About Gavin MacLeod, Princess Cruises Global Ambassador
Princess Cruises Global Ambassador
(35 years – 1986 to 2021)
Gavin MacLeod was perhaps best known for his role as Captain Merrill Stubing in the popular television series, “The Love Boat.” One of the longest running television shows in history, “The Love Boat” cruised through 10 seasons from 1977 to 1986 followed by four, three-hour long TV specials and is still in syndication in 92 countries worldwide.
In 1986, MacLeod accepted an invitation to formally join the Princess Cruises family to serve as the cruise lines’ ambassador and spokesperson. Throughout his 35-year partnership with the cruise line, MacLeod conveyed his passion for cruising by making appearances at numerous special events, travel agent trade shows and onboard Princess cruise ships signing autographs, sharing stories and giving countless embraces with fans from around the world. He was a trusted and familiar face in marketing and advertising campaigns, conducted thousands of media interviews and helped to launch nearly every new Princess ship that joined the fleet. One of his greatest joys in the second half of his illustrious career was traveling the world extolling his passion for cruising and Princess Cruises, his ocean-going co-star.
His three-and-a-half decades with Princess Cruises makes him the longest-serving brand spokesperson in history. Highlights of this partnership include:
- MacLeod rang the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) opening bell on October 23, 2000 when P&O Princess were first listed on the exchange.
- For 10 years in a row he was a special guest aboard a Valentine’s Day cruise where he and his wife presided over the renewal of vows of hundreds of couples. Years later, in 2020, MacLeod, joined by his “Love Boat” TV daughter Jill Whelan, served as officiant and matron of honor (respectively) in support of Princess Cruises breaking a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the “largest multi-location vow renewal” where 1,443 couples reaffirmed their love for one another during simultaneous ceremonies onboard three Princess ships.
- MacLeod, along with “The Love Boat” ensemble cast members, were bestowed the distinguished honor of christening and officially naming two ships; Dawn Princess (1997) and Regal Princess (2014), which served as a precursor for the 50th Golden Anniversary Celebration Year for Princess Cruises (2015).
- On January 1, 2015, MacLeod, as his character Captain Stubing, would be at the helm of a ship one last time when he, and his fellow cast members, cruised down Colorado Boulevard on the bow of a Princess Cruise ship float in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade. The float, themed “50 Years of Inspiring Travel” won the prestigious Craftsman Trophy for Exceptional Achievement in Showmanship and Dramatic Impact.
- To mark his 20th anniversary serving as Princess Cruises brand ambassador, MacLeod was honored by the Cruise Lines International Association as an inductee in the “Hall of Fame” in 2006.
- MacLeod released his autobiography, This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life in 2013. Part of his book promotional tour included appearances on Princess cruise ships, where he shared his life story with guests and signed copies of his best-selling autobiography. In 2014, he was also awarded a star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.
- In July 2016, Princess celebrated MacLeod’s 30th anniversary serving as the company’s 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 his TV daughter Jill Whelan, aka “Vicki Stubing.”
- In May 2018, the Hollywood Walk of Fame dedicated an honorary star plaque recognizing MacLeod, his original “The Love Boat” cast members and Princess Cruises for their contributions to the history of television and support of the preservation of the Walk of Fame.
- To celebrate his 80th birthday, a ships pastry chefs created a special cake that was a replica of the original Pacific Princess (“The Love Boat” ocean-going co-star); he performed “Love Letters” for guests onboard several cruises; participated as a celebrity judge for “The Voice of the Ocean,” guest singing competition, signed countless autographs and posed for photos with each and every one of his beloved fans and fellow Princess cruisers.
It will come as no surprise that MacLeod’s favorite way to vacation was by cruise ship, embarking on many memorable voyages with his family and friends. His favorite cruise destination was Tahiti and he loved any Italian dish the culinary team lovingly prepared for him, especially Fettuccini Alfredo, a Princess dining room specialty.
Most recently, Princess celebrated MacLeod’s 90th birthday in 2021, with a special video tribute from “Love Boat” cast members, celebrity friends and Princess Cruises colleagues.
Images for Download
Gavin MacLeod as The Love Boat’s Captain Merrill Stubbing
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Princess Cruises celebrating Gavin MacLeod on his 80th Birthday with a Pacific Princess cruise ship cake.
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Gavin MacLeod with The Love Boat co-star Jill Whelan celebrating his 30th Year serving as Princess Cruises Global Ambassador and Spokesperson.
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Original ensemble cast of The Love Boat celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Princess Cruises (Dec 4, 2015).
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Original ensemble cast of The Love Boat and Princess Cruises honored by Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises (behind cast).
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