In honor of Valentine’s Day, a Princess Cruises ship will welcome a celebrity whose fame is tied to romance at sea — Jill Whelan, who starred as Vicki Stubing in “The Love Boat,” the hit TV show that brought cruising into the living rooms of millions. The actress will help Princess Cruises celebrate a big jump in onboard weddings in the Australian market.
Aussie Guests Embrace Shipboard Wedding Ceremonies
Princess Cruises’s Celebrations Ambassador, Jill Whelan, an actress in the cast of “The Love Boat” who played Vicki Stubing (Captain Stubing’s daughter), will sail aboard the line’s 3,600-guest Royal Princess to mark Valentine’s Day in the Australia/New Zealand market.
Whelan, who is returning to Australia for the first time in 40 years, will attend a special event focused on Princess Cruises’ Princess Perfect Weddings, a series of shipboard packages for guests who wish to hold their wedding ceremonies onboard a ship.
The actor’s visit coincides with significant spikes in weddings at sea on Princess Cruises’ ships sailing in the Australia region. The cruise line reports a 127% spike in wedding ceremony bookings Down Under, plus an 83% rise in the number of ceremonies that were held from 2022 to 2023.
“I was lucky enough to star on ‘The Love Boat’ onboard Pacific Princess from the age of 12, and grew up seeing some of the most amazing love stories play out on the show,” said Jill Whelan, original cast member of “The Love Boat.”
“As the Celebrations Ambassador of Princess Cruises, I am excited to see so many Aussies continuing to experience romance and share the love onboard our cruise ships, just as I did all those years ago,” Whelan added.
The cruise line’s announcement that Whelan would join the Royal Princess did not specify the ship’s itinerary, nor did it indicate what the onboard special event would be. However, Royal Princess is set to depart on a Valentine’s Day cruise February 14, 2024, roundtrip from Auckland, New Zealand, and with several calls in Australia.
The 17-day itinerary features visits to Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart, Australia, plus Bay of Islands, Dunedin, Wellington, and Tauranga, New Zealand.
Cruise Line Touts Cost-Effective Weddings at Sea
The increase on shipboard weddings is a boon to Princess Cruises, which offers couples a choice of packages with various amenities and services. In some cases, weddings at sea can be cost-effective compared to traditional wedding events.
“Booking a wedding with Princess Cruises has never been more affordable and accessible than it is today,” said Stuart Allison, senior vice president Asia Pacific, UK & Europe for Princess Cruises.
“Our Princess Perfect Wedding packages are less than half the price of an Australian wedding, ranging from AU$4,468 ($2,909 USD) to AU$9,689 ($6,309 USD), and include everything you need to make the day remarkable,” added Alison.
Princess Cruises offers three basic packages for various group sizes. The Perfect Pair Wedding covers costs for an event, including the couple and up to two guests. The Timeless Ceremony at Sea is geared to a couple and up to eight guests, and for larger groups, the line offers Timeless Wedding at Sea, a package for a couple and up to 18 guests.
The “Love Boat” cruise line in 2023 took steps to further solidify its role as a top wedding-at-sea choice. In June 2023, Princess Cruises named Randy Fenoli as its Love and Romance Ambassador. Fenoli is best known for his roles in the popular TV shows “Randy to the Rescue” and “Say Yes to the Dress.”
In December 2023, the celebrity hosted a bridal fashion-themed cruise onboard Regal Princess. The 7-night Western Caribbean cruise sailed from Galveston, Texas, and offered guests the opportunity to enjoy personalized wedding gown consultations.
Princess Cruises, a Carnival Corporation brand, operates 15 ships and will soon launch its 16th, when Sun Princess debuts. The ship was due to enter service on February 8, 2024 but her delivery by the Fincantieri shipyard has been delayed, forcing the line to cancel her maiden sailing. A new delivery date has not been revealed.