The Santa Clarita cruise line last week sold its Pacific Princess ship for an undisclosed price to Azamara, a cruise brand formerly owned by Royal Caribbean that was acquired earlier this month by private equity firm Sycamore Partners.
The ship was named after a pop culture icon. The original MS Pacific Princess sailed from 1975 to 2002 and was the set for ABC’s comedy TV series “The Love Boat.” The show was filmed on board from 1977 to 1986.
The current-generation Pacific Princess entered service in 1999 for Renaissance Cruises. It joined Princess in 2002. The next year, actor Gavin MacLeod, in costume as Captain Stubing of “The Love Boat,” joined the bridge crew for the season’s inaugural cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge. The ship would go on to sail more than 1.6 million miles in its career, Princess said in a statement. At 30,000 tons and with a guest capacity of just 670, it was the smallest ship in the Princess fleet.
According to a statement from Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas, the Pacific will join a fledgling fleet of four smaller cruise ships aimed “to sail into intimate rivers, visit smaller, as well as less-crowded ports other vessels can’t access.”
The sale is part of an effort by parent company Carnival Corp. in Miami to offload 18 older, less efficient ships from its fleets to cut costs as cruise activity remains on hold in most of the world because of the coronavirus. In September, Princess sold its Sun Princess and Sea Princess ships to Peace Boat, a Japanese humanitarian aid NGO, and Sanya International Cruise Development, based in China, respectively.
Princess hasn’t indicated if it will rename another ship after The Love Boat.