now, the same line that hosted “The Love Boat”, Princess Cruises, is bringing the tradition back, for a small fee.
They’re calling it the Bon Voyage Experience — a new twist on the departure celebration of bygone days, complete with lunch in the dining room and tour of the ship.
Now unique in the cruise industry, the Bon Voyage Experience will enable passengers to extend an invitation to their guests to join them onboard during sailing day for a four-course dining room lunch with wine, a ship tour and a souvenir photo. Passengers and their guests will enjoy priority embarkation and will be able to spend approximately four hours together on the ship before it sets sail.Â The cost for the program is $39 per person, but it can be applied toward a future Princess cruise.
The program will debut in March in the ports of Los Angeles and Fort Lauderdale, and then roll out to New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
“Long-time cruisers will recall the fun of the bon voyage send-off with their family and friends, and we’re excited to re-introduce a new, modern version of this experience,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president.
After you’ve booked, you will be notified about the program through pre-cruise e-mails as your cruise date approaches. In-port guests can be booked from 120 days, up to six days before the sailing date.Â Once registered, guests will be able to input their security information through the line’s Cruise Personalizer.
But there’s reason to hurry and register if you’re interested. The number of guests who will be able to participate in the Bon Voyage Experience on any given embarkation day is approximately 50.
The roll-out schedule for the launch of the Bon Voyage Experience is:â€¨
– Sapphire Princess — March 6 in Los Angeles
– Crown Princess — March 6 in Fort Lauderdale
– Coral Princess — March 7 in Los Angeles
– Emerald Princess — March 7 in Fort Lauderdale
– Island Princess — March 10 in Los Angeles
– Ruby Princess — March 10 in Fort Lauderdale
– Golden Princess — March 14 in Los Angeles
– Royal Princess — March 27 in Fort Lauderdale
– Star Princess — April 10 in Fort Lauderdale
– Caribbean Princess — May 18 in New York
– Sea Princess — June 1 in San Francisco
During the Alaska season, Sapphire Princess, Golden Princess and Royal Princess will offer the program in Seattle, beginning in May.