Bernie Kopell played the ‘Doc’ on The love Boat television series for nearly ten years. Along with his shipmates, Captain Stubing, Gopher, Julie McCoy, Isaac and Vicki, Doctor Adam Bricker (Bernie Kopell) contributed to the massive growth and success of the multi-billion dollar cruise industry. Before The Love Boat, the cruise industry was very small with small vessels and even some old converted ocean liners, and the primary base of passengers were the elite, elderly, wealthy-type who could afford a luxury cruise vacation. The Love Boat changed that dynamic by introducing romance, adventure, and a vacation for the average person each saturday night followed by Fantasy Island. The cruise industry quickly grew from a small boutique vacation option on small vessels to a massive industry where cruise lines had to built newer, larger ships to accommodate the expanding market.
Today the average sized cruise ship is 90,000 tons with a capacity to carry over 3,000 passengers, easily twice the size and capacity of the Titanic from 1912. It’s difficult to imagine what the cruise industry would be like today if it were not for The Love Boat. This television show introduced a new and exciting vacation option to vacationers who wanted to duplicate the romance of a cruise vacation seen on The Love Boat TV show each week, with numerous celebrities acting as passengers eager to find love and romance and adventure on a cruise ship. Actors like Tom Hanks, Billy Crystal, Marion Ross, Florence Henderson, Charo, Ted Knight, Milton Berle, Tom Bosley, Loni Anderson, Peter Graves, and many famous actors from the 70’s and 80’s graced the decks of the Pacific Princess each week making the concept of a cruise vacation more appealing to the average person. In fact many people booked passage on the actual Pacific Princess with Princess Cruises expecting to see Captain Stubing or Adam Bricker, only to realize that The Love Boat was a television show with fictitious characters, filmed in a studio in Hollywood and occassionally onboard the Pacific Princess.
February 13th, 2014, Cruising Authority presented a very special Lifetime Achievement Award to Bernie Kopell, aboard the Ruby Princess, during a cruise to the Western Caribbean. It was the perfect moment during a Valentines Day cruise sponsored by the American Heart Association and Princess Cruises to find Bernie Kopell traveling with his wife onboard a Princess Cruises’ vessel. Bernie even put on his Doctor uniform / costume that he wore while filming The Love Boat. It was during this cruise aboard the Ruby Princess that the Captain, Fabriszio Maresca, and Princess Cruises’ Senior Vice President & Chief Medical Officer conspired to give Bernie Kopell a promotion from Commander with three stripes to a Senior Officer with four stripes. Bernie was given a new crew uniform with four stripes for his promotion.
Bernie was quick to explain that the success of The Love Boat was a team effort with his fellow actors and friends, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Lange, Fred Grandy, Lauren Tewes, and Jill Whelan. All of these fine actors deserve credit for their contributions to the success and growth of the cruise industry, and in fact, Cruising Authority intends to present this Lifetime Achievement Award to each of these actors for their role on The Love Boat, and to give them the honor they deserve.