Princess Cruises celebrated Gavin MacLeod, the beloved award-winning actor who played Captain Merrill Stubing on the iconic “Love Boat” TV show, for his 30 years serving as the cruise line’s global ambassador. The City of Santa Clarita, Calif., home of the world headquarters of Princess Cruises, honored MacLeod by proclaiming July 6 “Gavin MacLeod Princess Cruises Ambassador Day” during a special ceremony hosted by Captain Stubing’s TV daughter Jill Whelan, aka “Vicki Stubing,” which was attended by hundreds of Princess employees and fans.
MacLeod has now served as the cruise line’s celebrity ambassador for three decades, exclusively promoting the premium cruise line to millions of consumers through thousands of media interviews, public appearances, travel industry conferences and on board the Princess Cruises fleet, proudly sharing the joys of cruising.
Princess Cruises president, Jan Swartz, also made an exclusive announcement at the event. MacLeod will continue his ambassador duties for the line with an upcoming role as celebrity judge on the ship’s newest onboard entertainment offering, “The Voice of the Ocean.” The show is based on the excitement and spectacle of TV’s wildly popular international singing competition and is brought to life throughout the cruise with auditions, mentor rehearsal sessions, the iconic “I Want You” chairs, three charismatic team coaches and ultimately a live finale performance where guests choose the winner.
“We are so proud to honor Gavin MacLeod as our beloved global ambassador and treasure the impact he’s had on not only Princess Cruises but the entire industry over the last 30 years,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “In this role, Gavin has truly touched millions of people, sharing and listening to cherished cruise memories. If you’ve been lucky enough to swap stories with Gavin, shake his hand or take a photo, you’ve been lucky enough to experience his pure passion for cruising and love of life.”
From 1977-1986, MacLeod won the hearts of millions of viewers playing everyone’s favorite cruise ship captain on “The Love Boat,” as Princess Cruises served as the backdrop for what became one of the highest-rated primetime television shows in history. The show has been widely credited with introducing millions of viewers to contemporary cruise vacations sparking a dramatic expansion of the industry.
“I am deeply humbled by this occasion marking my 30th year serving as global ambassador for Princess Cruises,” said MacLeod. “Promoting Princess has truly been one of the highlights of my life. People still come up to me and tell me that ‘The Love Boat’ gave them something to dream about and now all these years later, cruising is a reality for millions and the growth of the industry just proves that dreams really do come true.”
With a successful career spanning more than 60 years, MacLeod is a celebrated television, film and theater actor widely known for his leading role as Merrill Stubing on “The Love Boat” and Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Recently he published a best-selling autobiography, “This is Your Captain Speaking,” starred in a two-man play “Happy Hour” in his hometown Palm Springs, Calif., and received a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.