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'The Love Boat' cast gathers for Princess Cruises' 50th anniversary

'The Love Boat' cast aboard Pacific Princess on Dec. 3 - from left, Bernie Kopell (Doc), Fred Frandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Gavin MacLeod (Capt. Stubing), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing)
The original 'Love Boat' cast made a special appearance aboard Pacific Princess at the Port of Los Angeles on Thursday, the 50th anniversary of Princess Cruises' first sailing.

The company traces its start to the departure of Princess Patricia on Dec. 3, 1965, for the Mexican Riviera. Pacific Princess is recreating that itinerary with a 'throwback cruise.'

Today Princess is the third largest cruise brand in the world with a fleet of 18 ships and carries 1.7m travelers a year. The company has more than 30,000 employees ashore and at sea.

'The Love Boat' cast—Gavin MacLeod (Capt. 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)—celebrated the role the show played in introducing the cruise line, and cruising, to millions of people around the world.

Los Angeles County and the city of Santa Clarita, home to Princess headquarters, proclaimed Dec. 3 'Princess Cruises Day.' Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Bob Kellar presented the proclamation to Princess president Jan Swartz and Gavin MacLeod, in his captain's uniform.

The pilot episode of 'The Love Boat' was shot aboard the 730-passenger Sun Princess, with Pacific Princess and Island Princess then becoming the primary floating stars of the show. Later episodes and specials were filmed aboard many other Princess ships in destinations around the globe. The show, which aired from 1977 to 1986, went on to become one of the highest-rated and longest-running and beloved shows on television, introducing viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, making Princess and its ships synonymous with vacations at sea.

'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,' MacLeod said.