Saturday, July 14, 2012

R.I.P./S.I.P. The Love Boat 1971-2012

Rest in Peace, or more appropriately S.I.P. – Scrap in Peace The Love Boat. You're on your final voyage to the scrap yard..

The once fabled Love Boat is unceremoniously cast adrift, run aground, abandoned, cast to the winds, struck the shoals, scuttled, lost at sea, or scrapped.

Remember the Love Boat?

Probably not.

The sappy, feel good, sit com sailed on ABC from 1977-1986. It always had a happy ending as passenger after passenger, and even crew members, saw their bright future after a cruise on the Love Boat – none more so than Fred Gandy,  “Gopher,” the ship’s purser.  Fred was a Harvard grad, who jumped the sinking sitcom in 1986 to get elected to Congress from Iowa as a Republican by 3,000 votes. A win is a win.

On the other hand, Lauren Tewes, the ship’s Cruise Director, had a real life problem with cocaine in 1984. She was an especially happy cruise director until the Princess sailed without her.

The episodes, even the travel logs, were memorably unmemorable, like saccharin. However, The Love Boat was a welcome, escapist respite from the malaise of President Crater.

The show sparked a boom in the cruise industry, showing us the cruises were not limited to retirees sailing to the Caribbean.

The Pacific Princess was the cruise vessel featured in the show, although sister ships sometimes subbed and most of the scenes were filmed on sets on shore.

It last sailed as a Princess in 2002. The Princess actually lost her allure in 1998 when it was discovered that the ship had been by drug syndicates in the Mediterranean. She hadn't aged well. 

Cast adrift, the erstwhile Princess went through many owners.

The Pacific Princess became too small to be efficiently run by today’s major cruise lines. The initial capacity was 646 passengers, subsequently increased to 780. Today’s Caribbean Princess carries 3,080 passengers and the massive Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas can carry 6,400 passengers.

The ship has been out of service since 2008. It is currently sitting at a dock in Genoa, having been acquired by a Turkish company, Cemsan, which will ship it to turkey to be scrapped. The previous owner could not pay the $5 million asbestos removal bill.

The Love Boat, the unloved, unwanted Love Boat, will not even be sunk at sea.

No bon voyage, no au revoir, no hasta la vista, no happy voyage, no “having a great time – wish you were here,” no ceremony.

The Love Boat hasn’t been missed in a decade.

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