REGAL PRINCESS Gets A Love Boat Welcome, Part Two

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Continue with Peter Knego aboard Princess Cruises REGAL PRINCESS as the ship departs on her American inaugural “shakedown” cruise from Fort Lauderdale.

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THE SANDS OF ALANG: The latest DVD about shipbreaking in Alang, India

All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2014 unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Our first stop this morning was the bar at the entrance to the Princess Live TV studio and conference room for a cappuccino.

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The Love Boat cast press conference in Princess Live.

In Princess Live, we grabbed a front row seat and set up the cameras for a fascinating hour long press conference with Gavin Macleod and the cast of The Love Boat. I would have loved to have asked the cast for some specific memories about actually filming aboard the PACIFIC and ISLAND PRINCESSes but was very pleased when Gavin offered his recollection of bringing PACIFIC PRINCESS out of New York harbor on her final Princess departure in 2003.

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The Sanctuary, facing forward from starboard.

We had the rest of the day at leisure, which for me, meant continuing to document the ship. I am happy Princess has not gone the way of other lines in creating a floating amusement park with bumper cars, sky pods and superfluous gadgets. Of course, there is SeaWalk but that is actually an attraction that enhances, versus distracts from, the sea-going experience with its vertiginous sea views. We started at the adults-only Sanctuary at the forward end of Sun Deck (17), where there are cabanas for hire, guests can get massages and enjoy picnic-style treats for a nominal charge.

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Retreat Pool, facing aft.

The sheltered “no charge” adults-only Retreat Pool area follows the Sanctuary on Sun Deck. There are also cabanas-for-hire here.

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Sports Court, facing forward.

At the aft end of REGAL PRINCESS on Sky (19) and Sports (18) Decks, there is The Sports Court with its games area (volleyball, basketball and deck tennis), putting green and driving ranges.

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Eggplant and pasta appetizer in Alfredos.

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Pizza in Alfredos.

As embarkation for the shakedown cruise commenced and the REGAL PRINCESS filled with new guests, we decided to take a break for lunch at Alfredos. Overlooking the Piazza on Deck 6, Alfredos is Princess’ casual, “no charge” Italian trattoria, offering a menu of appetizers, pasta and made-to-order pizzas.

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CARIBBEAN PRINCESS departs.

Out on deck, whistle blasts were exchanged between the departing CARIBBEAN PRINCESS and REGAL PRINCESS, the latter saluting with a truncated version of The Love Boat theme.

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Sabatini’s, facing forward.

We enjoyed dinner in Sabatini’s, the extra-tariff Italian Restaurant just forward of the Piazza on Plaza Deck (5).

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Sabatini’s mozzarella appetizer.

It all began with a mouthwatering brusaola mozzarella appetizer drenched in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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Princess Theater, facing forward/starboard.

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“Fiera” aboard REGAL PRINCESS.

In the Princess Theater, we enjoyed the new blockbuster production called “Fiera”, which swirled with circus-like imagery and state-of-the-art visual and sonic effects.

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The Love Boat on TV.

Back in the cabin, it was so much fun to scroll through the catalog of Love Boat seasons to find the episodes shot on board STELLA SOLARIS. Sweet dreams, indeed!

Friday, November 7, 2014.

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Under the SeaWalk!

The REGAL PRINCESS had just dropped anchor at Princess Cays on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera as we began to stir. Out on our balcony, there was quite a view in reverse of the SeaWalk, directly above.

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REGAL PRINCESS Piazza, facing forward from Deck 7.

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Due cappuccini at International Cafe.

On our way to the theater to muster for a morning snorkeling shore excursion, we stopped for a pair of cappuccinos at the handy International Cafe on the bottom level of the Piazza.

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REGAL PRINCESS at Princess Cays.

Moments later, we clambered aboard one of the ship’s large tenders and found perfect seats on the open top deck for optimal footage of the REGAL PRINCESS as we buzzed to shore.

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REGAL PRINCESS from shore.

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Snorkeling seas of Princess Cays.

Once ashore, we were led to a dive boat which took us past the anchored REGAL P and along the coast for a snorkel in the temperate waters of a coral reef.

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Wine and chocolate pairing.

Back aboard the REGAL, I joined the press group for a wine and chocolate pairing on the Horizon Terrace. We were serenaded by Jack Jones, the original voice of The Love Boat theme before a procession of wines and handcrafted chocolates ensued.

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Catching up with the Doc, Bernie Koppel.

I was lucky enough to catch Love Boat’s one and only Doc, Bernie Koppel, for a quick photo op.

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Visiting with Jeraldine.

After dinner, there was another photo op with Jeraldine Saunders, author of “The Love Boats”.  This gracious lady was kind enough to sit down and have a quick chat with me before we all headed into the showroom.

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Charo blows everyone away in the Princess Theater.

At 9:30 PM, to a packed, standing room only house, the magnifico Charo burst onto the stage with her raucous wit and virtuostic flamenco guitar playing. It was an honor to witness her in person after admiring her for so many decades.

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Movies Under The Stars at sea.

We took a walk in the balmy breeze wafting across the dramatically lit upper decks of the REGAL PRINCESS before retiring that night.

Saturday, November 8, 2014.

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Wedding balloons.

Our day at sea began with one of the most ideal unions ever, the wedding of fellow writers David Molyneaux and Fran Golden. The two fell in love aboard a Princess Cruise and now the newest ship in the fleet would serve as their 142,229-gross ton wedding chapel.

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Gavin speaks.

How many shipboard couples share the honor of Gavin Macleod’s in-person blessing?

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Bride, Groom and Captain.

As a bastion of balloons hovered overhead, the bridge and groom were joined in holy matrimony by REGAL PRINCESS good Captain Edward Perrin.

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Balloons descend!

The rest of the morning and part of the afternoon was spent toasting the newlyweds and savoring another gourmand’s feast in Sabatinis in their honor.

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Retreat Pool at sea.

Up on deck, as REGAL PRINCESS made her way slowly back to Fort Lauderdale, the weather was nothing short of sublime.

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Traveling with Val. D’Elia, that is.

After dinner in the Symphony Dining Room, I was delighted to spend some time with NY1’s Val D’Elia, chatting about everything from the SS UNITED STATES and first PACIFIC PRINCESS to the outstanding REGAL.

Sunday, November 9, 2014.

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Fort Lauderdale fleet.

These inaugural events are like a nibble at an endless smorgasbord of events and dining. There is so much more to the sparkling REGAL PRINCESS than I have been able to include in these reports but hopefully one day, I can catch up with her again. In the meantime, as we disembarked on a busy yet gloomy Sunday morning, I am sure no one will forget her christening, the onset of Princess 50th Anniversay celebrations and the unbeatable gathering of stars and comrades that made it so magical.

End

Very Special Thanks: Julie Benson, Karen Candy, Briana Chisham

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea.  With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications.  Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India.  He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
Peter Knego

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