This is the first of the three "Love Boat" pilots and is pretty much a disaster on every level.
The biggest problem here is the casting. Quite frankly the regular cast is just terrible. They have no chemistry as a group and of the bunch, only Dick Van Patten (the doctor) and Theodore Wilson (Isaac the bartender) turn in what I would consider decent performances. Ted Hamilton is a total stiff as the captain. And Terri O'Mara, playing the cruise director, has a perfectly pleasant screen presence, but her acting leaves a bit to be desired (although, my understanding is that ABC saw "The Love Boat" as a star-making vehicle for her and specifically requested her casting).
The production seems to have had some significant problems: Director Alan Myerson appears to have been fired mid-production, since he is credited as co-director along with Richard Kinon in a couple of the stories while Kinon receives sole credit on the rest. And there's a fairly prominent end credit for separately written and directed (by Kinon) "Special Material."
The one thing I did kind of like, though, is the overall tone of the movie. Unlike the other pilots and the series, this movie is (by 1976 TV movie standards) fairly risqué. O'Mara's cruise director tells Doc that she's bored with being all goody-goody and may just "do it in the purser's lounge" to shake things up a little. You'd never hear Julie McCoy say that.
Still, despite everything, ABC liked the format enough to green light another TV movie/pilot the following year.