Princess Cruises is sometimes called the “Love Boat cruise line,” which is completely inexplicable unless you’re familiar with The Love Boat television series and Princess Cruises’ role therein. Princess Cruises played an essential role in The Love Boat, and Princess Cruises came to prominence largely because of its role in the hit television series; in fact, cruising itself came to prominence in part because of the show. Below we explain the precise connection between Princess Cruises and The Love Boat. If anyone ever asks you why Princess Cruises is called the “Love Boat cruise line,” you’ll have a ready answer.
“The Love Boat,” or a variant of this name, actually refers to several things that are antecedents to the popular TV show. First, there is a nonfiction book by Jeraldine Saunders titled The Love Boats, which is the original source of all other “Love Boat” related entertainment. This book was the basis for a made-for-TV movie called The Love Boat (singular), which is what the TV series is based on. However, before the TV series began to air, there were two other made-for-TV movies: The Love Boat II and The New Love Boat. So, there was something of a “Love Boat” franchise before the world even knew about the TV show.
That said, the TV series is by far the most popular iteration of The Love Boat. The show aired for 10 seasons between 1977 and 1986, and during its run it was one of the highest-rated TV shows that aired during prime time in the country. In the 1970s, the cruise industry was a small fraction of what it is today, and The Love Boat introduced millions of viewers to pleasure cruises. Even after The Love Boat went off the air, people didn’t quite get over it. In 1990, another made-for-TV movie, The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage, was broadcast on CBS, and in 1998 another TV series, The Love Boat: The Next Wave, began with different actors. The Next Wave only lasted for two seasons, however, and so was not nearly as successful as the first version of TV show. The Love Boat franchise appears to have come to a close, although the original series has had an impressive afterlife. The TV series enjoys worldwide syndication and it can be viewed in 29 languages in nearly 100 countries.
Princess Cruises’ connection to the show is important but simple: Princess ships were used as the setting of the show. The pilot of the series was shot on the original Sun Princess, which operated from 1974-1989. (Princess Cruises currently has another Sun Princess in its fleet, so you can still claim you cruised on Sun Princess, but this ship was constructed in 1995.) The two boats used most frequently for filming were the Pacific Princess and Island Princess, but many of the ships in Princess’ fleet were featured in the show at destinations around the globe. Even after the series ended, Princess Cruises continued to be associated with The Love Boat, and not only because it is the “Love Boat cruise line.” In 1997, the entire six-member cast of the original series was gathered in Fort Lauderdale to christen the Dawn Princess, according to an article published by Princess Cruises about “The Love Boat” connection.
So, Princess Cruises is called the “Love Boat cruise line” because the cruise line’s ships were used as settings for the TV show. Princess’ role in the show was an enormous boon for cruise line’s business, and in fact it helped popularize pleasure cruises in general.