The Love Boat is an American comedy/drama television series set on luxury passenger cruise ship S.S. Pacific Princess, which aired on the ABC television network from May 5, 1977 until May 24, 1986; plus, four three-hour long specials aired in 1986, 1987, and 1990. The series revolves around the ship’s captain Merrill Stubing (played by Gavin MacLeod) and a handful of its crew, with several passengers—played by various guest star actors for each episode—having romantic and humorous adventures. It was part of ABC’s popular Saturday-night lineup of the time, which also included Fantasy Island until that series ended two years earlier in 1984.
The original 1976 made-for-TV movie on which the show was based (also titled The Love Boat) was itself based on the nonfiction book Love Boats by Jeraldine Saunders, a real-life cruise director on a passenger cruise ship line. It was followed by two more TV-made-for movies (titled The Love Boat II and The New Love Boat), all before the series began its first season in September 1977.
In 1997, the episode with segment titles “Hidden Treasure”, “Picture from the Past”, and “Ace’s Salary” (season 9, episode 3) was ranked No. 82 on TV Guide’s 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time from TV Guide magazine. The Love Boat ran for nine seasons plus four specials. Another made-for-TV movie, titled The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage, starring four of the original cast members, aired finally on February 12, 1990.