Many of us in our 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s who are avid cruisers today, had our first introduction to the world of cruising through the 70’s TV show The Love Boat. The TV show which was loosely based on a tell all book by one the world’s first female cruise directors, was known for its cheesy laugh track, endless parade of nostalgic A list stars, Hollywood B listers, profession athletes, and up and coming starlets. One of the other stars of the show was flasgship Pacific Princess. While much of the the show was filmed in a look-a-like sound stage, the real ship was always featured in show’s transition and location establishing shots. About once a year they would do an on location special with the episodes actually shot on location on the ship. The ship features two “fabulous at the time” design features: the large entry atrium with curved stair case and the three ringed pool with surrounding deck. Both of these locations were used on the sound stage and on the real ship as settings with in which for the intertwined stories to developed.
I don’t think I ever missed a show. Even though the stories were either trite or melodramatic, I was always happy on a Saturday night watching my favorite characters, Gofer, Julie, Isaac, Doc, and Captain Stuebing, and their misadventures on board the Pacific Princess. The ship itself even seemed like a celebrity to me. So much so that when it was docked next to us in San Juan, we asked if we could tour the ship. Back then the security rules were much more relaxed, so they let us on board to walk around and take pictures. It really made for a memorable experience. Their special cruise to Alaska was the reason my husband and I choose an Alaskan cruise for our honeymoon. Before the launch of the Travel Channel and the NatGeo channel, shows like The Love Boat gave us our first glimpses of spectacular places like Alaska, the Mexican Riviera,the Panama Canal and the Caribbean.
So you can imagine my sadness today when I heard that the Pacific Princess, now known as the MV Pacifica, is headed to a the scrap heap in a Turkish shipyard. The ship, decommissioned for over 5 years now, has made its final journey where she will be taken apart and sold as scrap. On 6 August 2013, she arrived in Aliga where she will be dismantled by the Izmir Ship Recycling Company, which acquired her for €2.5 million. Her sister ship, is still in service of Voyages of Discovery as the Discovery. Goodbye Old Friend!