The Love Boat is an American romantic comedy/drama television series set on luxury passenger cruise ship MS Pacific Princess, which aired on the ABC television network from 1977 to 1986; in addition, 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. Its regular ports of call were Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco.
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 for a passenger cruise ship line. She was also partly inspired by the 1955 German cruise ship Aurora. 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.The executive producer for the series was Aaron Spelling, who produced several TV series for Four Star Television, and ABC from the 1960s into the 1990s.
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 in February 1990.