The Real Love Boat S1E1 Recap: Passion Pops Off

We meet our first batch of singles and it's 'All aboard!' as connections sizzle and matches fizzle in the first days of The Real Love Boat.

Sick of seeing every single one of our friends on a months-long European vacation on Instagram, we've put our phones down to turn our focus to a batch of singles looking for love, as they board the Regal Princess and sail around some of the most stunning locations in the world.

Kicking off the adventure of a lifetime at a Spanish villa, we're introduced to six women and seven men looking for love, but Darren quickly dashes one of their dreams, revealing that one of the men won't even get his loafers onboard the ship.

The Real Love Boat Recap Episode 1 boys cast
The future HelloFresh ambassadors for 2022.

First, the singles must go through a round of speed dating before the women hand out the six tickets they have to offer the men.

There's instant awkwardness as Moana reveals she and Dan used to hook up. She's very chill about the unexpected reunion while he offers up the equally chill, "Oh shit!"

Speed dating moves quickly but some of the highlights include Naomi asking what 'Dan' is short for. Ironically, he's incredibly tall.

Naomi also reveals that she created a vision board before coming on the show. It has words on it like "hot", "kiss", "Brit", and "scruffie"(?). There's also a picture of a genie's lamp, which can only mean she hopes to meet the love of her life and imprison him in a jar.

Real Love Boat Recap E1 Naomi manifestation board
We also made a manifestation board but it was just four photos of Henry Cavill and a spicy marg.

Other notable highlights from the speed dates include Naomi asking how to spell Jay (it's J-A-Y) and revealing that her name is an anagram of 'I moan'.

Sari spoke a lot about being introverted but upon meeting Paddy for four seconds asked if he would be opposed to her picking wedgies in public or burping. His response was to urge her to fart in front of him.

Jay and Sally found out they both have four-year-old daughters, and sparks immediately fly. On the other end of the chemistry spectrum, Katie meets Ben and the two sit in near silence.

With the first impressions over, it's time for the women to choose who they'd like to couple up with. In a shock to absolutely everyone, we also get our first intruder:

The Real Love Boat episode 1 recap cat intruder
Anyone who says they wouldn't select Hefty Spanish Cat to go on the Real Love Boat with them is a liar.

Naomi selects Dan (it's short for Daniel), Tyler picks Dalton, Moana picks Paddy, Sari picks Chris, Sally picks Jay and it all comes down to Katie to decide who will be the final gentleman boarding the ship.

Offering her final ticket to Chris, it's up to Darren to remind Katie that only Josh and Ben are standing in front of her.

The Real Love Boat Episode 1 recap: katie calls out the wrong name
Why don't we Freudian slip into something more comfortable?

Sadly, Ben's hot face isn't enough to charm Katie into giving him a ticket and he is left behind at a Spanish villa with nothing but a hefty Spanish cat to console him.

The Real Love Boat episode 1 recap Ben eliminated
Something tells us Ben will be just fine dating in the real world... That something being Ben's chiselled abs and hot face.

Ben farewells Darren with the kind of emotion reserved only for when you unexpectedly have to do maths in your head but we barely have time to stalk his Instagram before the gang board the Regal Princess and start to really investigate these new matches.

To officially kick things off, the singles get ready for a sunset cocktail party where the ladies immediately lick an ice sculpture.

The Real Love Boat episode 1 reacap Naomi Tyler licking ice sculpture
Nothing says 'Aussies on holiday' like immediately licking table decorations.

The cocktail party is a fun vibe and everyone seems to be getting along well, which lasts for exactly 16 seconds before Moana drops the bombshell that she and Dan (short for Daniel) used to hook up. Naomi is obviously a little shaken up by the news but, before she can ask what 'FWB' is short for, Darren introduces Captain Paolo, Cruise Director Hannah and Head of Entertainment Doody.

Doody and Hannah will act as the onboard cupids, watching over the couples and their connections, and occasionally pushing singles into other directions if they see connections others may not.

Sally and Jay, who we're already so invested in and it's barely even the first half hour, are super cozy at the cocktail party and she congratulates him on being so manly while handing her a piña colada.

After some initial schmoozing, the singles get settled before their very first dates with their current partners. Tyler and Dalton get to chill in the hot tub, and Tyler slowly begins to boil like a beautiful lobster.

The real love boat episode 1 recap - tyler sunburn hot tub
Coming up on The Real Banana Boat SPF 50+.

Tyler feels a spark with Dalton (he is tall and has a rig) but it is not reciprocated as she's 23 and he explains that he is "not necessarily after that". Dalton wonders aloud if Tyler is ready for a relationship. Ironically, Tyler is the most red-y of them all.

While Dalton and Tyler are treated to sitting in an already accessible hot tub, Paddy and Moana get a meal with paired wines. Paddy, a chef, is thrilled to be able to share his love of fine dining with Moana who reveals she doesn't like wine.

Before we turn her into the villain of the season for saying something so despicable, Moana pulls us back around by revealing that the only "wine" she's had is Passion Pop. She then takes a sniff of the glass in front of her, says it smells exactly like "straight wine" and chugs it.

The real love boat episode 1 recap
When the tasting notes are "2-for-1" and "on-sale".

Sally and Jay get massages but, unimpressed that they're not able to really connect while laying face down as strangers rub their backs, Jay dismisses the masseuses who we hope still got paid for the full hour.

Taking the opportunity to give Sally a massage, the pair later talk about how they wanted to kiss at the earlier cocktail party but didn't have any time alone, so they make up for that now by making out.

The real love boat episode 1 recap Jay Sally single parents kissing
We haven't been this invested in two strangers hooking up on a boat since Titanic (1997).

Barely 45 minutes into the season and we already have our first pash. But the instant chemistry is immediately put to the test later that day when Chris pulls Sally aside after a middling date with Sari and asks if she's at all interested in exploring a connection with him.

Aware that Sally and Jay have a super strong connection, Chris also says "Chris doesn't go down easily" which is probably why he's still single. Sally lets Chris down gently and says, "It's a no for now", which would be brutal if we hadn't already ordered our #TeamJally merch.

The other dates are pretty ordinary, but it gives everyone an idea of how they feel about their first connection, which Darren reveals won't necessarily last too long.

Calling the group to the deck, Darren reveals that the power has shifted to the guys, and in a shit-stirring move of the century as we've come to find out Dalton is interested in Moana -- despite being good friends with Paddy.

The real love boat episode 1 recap Paddy chef
Not chef's kiss.

While the singles *are* on the ship to explore connections with each other, we also assume this is Dalton's revenge for Paddy getting an actual cool date with heaps of free drinks while Dalton sat in a public cauldron.

So Dalton picks Moana, Jay picks Sally, Josh takes the opportunity to pick Tyler, Dan picks Naomi, Chris picks Katie and Paddy and Sari are the lucky leftovers thrown together by fate.

Sari seems happy with the pairing, revealing to an entire cruise ship that Paddy was the only person she told that she had "waxed her bootyhole".

With new pairings set for the next episode, Darren throws one last twist into the mix: another single will be boarding the ship. Let's just hope they waxed their bootyhole.

The Real Love Boat airs Wednesday-Thursday at 8.30 on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand