Seatrade Cruise News is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Real cruise ship crew cast in 'The Real Love Boat' series

From left, Matt Mitcham (cruise director), Ezra Freeman (bartender) and Capt. Paolo Arrigo
Capt. Paolo Arrigo, Cruise Director Matt Mitcham and performer Ezra Freeman are real cruise ship veterans cast in 'The Real Love Boat' series.

It will premiere Oct. 5 on CBS and be available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+.

Pivotal roles in the matchmaking

Arrigo as the captain, Mitcham as the cruise director and Freeman portraying a bartender will have pivotal roles in the matchmaking and navigation of the romantic yet sometimes turbulent waters in the show, similar to the original scripted series 'The Love Boat.' With over 40 combined years working in the industry, they bring their real-world expertise to help the singles look for love in this reality television show.

Arrigo has 24 years with Princess Cruises in the deck department, the past four as captain and the seven before that as staff captain. Mitcham has been a cruise director with Carnival Cruise Line for more than 11 years, and assistant cruise director and social host before that. He also met his wife onboard. Freeman is a TikTok influencer traveling on Princess ships to create content for the line's TikTok account and, previously, was a performer portraying the OceanMedallion live characters 'Fortuna Luck' and 'Pirate Queen.'

Plus 12 singles as contestants

CBS also announced the 12 singles who will join hosts Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell on Princess ship sailing the Mediterranean.

The singles will be looking to find a love connection while visiting and competing in cities including Barcelona, Marseille, Rome, Santorini and Athens. A shoe designer, firefighter, nurse, teacher and landscape architect are among those setting sail. From divorce and broken engagements to terrible online dating experiences, being unlucky in love has not discouraged these singles from seeking 'true romance.'

Destination dates and competitive challenges

Throughout the season, they'll embark on destination dates and compete in challenges to test their compatibility and chemistry as couples, while earning rewards. Things get spicier when new singles come aboard, and those who don’t find a match will 'shove off' and be left behind at port.

After nearly a month at sea, one winning couple will dock in the final port and take home a cash prize plus a once-in-a-lifetime trip courtesy of Princess Cruises, the series’ exclusive cruise line partner.