Christening the Regal Princess with The Love Boat Cast
Love, exciting and new. Come aboard, we’re expecting you!
Love, life’s sweetest reward. Let it flow, it floats back to you! — Come on, you know the words!
The “Love Boat” was back and truly better than ever aboard the newly-christened Regal Princess in Fort Lauderdale. Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Regal Princess Inauguration and 2014 Executive Sales Forum. The two-day event featured the cast of the hit 1970s and 80s TV show The Love Boat, who are Godparents of this impressive 3,600 passenger vessel. The inauguration coincided with the 50th anniversary of Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises and The Love Boat go way back. The story began in the mid-1970s when producer Douglas S. Cramer decided to take his already popular television series, Love American Style, to a life at sea. Princess Cruises loved the idea and the rest is history. Since then, Princess Cruises has been synonymous with The Love Boat.
The naming ceremony onboard was star studded and as elaborate as the ship itself. The celebration kicked off with Jack Jones singing the Love Boat theme song while the opening credits ran on the 300 square foot, 69,000 watt pool-side movie theater. TV star Florence Henderson was wonderful as Master of Ceremonies. Love Boat regular, Charo, had the ship dancing with her meringue-style guitar performance. But perhaps the highlights of the evening were the clips of old interviews with Princess founder, Stanley McDonald, reflecting on the inception of the cruise line and its relationship with The Love Boat. That was followed with a taped message from Mr. McDonald acknowledging the ceremony, while his family was seated overlooking the pool-side celebration. The ceremony wrapped with the official champagne bottle breaking with the cast (and the real captain) and a port-side fireworks display.
With Princess Cruises celebrating 50 years, this year is an especially great time to come aboard. Cruises will commemorate the legacy by offering unique onboard experiences like special menus with popular dishes from the past five decades, a Chocolate Journey created by Master Chef Norman Love, an exclusive IPA that can only be found on Princess’ ships (I had a few of these for research purposes… they are really good!), and a Love Boat inspired party on the top deck, complete with a Golden Balloon drop and a 50th anniversary show.
Two days was not enough time to see everything the ship has to offer. The Night Sky Lounge is a very chic bar area located a little behind the main pool deck. This is a great spot to catch a DJ spinning late into the night – think Miami Beach pool-side resort. The SeaWalk may have been my favorite feature. This is a glass-floored walkway that bows beyond the edge of the ship. Imagine looking down at the floor, only to see the ocean 128 feet below. And if you need some liquid courage to make the walk, luckily the SeaView Bar is nearby. Also debuting for the winter 2015 Regal Princess sailings is “Discovery Under the Stars.” Partnering with The Discovery Channel, experts will help you pick out planets and constellations as you sail under the Caribbean sky. The Discovery Channel partnership also brings other family-friendly activities based on popular series like MythBusters, Shark Week and Gold Rush, along with special Animal Planet shore excursions.
The event was an altogether perfect way to celebrate such a classy and innovative ship. The most difficult part, of course, was disembarking the Regal Princess and knowing that she would continue her seven day Caribbean itineraries without me. But I guess as the song goes, “The Love Boat soon will be making another run,” and I’m sure that we will cross paths again sometime soon. Happy sailing!