The Love Boat Makes Final Voyage

Quail Love Boat
StefanoF, Flickr

The iconic MS Pacific, better known as “The Love Boat,” has made her final voyage.

Purchased for 2.5 million euro by a Turkish ship recycling company and taken to a scrapyard on the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey, the cruise ship will be stripped for metal and parts, as a renovation of the 42-year-old ship would have been too costly.

On the Aaron Spelling comedy, the Pacific Princess sailed between California and the Mexican Riviera from 1977 to 1986, with cruise director Julie, bartender Isaac and Captain Stubing at the helm. The actual ship had been decommissioned years ago and was languishing in Italy’s Genoa port, after sailing for Princess Cruises until 2002 and later Quail Cruises.Take a photo tour of the ship in its glory days here.

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Trekking Couple Circles Planet Three Times In 424 Days

trekking

They started trekking the planet more than a year ago, promising to travel the globe bringing children in classrooms from around the world with them, virtually, as they visited scores of countries and continents. Now their journey is complete and Darren and Sandy Van Soye are back to tell about it.

The story begins in February 2012, when the couple from Southern California started on a global adventure to raise awareness about world geography and make the subject more accessible to children. Hoping to visit 50 countries on six continents in 424 days, they planned to share the journey with more than 700 classrooms representing 50,000 students.

“Our dream is to educate children about geography and world cultures so we’ve planned the ultimate trek around the world to do just that,” Sandy Van Soye told Gadling when they began. In January of this year after passing the 50,000 mile mark, they had stopped in 40 countries with another dozen or so to go before returning to the United Sates. At the time, they had already beaten their own projections with 850 classrooms in 20 countries following their journey online.

Now with their world trek complete, the Van Soyes have traveled a total of 77,000 miles or the equivalent of three times around the earth at its equator. Their trek is an impressive amount of travel in such a short period of time for sure. But how they went about it is even more interesting.Starting on January 28, 2012, the journey began aboard a cruise ship, Princess CruisesPacific Princess, a small ship, which proved to be an efficient mode of transportation.

“We used cruise ships to get us between continents so that we could see more of the world,” said Sandy Van Soye. Spending 97 days of the nearly 500-day trek at sea the couple racked up 35 ports in 18 countries. An impressive number but travel via cruise ship is not the fastest way to be sure. From San Diego, it took 29 days to reach Sydney Australia, normally a 16- or 17-hour flight. But along the way, they visited Hawaii, American Samoa, Fiji and New Zealand.

trekkingAfter a seven-day trek in Tasmania, the team boarded another cruise ship, Ocean Princess to travel near Australia’s eastern coast, along the way visiting the Great Barrier Reef, the city of Darwin, Bali, Indonesia, and Ko Samui, Thailand, before arriving in Singapore. At each stop, they selected travel plans that would show students following along the natural beauty and unique people they encountered.

On land for the next eight months via a series of multiple day hikes, they visited 27 more countries in Asia, Europe and Africa before boarding the Pacific Princess in Rome. That Mediterranean sailing crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailing up the Amazon River all the way to Manaus, Brazil.

Two months on land took them through 4,600 miles of South America before the final leg of their trek a voyage on Star Princess in Valparaíso, Chile, for their fifth and final cruise home.

trekkingOf all the places they went, which was their favorite? Kenya because of its rich culture and natural beauty

“It is a place that kids (have) heard of, so it was a pleasure to go there and talk more about it,” said Sandy of their visit to three Kenyan schools, one in the Maasai Mara and two in the Samburu region.

The biggest surprise along the way? Riga, Latvia

“There was just so much to see and do here and, though it is a capital city, it was relatively inexpensive,” said Sandy.

In addition to a lifetime of memories, the Van Soye’s trek produced a library of 60 four-page education modules for teachers available as supplements to existing classroom materials.
Also, their Trekking the Planet website contains free articles, quizzes, more than 70 documentary videos and a summary infographic: “Trekking The Planet: By The Numbers.

So is that the end of the road for this couple? Hardly.

Driven by the fact that nearly a third of U.S. young adults cannot locate the Pacific Ocean on a map, Trekking the Planet hopes to help educators change these statistics with future geography-oriented projects.


[Photo credit – TrekkingThePlanet]

LEGO Love Boat gets surprise ship inspection

LEGO Love BoatProfessional LEGO builder Ryan McNaught knew that a lot of people would attend the Brickworld LEGO convention in Chicago where his model of TV’s Love Boat would be on display. But little did he know that among those visiting Brickworld would be actor Gavin MacLeod, captain of the original Love Boat.

MacLeod, a Princess Cruises ambassador, paid a visit to the convention to surprise McNaught. One of the few master LEGO builders in the world, McNaught had no idea he would come face to face with the real “Love Boat” captain.

Presented with his own captain’s hat, McNaught called the experience “mind blowing, especially after seeing him on TV for all those years.”

MacLeod was astounded by the ship constructed from more than 250,000 LEGO bricks. His surprise “inspection” revealed that the ship even features the TV show cast, with LEGO models of his own Captain Stubing, as well as purser Gopher, cruise director Julie, and even some of the show’s most famous guests.

The model features the exterior of the ship on one side, while the other side is an open cutaway showing everything from chefs in the kitchen to passengers working out in the health club. Flashing LED lights for the disco and tiny motors powering the propellers and elevators complete the replica.

The son of a Melbourne, Australia travel agent, the 36-year-old McNaught was inspired by the many cruises he has enjoyed over the years.

“I wanted to do something with character so I chose the original Love Boat, Pacific Princess, and studied photos and deck plans to capture her features and her beauty,” McNaught told Gadling last January.

Love Boat captain cruises to 80th birthday, at sea of course

Love Boat Captain birthday

On one of television’s longest running shows he was Captain Merrill Stubing of The Love Boat, cruising through 10 seasons from 1977 to 1986. Gavin MacLeod celebrated his 80th birthday this week along with friends, family and crew members aboard Princess Cruises Golden Princess in Los Angeles.

While the show stopped production in 1986, MacLeod has been “at sea” as Princess Cruises spokesperson. This year marks his 25th anniversary with the line and fans still gather wherever he may be appearing. Still in syndication in 92 countries worldwide, The Love Boat has generated what one expert estimates at over $3 billion in sales for the cruise industry.But my how far things have come since kindly Captain Stubing and the gang rode the high seas on national television. The 20,636 ton Pacific Princess that sailed for Princess Cruises between 1975 and 2002 carried 646 passengers and was seen as seen as one of the latest and greatest of ships, setting the table for a feast of unprecedented growth in the cruise industry.

Today’s latest and greatest ships are easily ten times larger carrying close to ten times more passengers. You can bet that if Captain Merril Stubing was in command, he would know every one of their names too. Happy Birthday Gavin.