Princess Cruises Archives - Crown Cruise Vacations
In 1989, Ilene Weiner and her husband set sail aboard the Fair Princess to the Caribbean. That was the beginning of an amazing journey and a long-lasting love affair.
Three decades later, Ilene is still cruising. She is now the most-traveled guest on Princess Cruises and just celebrated her 282nd cruise, marking 2,500 days at sea.
Fannie “Q” Quigley (1870-1944) was quite a lady. She was a prospector, trapper, hunter, woodcutter, gardener, dog musher and great sourdough cook. She also offered tons of hospitality.
In honor of the Alaskan legend, Princess Cruises will be debuting a new restaurant and bar showcasing her story and featuring locally inspired dishes in a modern saloon setting.
By Jackie Sheckler Finch
Back in May of 1977, a new TV show premiered that was set aboard a cruise ship. Called “The Love Boat,” the series featured stories of romance, hijinks and adventure on the high seas.
It also made viewers think this cruising travel looks like a great deal of fun. Why not enjoy it themselves, viewers thought? Before long, Princess Cruise became a household name as the setting and, some say, the star of the show.
“The ‘Love Boat’ opened the hearts and minds of millions of television viewers to the adventures of cruise travel by way of the exotic destination our ships visited on the show,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “Today, our guests continue to create lasting memories and explore the world on our modern, fleet of 17 premium cruise ships.”
Now those long-ago actors have been honored with an honorary star plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Princess Cruises and the original cast of “The Love Boat” received recognition for their contribution to the history of television and support of the preservation for the Walk of Fame.
Princess Cruises becomes only the third brand to be recognized as a Friend of the Walk of Fame, joining L’Oréal PARIS and ABSOLUT Vodka.
Present for the presentation were Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Jill Whelan (Vicki), Ted Lange (Isaac), Bernie Kopell (Doc), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Fred Grandy (Gopher) joined by Leron Gubler, CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Donelle Dadigan, co-chair of the Hollywood Historic Trust, the superintendent of the world-famous walk, and Jan Swartz.
The honorary star plaque is located on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the main entrance to the Dolby Theater.
After the pilot show, “The Love Boat” show went on to enjoy phenomenal success, continuing for 10 seasons until 1987 as one of the highest-rated, prime-time television shows in the country.
Pacific Princess and Island Princess were the two original ships but as the show grew in popularity “The Love Boat” was filmed aboard many Princess ships at exotic destinations around the globe.
Photo courtesy of Princess Cruise Lines
“To know about wine is very easy,” Cantos said. “If you like it, then you have found a wine that you like and you know about wine.”
It is not necessary to be snooty or a well-experienced wine drinker to be able to choose wine, Cantos added. “To be a wine connoisseur, all you have to do is taste wine and read the labels so you know what you are drinking.”
But that is an ever-changing goal to accomplish, he said. “There are wineries everywhere now. Did you know there are more than 100 wineries in Texas? Imagine, Texas. Who would have thought?”
That was an interesting comment because I am taking a wine tasting tour in Grapevine, Texas, in two weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Texas wineries offer.
At a price of $9.50 per person, the Regal Princess wine tasting was a fun event in the Symphony Dining Room. Tables were elegantly set with five empty wine glasses, a filled water glass and a snack of cheese, crackers and grapes for each taster.
While the servers poured each wine, our class leader would explain the wine’s characteristics, where it came from and what food it might work with best.
The five wines we tasted were Sanctuary Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley in California, Simi Chardonnay from Sonoma in California, Danzante Merlot from Italy, Giordano Barolo from Piermonte, Italy, and Rex Goliath Moscato from California.
We started with the two white wines, then moved on to the two reds and ended with the sweeter moscato. Here are some of the notes I gathered about the various wines:
Sanctuary Chardonnay – Fermented in French oak barrels which brings out the bright ripe fruit, vanilla and mineral tastes. “Chardonnay is the queen of the grapes,” Cantos said.
Simi Sonoma – A well-balanced chardonnay with balanced acidity and a generous finish.
Danzante Merlot – Has a deep rich ruby color and warm cherry aromas with accents of mocha, red licorice, sage and toffee. Soft round tannins make this wine easy to drink with flavors of black cherries and plums blended with caramel and toffee from the oak.
Barolo Giordano Tradizione – Brilliant garnet-red color with hints of orange on the rim. The bouquet is ethereal and intense with a typical dried rose scent. Wine has a pleasantly austere taste with elegant tannins and a long bitter cherry finish.
Rex Goliath Moscato – Made with muscat grapes, this is a well-balanced wine with deliciously sweet flavors of peach and apricot.
I don’t like white wine but the three passengers sharing my tasting table thought Rex Goliath was the best of our five tastings. With its colorful 47-pound rooster logo, Rex Goliath is the only label I recognized. At my hometown supermarket, Rex Goliath usually costs less than $5 a bottle.
Which just goes to prove what our tasting leader said: “Good wine doesn’t have to be expensive. No matter what it costs, if you don’t like it, then it isn’t worth the price.”
Story and Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
That is more than three and a half years of being pampered on a Princess ship.
“We did that over a span of 11 years,” Robert hastens to say. “Our first Princess cruise was in September of 2005. We have been returning ever since.”
What keeps bringing them back? “The ships and the friendly crew,” Robert says.
“The delicious food,” adds his wife. “We enjoy the entertainment, too.”
The Palm City, Florida, couple emphasize that the appreciation which Princess Cruises shows repeat cruisers and the perks that the cruise line offers loyal guests are major reasons to return.
“Those cruise credits that you get never expire,” Robert says. “We have tried other cruise lines but we always come back to Princess.”
I’m beginning to see a pattern here.
At dinner my first night on the Regal Princess, I was seated with three other couples at a “shared” table. As a solo cruiser, I have my choice of requesting a smaller table all to myself or dining with other couples at a larger table. I’ll probably do a bit of both on this cruise but I opted the first night to meet other passengers.
The six other people at my table were all repeat cruisers. In fact, all three couples are taking back-to-back cruises on the Regal Princess. Ken and Nance from Somerset, Massachusetts, had just finished a week on the Regal Princess and are now beginning the second leg of their two-week cruise. The Kansas couple and the New York couple at my table are both doing the first part of their two-weekers.
Only makes sense, all three couples say, because flying is such an expensive hassle that a cruiser might as well look for discounts and book two back-to-back cruises. Then my dining companions began discussing those wonderful perks and I noticed the Princess cruise cards they carried were a different color than mine. Time to learn more about this loyalty program.
Early the next morning, I headed to the desk of Liudmyla Khorolets, hostess of Princess Cruises Captain’s Circle, the loyalty program for repeat guests. In fact, Liudmyla told me, I am now a member myself. She handed me an official-looking Captain’s Circle Passport, wrote my name and membership number in it and added a colorful little Caribbean beach scene stamp with the signature of ship captain Edward Perrin and the Regal Princess name as the ship.
From now on, each time I embark with Princess Cruises, I will get my passport stamped noting the cruise destination, the ship and the captain. Plus, I will no longer be a “blue” card-holding member. Next time, I will move up to a gold card.
Then comes a ruby card, platinum card and – the most valuable of all – a dark colored elite card. Each card offers benefits which, of course, become more valuable as the colors change. Loyalty members also get a pin in the same color as their cruise card. The Elite card goes to passengers who been on 15 Princess cruises or cruised for a total of 150 days. So the Amorusos have been elite many times over.
On my Princess cruise, Liudmyla said that of the 3,575 passengers aboard the ship, 2,387 of them are repeat cruisers. That certainly is a vote of confidence to have so many passengers coming back. The majority of passengers are American followed by Canadian, then British with several other nationalities aboard.
“Last year, we had a 51-year-old man from Scotland who had cruised with us for 2,300 days,” Liudmyla says. “That is the most I have heard of. We did have a woman who was living on board a ship for half a year.”
Sounds like a good deal to me.
What membership benefits do repeat cruisers like the most? “The biggest benefit is complimentary laundry service. You put your laundry in a bag and it is washed and pressed and returned the next day,” Luidmyla says. “That is the favorite of most people.”
Next most popular perks, she added, are complimentary WiFi and a mini-bar set up with free liquor and soft drinks in the cruiser’s stateroom. If I were choosing, I would take complimentary WiFi. One of the special prices for WiFi on my cruise cost $8.99 for 15 minutes. And the internet is notoriously slow aboard a ship.
Other membership benefits include preferred check-in at embarkation, special disembarkation lounge, boutique discounts, vacation protection, complimentary wine tasting, upgraded stateroom amenities, onboard credit, members-only cruise pricing and special onboard events, such as a members’ cocktail party.
“We appreciate our loyal cruisers and the Captain’s Circle is how we recognize and reward their loyalty,” Liudmyla says.
My first-night dining companions Ken and Nance said they have already booked a cruise for the New Year and are looking at other Princess Cruises destinations in 2017. “I don’t think you can beat their loyalty program,” Ken says. “When you have this many repeat passengers on our cruise you know Princess must be doing something right.”
Story and Photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
Don can sing. All three judges of “The Voice of the Ocean” swivel their chairs around to say “I Want You” in asking Don to be on their team. At evening’s end, Don has won the cruise competition as “The Voice of the Ocean.”
A packed audience applauds the man who said he calls “everywhere” his home. Raised as an Army brat and later as a career serviceman, Don said that wherever he hangs his hat is home.
I didn’t know what to expect when I went to see “The Voice of the Ocean” finals on the last night of our Regal Princess cruise. I’ve seen enough karaoke to know that many people enjoy singing even if they can’t carry a tune. That is fine. It is fun.
But I wasn’t’ sure that I wanted to sit in the beautiful Princess Theater and suffer through a parade of non-singers.
Turns out the seven finalists were all entertaining and well worth the listen.
“Whether guests are up on stage or in the audience deciding who gets their vote, we know ‘The Voice of the Ocean’ will be a huge hit with Princess guests,” Adrian Fischer, vice president of entertainment for Princess Cruises, said in announcing the singing competition.
“Guests will feel like they are part of the globally popular TV show performing on a high tech set almost identical to the hit show, including rotating red chairs and a live Princess band with back-up singers,” Fischer said. “We’re excited to discover and foster undiscovered talent and offer guests a whole new way to express their love of music and performing.”
The way the cruise show works is that passengers participate in karaoke try-out sessions in ship lounges or showrooms at the beginning of each cruise. Entrants must be 16 years or older. Passengers and cruise staff decide who moves on to compete.
Selected singers then are assigned a mentor – either a Princess musical entertainer or vocalist – who meets with them during the cruise to rehearse with the Princess band and back-up singers.
On the big night, the trio of judges will listen but not see the performer as they decide to turn their “I Want You” chair to choose the singer to be on their team. Once teams are chosen, coaches will then pick one finalist. From the three finalists, the audience votes for the winner who will be awarded a trophy and proclaimed “The Voice of the Ocean.”
“It was a lot of fun,” Bill of Miami said, exiting the theater with his wife. “No way would I ever get up there and sing. I think the people who did were brave and they all did a good job.”
Cruise director Kelly Rose said the Voice completion is part of Princess Cruises “Come Back New” brand promotion. The program was designed to elevate passenger experience by creating enriching moments and lifelong memories.
Winner Don said his singing turn in the limelight was “unforgettable.”
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
An interesting display area aboard the Regal Princess honors the show along with the November 2014 naming ceremony of the Regal Princess and its “Love Boat” connection.
One of the photos shows a smiling Florence Henderson at the ceremony. The matriarch of “The Brady Bunch” and a favorite guest on the old “Love Boat,” Florence died in late 2016.
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 Sun Princess in Mexico. For 10 seasons, “The Love Boat” was one of the highest rated prime time television shows in the country.
The show aired from 1977 to 1986. 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. In fact, “Captain Stubing” (actor Gavin MacLeod) serves as the Princess Cruise company spokesman.
“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 celebrating the 50-year partnership.
“They could dream about being out on the open seas on a cruise and discovering the world’s 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.”
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. Half a century after “Love Boat” first aired, Princess Cruises is the third largest cruise line in the world with a fleet of 18 cruise ships and a recognized leader in taking 1.7 million travelers each year to some of the most fascinating cruise destinations around the globe.
For the Regal Princess christening in November 2014, 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.
Frequent show guest star Florence Henderson served as Master of Ceremonies for the special celebration. The photo display also has the bow and cork from that champagne send-off.
“The Love Boat put Princess Cruises on the map, bringing the romance and adventure of our cruise vacations into millions of viewers’ homes for the decade it was on air,” Jan Swartz, the line’s president, said at the ceremony. “So, it was fitting that the cast was selected as godparents for Regal Princess.”
Story and photo by Jackie Sheckler Finch
“For nearly half a century our Princess logo has represented the adventure of cruise travel around the globe,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.
“Now our ships sail to more than 360 ports of call worldwide and will be instantly recognized from afar. As the very first cruise ship built for China, we take great pride that Majestic Princess is our first ship to proudly display our new livery design.”
The new design symbolizes the smooth and flowing gracefulness of ocean waves and captures the excitement and adventure of a Princess cruise vacation.
As the first cruise ship built and designed specifically for the China market, the Majestic Princess also has a godmother or “madrina.” The mother of the ship’s captain Dino Sagani, Graziella Sagani has been named the ship’s madrina.
With a homeport in Shanghai, the Majestic Princess will carry 3,560 guests. Popular features on the new ship include a dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.
The Majestic Princess also will feature a number of new venues and experiences created for the China market. Princess will be revealing details of those features in the coming months.
By Marie Poynter