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Audiences in the late ’70s and ’80s tuned in faithfully to The Love Boat for love, some bits of drama, and partying in the high seas. The TV show featured a sea of celebrities who became guests on the ship. The crew also held their roles on the series for years, allowing their fans to connect with them. The show touched on many discussions, and conflicts were usually wrapped up at the end neatly. While The Love Boat didn’t necessarily lack its fair share of scandals, the biggest one perhaps happened when the ship was arrested.

(L-R) Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Gavin MacLeod, Lauren Tewes, Fred Grandy behind a love boat logo
(L-R) Bernie Kopell (Dr. Adam Bricker), Ted Lange (Isaac), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Lauren Tewes (Julie), Fred Grandy (Gopher) | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

‘The Love Boat’ was set in a real-life cruise ship

The scripted show was set aboard the Pacific Princess, which was a real-life cruise ship. It was also filmed in various other cruise liners, including Royal Viking Sky, MS Pearl of Scandinavia, and Sea Princess. However, most of the filming was done in the 20th Century Fox Studios and the Old Warner Brothers Hollywood Studios. The Love Boat was also famous due to its writing style featuring different groups of writers for every episode.

The episodes usually ended up with multiple titles, and they typically had three storylines. One would feature a crew member, the other one focused on how a crew member interacted with the passengers, and the third focused on one or a group of passengers. The storyline featuring the crew was comedic, while the second one took on a romantic comedy format. The third storyline was typically the dramatic one of the three and offered only a few laughs. For its first seven seasons, the show had high ratings, ranking among the top 20. However, the ratings began dropping later on, and the show was eventually canceled after airing for nine seasons.

There were several hookups on the boat

The ’70s were a time when free love and recreational partying were at their heights, and The Love Boat took advantage of that. Being an Aaron Spelling production meant that viewers would see episodes with some sexual undertones. Lauren Tewes, who played cruise director Julie McCoy, said she tried to hook people up a lot on every cruise whenever possible because that was her job.

The cast included Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Merrill Stubing, Fred Grandy as Purser, Lauren Tewes as the cruise director Julie McCoy, Bernie Kopell as the ships’ doctor, and Ted Lange as the bartender. Other cast members included Jill Whelan as the Captain’s daughter, Ted McGinley as the ship’s photographer, and Patricia Klous, who plays Julie’s sister and eventual cruise director in the last two seasons.

The final season introduced a troupe of dancers called The Love Boat Mermaids who performed choreographed dances. The series was also famous for using well-known actors to take on guest roles on the ship. Some of the most famous people to have appeared on the show include Carol Channing, Florence Henderson, Betty White of The Golden Girls, and Marie Osmond.

The ship was held for smuggling drugs

When the series ended, the real-life love boat became involved in the narcotics business. According to BBC News, the liner became a “major tool for smugglers trafficking drugs around the Mediterranean.” The news outlet reported that over 50 pounds of heroin were found aboard the cruise ship in November 1998. The vessel was impounded after officials discovered drugs when the ship docked near Athens from Turkey. The liner had been on a two-week cruise in the Mediterranean, and the impounding ended up stranding 600 passengers who were aboard as the ordeal got sorted out.