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The Love Boat Revisited

Mention of Pacific Princess and the “The Love Boat” springs immediately to mind. This is what happened on a recent cruise on Azamara Pursuit. One evening I got into a conversation with the Bar Manager Dejana about working onboard cruise ships, during the conversation it transpired that Dejana had worked for Princess Cruises prior to her time on Azamara. I explained that I have worked for Princess when they were initially taken over by P&O in 1974 explaining that I had been on the takeover team when Island Venture became Island Princess. Then in April 1975, I was flown to Newport News Virginia where Sea Venture operated by flagship cruises was undergoing transformation to Pacific Princess, the ship was being refitted in dry dock in a naval shipyard, which was rather interesting as we were only allowed in certain areas in the shipyard and any deviation from these areas we were likely to get picked up by the Military Police.

The first Captain on the newly converted Pacific Princess was John Crichton.

During my time at sea, he was the most approachable Old Man I sailed with.

Shortly after this, a film crew arrived on board to film what was to be the terrifically successful series for American Broadcasting Company “The Love Boat” this was first aired on 17 September 1976 and continued for approximately 10 years. The Original in 1976 was a made for TV movie, which was based on a non-fictional book “The Loveboats” by Jeraldine Saunders of her anecdotal account of her time employed as the first full-time female cruise director.

Outside deck shots were filmed on Pacific Princess. Island Princess was also used at times as the ships were sister ships and while not identical were interchangeable for filing purposes. Internal shots were filmed in TV studios ashore.

Being an assistant purser on these ships at the time I was constantly being compared to the TV character of Gopher by the ship’s passengers.

Gopher and Salty Seadog

Gopher was played by actor Fred Grandy. Grandy appeared in every episode throughout the run of the series but did not appear in the last of the TV movies, as he was campaigning for the first of his four consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

At the time I remember filming on board could be very disruptive as the camera equipment back then was very large and unwieldy and involved having lots of cables running around the filming areas.

I meet Dejana the Bar Manager and Sheldon the Head Barman on Azamara Pursuit

On hearing that I had worked on “The Love Boat” Dejana could not believe that she had met someone who had worked on Pacific Princess at the time and informed me that her Bar Manager Sheldon wanted to meet me.

Sheldon was a small boy at home in Trinidad and Tobago when the Love Boat was aired and he had watched it religiously, vowing to himself that he wanted to work on cruise ships, finally fulfilling his childhood dreams he ran away to sea and now holds his current position with Azamara.

Travelling on a smaller cruise ship is a bit like living in a small village. The following evening Heike the hotel manager on Azamara Pursuit, sought me out for a chat. I must admit I really enjoyed chatting to her and discussing some of the problems of running a floating hotel. Some issues had changed but many were much the same, some forty years after my time at sea.

Azamara Pursuit is in many ways similar to Pacific Princess

Azamara Pursuit Pacific Princess (The Love Boat)


30,227 19,903


592 ft 550 ft


83 ft 6 in 80 ft 8 inch


19 ft 6 inch 24 ft 3 inch


12 Decks 9 Passenger 8 Decks 6 Passsenger


2 propellers 2 propellers


18 knots 20 knots 21 knots max


702 max 640 lower berths 750 max


408 350

Passenger wise the two ships were pretty similar. The main differences between 1974 and 2022 were dining and entertainment. The Love boat had the Coral Dining Room where breakfast, lunch and dinner were served in two sittings each day.

Enjoying dinner with passengers in the Coral Dining Room

on "The Love Boat" - Pacific Princess

On special days at sea, a deck buffet would be served, for example, whilst transiting the Panama Canal.

The Love Boat Revisited - Memories from 1976

Read more from Salty Seadog.

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John Martin
John Martin
May 15, 2022

I take it that it is you David in the centre of the picture with the Bar Manager and Head Barman. ......mmmm my perception of 'Salty Seadog' has now been shattered. But I guess seeing you in your 'youth', I think I see similarities (apart from the hair style!) ps Like the shirt.

Salty Seadog
Salty Seadog
May 15, 2022
Replying to

Sorry to ruin the illusion John. I debated whether to post this picture or remain forever young. You can see the younger me the dining room picture left hand side.

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