Jill Whelan, best known for playing Vicki Stubing on The Love Boat, has recently taken on the role of “Celebrations Ambassador” for Princess Cruises.

Jill Whelan On ‘Love Boat,’ Princess Cruises

Whelan was an appropriate choice for celebration ambassador for the cruise line, as she’s been onboard their ships with her Love Boat costars. Some of Whelan’s favorite memories with her costars-turned-lifetime friends have taken place on Princess Cruises.

“I mean you put a group of television and film people together on a cruise ship, and on a Princess Cruise ship specifically – there is a lot of fun memories,” Whelan told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “I was just saying one night one of our guest stars was Debbie Reynolds, and she decided to do an impromptu show in the beautiful theater on a Princess ship. There was a memory of Debbie Allen and I in the middle of the night trying to find some food, trying to raid the kitchen. That’s always fun.”

Whelan also shared memories of Telly Salas  who played Kojack on The Love Boat – gambling and helping out her mother in the ship’s casino. For Princess Cruises’ 50th Anniversary, the cast got together in November to christen the cruise line’s newest ship. Instead of parting ways after the ceremony, the former coworkers shared every lunch and dinner together, according to Whelan.

Of all the castmembers, Whelan might be closest to Gavin McLeon, who played her father Capt. Stubing on the show. The former child star had nothing but fond memories of working alongside the veteran character actor.

“The day that they cast me to be his daughter I should have bought a lottery ticket, because to have that man play my father was, and still is, one of the luckiest most blessed opportunities I think that I’ve ever had,” said Whelan. “Gavin McLeod is the nicest, the most gentle, the most generous funny, sweet man that there is on the planet. He really is everything that you would think he is and more. And I couldn’t say I adore him more.”

To this day, Whelan also remains in contact with Ted Lange, Bernie Kopell, Lauren Tweez, Fred Grandy, and frequent guest star Charo.

“I adore her. She has been always like a big sister to me,” Whelan said of Tweez. “And Fred Grandy who played Goffer; I absolutely adore, I mean I adore all of them. Fred is one of the funniest people on the planet, but yet, they all are. Ted Lange makes me laugh ‘till I cry and Bernie too. I love everybody. I was so lucky to be working with those folks.”

Of Charo, she added, “Not only is she adorable and lovely and generous, but Charo is also number two flamenco classical guitarist in the world, and if you haven’t heard her play, it’s life changing how beautifully she plays.”

As the Celebration Ambassador for Princess Cruises, Whelan will bring her enthusiasm to encourage people to consider the line of for all kinds of celebrations – and not just your standard holidays.

“I want people to be encouraged to also think outside of the box because that’s kind of what I do,” said Whelan. “I look for any excuse to take a Princess Cruise, so I’m shameless.”

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Q: What memories do you have from growing up on ‘The Love Boat’? -

Boy, I mean you put a group of television and film people together on a cruise ship, and on a Princess Cruise ship specifically – there is a lot of fun memories, a lot of fun memories. I was just saying one night one of our guest stars was Debbie Reynolds, and she decided to do an impromptu show in the beautiful theater on a Princess ship. There was a memory of Debbie Allen and I in the middle of the night trying to find some food, trying to raid the kitchen. That’s always fun. Being in the casino on the ship with Telly Savalas who played Kojack. I know I’m going back, but that was pretty incredible. He was a very proficient gambler. He was very protective and helpful with my mom I remember in the casino one night, that was really fun. I mean there’s so many moments I think, and right now the one that sticks out the most is my fellow castmates and I actually got to get together and celebrate Princess Cruise’s 50th Anniversary, which is this year, and we went on a cruise in November to christen their newest ship, which is the Regal Princess, which is stunning. And we spent the entire cruise together as a group. You know, once we did the christening we could have gone off and done our own thing, but we didn’t. We spent every afternoon and every dinner together. There’s a beautiful new dining room, one of many, and it’s got all this gorgeous Italian blown glass. It looks like a very ritzy Beverly Hills restaurant, and then we would have dinner there at night together and then we would go to the sanctuary, which is one of the top decks on the bow of the ship, which is all glassed in but it’s open on the top and we would just sit and spend time hanging out together. I mean, that’s a great memory too because it’s the most recent one.

Q: What was it like having Gavin MacLeod as your TV father? -

The day that they cast me to be his daughter I should have bought a lottery ticket, because to have that man play my father was, and still is, one of the luckiest most blessed opportunities I think that I’ve ever had. Gavin McLeod is the nicest, the most gentle, the most generous funny, sweet man that there is on the planet. He really is everything that you would think he is and more. And I couldn’t say I adore him more.

Q: Were you close to any of the other cast members? -

Yeah, well that’s the great thing. I mean, I was a kid, and so all of us are close. I just saw Ted Lange. He’s an incredibly prolific playwright, so he just did a play the other day and I got to go to the premiere of that and he’s so talented. And Bernie Kopell was there and Lauren Tweez; I adore her. She has been always like a big sister to me. And Fred Grandy who played Goffer; I absolutely adore, I mean I adore all of them. Fred is one of the funniest people on the planet, but yet, they all are. Ted Lange makes me laugh ‘till I cry and Bernie too. I love everybody. I was so lucky to be working with those folks.

Q: What memories of Charo do you have? -

I love Charo. I was at her son’s christening when he was a baby and I’m not going to tell you how old he is, but he’s not a baby. She’s like a cast member, a regular cast member, as well. Not only is she adorable and lovely and generous, but Charo is also number 2 flamenco classical guitarist in the world ,and if you haven’t heard her play, it’s life changing how beautifully she plays.

Q: How did you collaboration with Princess Cruises come about? -

I am their celebration ambassador. And the fun part about that is that I have been secretly, quietly doing that in my own life with Princess Cruises since I was first introduced to Princess Cruises. And what that means for me now, professionally with Princess, is that I am coming out and talking to people about all the incredible celebrations that they can have on a Princess Cruise and there’s your typical ones: You can have an Anniversary or a Birthday. Or do Christmas on a cruise with your family, or Thanksgiving with your family on a cruise. Things like that. Hanukkah, whatever, but I want people to be encouraged to also think outside of the box because that’s kind of what I do. I look for any excuse to take a Princess Cruise, so I’m shameless.