Regal Princess- the‘Love Boat’ Connection

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Here’s Day Eleven in a series of blogs from our friend Jackie about her recent Regal Princess experience! Enjoy!

Regal Princess- the ‘Love Boat’ Connection

Leaving the port of St. Thomas in the Caribbean, people on shore began applauding. I think their appreciation was not so much for what they saw – although the Regal Princess is a beauty – but for what they heard.

The horn on the Regal Princess plays the theme song from the “Love Boat,” the 1970s-television show that helped make Princess Cruises a household name. Airing on ABC from 1977 to 1986, “Love Boat” was set on the Princess’ Pacific Princess.

The musical touch of whimsy is only one of the “Love Boat” salutes around the ship. After all, the godparents for the Regal Princess are the main cast from the popular show.

A special exhibit case on the Regal Princess showcases the ship’s November 2014 naming ceremony. For the Regal Princess christening, all six of the original cast members served as the ship’s godparents and were joined by 25 of the show’s past guest stars.

The photo display I saw on the Regal Princess celebrated that special day when the six “Love Boat” cast members – Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Gopher, the 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 first sent a record-breaking fifty champagne bottles smashing against the ship’s hull.

That huge splash was a nod to the company’s anniversary celebration. It was followed by the breaking of a giant Nebuchadnezzar-size 51st bottle signifying Princess Cruises’ continued future success. The photo display also has the bow and cork from that champagne send-off.

TV show popularized cruising

The popular television show is credited with showing viewers how much fun a cruise can be and what a great vacation choice it is to book a journey on a modern cruise ship. “Love Boat” is said to be a major reason for the dramatic expansion of today’s cruise industry. And it all started more than 50 years ago on a Princess ship.

The story goes that in the mid-70s, TV producer Douglas S. Cramer decided to film a series, not in a studio setting but aboard the beautiful environs of a modern cruise ship. Cramer found the ideal setting on a Princess cruise ship. Cramer teamed up with Aaron Spelling and the movie pilot was shot aboard the Princess ship in Mexico. For 10 seasons, “The Love Boat” was one of the highest rated prime time television shows in the country.

Later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many other Princess cruise ships in destinations around the globe.

Before long, viewers began looking forward to seeing the big star of the show – a Princess cruise ship – and booking their own voyages. Today, Princess continues to be known as the “Love Boat” line.

“People always ask us why ‘The Love Boat’ was so popular and I always say it’s because it gave people something to dream about,” Gavin MacLeod said in a press release celebrating the ship/show partnership.

“They could dream about being out on the open seas on a cruise and discovering the worlds’ greatest destinations, dreaming about love and, of course, happy endings since the shows always ended on a high note. I’m proud to have played a role in the growth of the cruise industry.”

‘Love Boat’ lives on

The original “Love Boat” series is currently in worldwide syndication, having been translated into more than 29 different languages, and is viewed by millions of fans in more than 93 countries.

Another “Love Boat” touch I enjoyed on my cruise was a special cocktail created by the show’s bartender extraordinaire Isaac. Fittingly, the sweet concoction is named “The Isaac.”

“Most people don’t know that while I was serving up drinks on the Love Boat, I also became a licensed bartender in real life,” actor Ted Lange said in a press release announcing the drink.

“If a bartender recognizes me, he or she always wants me to try their special drink,” Lange said. “Now, I’m excited for everyone to try my special drink and I know they are going to love it. Like the song says, ‘Come aboard, the Isaac’s waiting for you.’”

The refreshing love potion includes white rum as a salute to Lange’s favorite cruise destination – the Caribbean. Pomegranate syrup channels the famous red jacket Lange’s character wore. And two pineapple leaves as garnish are a tribute to his character’s two-finger signature point.

The new drink is being served on all Princess cruise ships. But if you aren’t lucky enough to be on a Princess cruise, here is Lange’s special recipe to enjoy “The Isaac” at home.

                 The Isaac

2 ounces white rum

2 ounces pomegranate syrup

½ ounce fresh lime juice

Splash of club soda

Lime slices

2 pineapple leaf spears

Preparation: Fill highball glass with 2/3 ice or desired amount of ice. Into a cocktail shaker, add ice, white rum, pomegranate syrup and lime juice. Shake and strain into highball glass, filling just to the top of the ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with a fresh lime slice and two pineapple spears.

Story and photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch.

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