On the The Love Boat, Captain Merrill Stubing and his loyal crew navigated the open seas, traversing romantic blunders, and catering to the wacky needs of their guests aboard the S.S. Pacific Princess. It was a Princess ship that the cast called home, after all, so it makes total sense that the cruise line would partner with the real life stars of the beloved show and bring them aboard for seaside endeavors.
In early fall, 2,600 guests set sail on Star Princess from Fairbanks, Alaska. The journey began with a virtual welcome video from Jill Whelan, The Love Boat’s Vicki Stubing, reporting from her closet to fill us in on her cruise packing secrets—“Alaska is all about layers.”
Once on board, we found our stateroom televisions on and The Love Boat reruns happily greeting us—“It’s on ad nauseam in the cabins so you’ll get your fill,” Whelan told me, with a laugh. She admitted to finding herself occasionally watching the syndicated show during days at sea. “I’m sitting in my room eating chocolate going ‘Ooh I remember those days,’” she cooed, nostalgia in her voice.
Guests entered the Princess Theater for a safety briefing while a song to the tune of The Love Boat played from the speakers—“Safety is not such a bore, it’s life vests, sanitizer and more.”
Whelan led a tour of the ship, which included “the best pizza at sea,” the Lotus Spa and Vines Wine Bar. We followed The Love Boat alumni up and down ship’s many stairs, as she let us in on her essential cruise rule. “Never take the elevator. This earns you extra pizza!”
Whelan revealed this was her first time to Alaska. It was mine as well so we went for the full experience.