'Love Boat' cast reunites and dishes on kissing, filming and favorite current shows

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Love Boat Cast Godparents of the Regal Princess - Princess CruisesPrincess Cruises

The original cast of "The Love Boat" set sail once again at the end of last week, and TODAY.com found out what was exciting and new in a star-studded 50th anniversary celebration of Princess Cruises.

The original cast of "The Love Boat," from left, Jill Whelan, Bernie Kopell, Ted Lange, Gavin MacLeod, Lauren Tewes, and Fred Grandy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Nov. 5.Today

Every cast member from the '70s-'80s TV series was on the Regal Princess for an inaugural bash and sailing to the Bahamas, including Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Lauren Tewes (Julie McCoy), Ted Lange (Isaac Washington), Fred Grandy (Gopher Smith), Bernie Kopell (“Doc” Bricker) and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing).

The nostalgia-packed fête was emceed by Florence Henderson (a.k.a. Carol Brady) and bubbled with champagne, a performance by Charo and a “gold” carpet featuring 25 former "Love Boat" guest stars such as Marion Ross, Lorenzo Lamas, Joyce DeWitt and Rich Little.

The "Love Boat" stars, along with Capt. Ed Perrin, right, officially christened the Regal Princess for its North American debut and naming ceremony.Carlo Allegri / Today

Here are more of the high-seas highlights:

MacLeod gushed over his "Love Boat" family. “This is who I fell in love with. She was maybe 11 years old,” he said, hugging onscreen daughter Whelan. “She’s one of the real sweethearts of my life.”

Grandy and Kopell were yukking it up — occasionally at each other’s expense. “You might want to get your hearing checked,” Grandy told his old pal after he made an off-hand comment. But Grandy said the entire cast is like family. “We’ve been together forever. We’re mates for 40 years.”

A couple TV moms partied together: Florence Henderson ("The Brady Bunch") left, and Marion Ross ("Happy Days").Today

MacLeod told TODAY.com he actually enjoyed wearing the captain’s white shorts and knee socks and still gets comments on his nice legs. And by the way, Marion Ross was the best kisser on the show. “And she’s looking as beautiful as ever,” he said.

Ross chatted about her most beloved current television show: "Parenthood." “I don’t want it to end,” she said. Her favorite character? “The whole bloody cast!”

One-time "Love Boat" guest star Charo entertains the crowd aboard the Regal Princess celebration.Carlo Allegri / Today

MacLeod said his must-see show is "Downton Abbey." “I love 'Downton' Abbey so much that I call my brother milord!”

He also mentioned — in case anyone’s listening — he’d be thrilled to land a guest spot on one of his favorite shows, "Blue Bloods." For Tewes, a dream gig would be a cameo on "Gotham." “Oh my gosh, that would be cool. To be some sort of stylized villain or crazy person? I would love that!”

Her favorite "Love Boat" guest star of all time? Vincent Price. She said he was “a real gentleman” who taught her a thing or two about food, wine and art. “I still make his lasagna from his cookbook!”

Lange, who’s a director on two syndicated shows ("The First Family" and "Mr. Box Office"), recalled being seasick during a "Love Boat" cruise to Alaska (“I was throwing up in the toilet!”) and persuading guest star Shari Belafonte to rehearse a fake kissing scene with him, just for kicks.

Ted Lange always had a point to make as the show's friendly bartender Isaac.Today

He also told TODAY.com his infamous two-handed pointing gesture was his own creation and that the key ingredient in good television is layered characters, something he thinks the Netflix series "Orange Is the New Black" does beautifully.

Grandy admitted to getting drunk while filming the show in Japan and said he wouldn’t have won his seat in Congress — he served four terms — if not for the popularity of the show. He also shared a fun fact with TODAY.com: His son, Charlie Grandy, writes and produces "The Mindy Project."

Kopell said he’s a lucky stiff to have had a gig filled with “sexy scenes” with a multitude of gorgeous women. The icing on the cake was a story that paired him with his dream woman, Juliet Prowse.

The cast agreed that being on "The Love Boat" was buckets of fun and a darn good acting gig. And 30-plus years later, it’s still paying off. “We can get a good table at any restaurant anywhere in the world,” Kopell said.

The cast of "The Love Boat" in the 1970s.Today