BREVARD HISTORY: Ocean Cruise Liner Carla C Inspired ‘The Love Boat’, Made Call On Port Canaveral in 1979
By Space Coast Daily // November 13, 2023
vessel was scrapped after a major fire in 1994
BREVARD COUNTY • PORT CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – Port Canaveral once again came out on top of the Cruise Hive Cruise Ship Awards, an annual event recognizing the best in the industry.
Port Canaveral is the second busiest cruise ports in the world with more than 4.5 million cruise passengers last year, but way before becoming a major cruise port, the ocean liner Carla C paid Port Canaveral a visit in September 1979.
Carla C was the inspiration for The Love Boat, a romantic comedy/drama television series that aired on ABC from 1977 to 1986. The 20,469-gross ton vessel was a 599.7 feet long with a beam of 80.3 feet and originally launched as a French ocean liner named SS Flandre in 1952, sailing for the French Line.
By comparison, Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras, which was built at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland, and is a 180,000-gross-ton, 1,130-foot-long vessel with a 6,500-passenger capacity and that was slated to homeport at Port Canaveral in 2020.
A group of producers reportedly originated the idea of the popular television series “The Love Boat” and wrote the first scripts while aboard the Carla C.
Costa bought the former SS Flandre in the late 1960s, renaming it the Carla C. It was then renamed the Carla Costa and sailed to various Caribbean itineraries.
In 1992, Costa sold the ship to the now-defunct Epirotiki Line, which renamed her Pallas Athena. The vessel was scrapped after a major fire on March 23, 1994.
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