Princess Cruises will ring in the new year 2015 and its 50th anniversary celebrations in an unprecedented way – with its first-ever float in the world-famous Rose Parade on January 1 in Pasadena, California. As a special feature, the six original cast members of The Love Boat television show will ride on the ship’s bow and “cruise” down the five-and-a-half mile parade route. It should be quite a sight to see a floral version of The Love Boat motoring down Colorado Boulevard on new year’s morning.
Princess Cruises 2015 Rose Parade Float rendering
The Love Boat cast, including Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Fred Grandy (Chief Purser Gopher Smith), Ted Lange (Bartender Isaac Washington), Bernie Kopell (Doc Bricker), Lauren Tewes (Cruise Director Julie McCoy) and Jill Whelan (Captain’s daughter Vicki Stubing), will have recently presided over the christening ceremony officially naming the newest Princess ship REGAL PRINCESS, serving as the ship’s godparents for the festivities on November 5, 2014 in Ft. Lauderdale. In addition to paying tribute to the television show that made Princess Cruises one of the most famous names in cruising, the Rose Parade float will depict the REGAL PRINCESS symbolically sailing through the world’s fascinating destinations and iconic landmarks that guests have experienced with Princess for the past 50 years.
REGAL PRINCESS sea trials April 2014, photo courtesy Fincantieri .
“Since the theme of this year’s Rose Parade is ‘Inspiring Stories,’ we can think of no more perfect opportunity to launch our 50th anniversary year celebrations,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “For the last five decades of our guests sailing with us to amazing places, they’ve returned with inspiring memories that have lasted a lifetime, and we want to celebrate this on the very first day of 2015.” She added that because The Love Boat played such a distinctive part in the company’s history, including the cast members on the Rose Parade float was a fun opportunity to pay tribute to the television show that introduced Princess Cruises and modern-day cruising to millions of Americans for ten years from 1977 to 1986.
PRINCESS PATRICIA September, 1965:, from the collection of Steven J. Pickens.
The Princess Cruises float, being designed and built by Phoenix Decorating Company, will be 60 feet long and 24 feet high, and will be covered by more than 24,000 thousand flowers and natural materials. Famous for being held under sunny skies when much of the country is experiencing winter weather, the Rose Parade is viewed by some 700,000 spectators lining the parade route, and by approximately 80 million viewers on television around the globe. The official inauguration of the REGAL PRINCESS kicks off a full year of activities and special events surrounding Princess Cruises 50th anniversary. The company grew from small beginnings with their first cruise aboard the PRINCESS PATRICIA, a 6,062 gross ton, 374 foot long steamer chartered from the Canadian Pacific Railway. That pioneering voyage to what came to be known as the Mexican Riviera departed from Long Beach, California on December 3, 1965.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
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