500 Express — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca —
|Cruisers Yachts fuses smart style with commodious accommodations in its 500 Express.|
I tested a Cruisers 455 Express Motoryacht last year, and the most striking area of that boat was her enormous full-beam aft master stateroom. It wasn’t just the standard queen-size berth, vanity, full-length cedar closets, and en suite head that impressed me. It was how the builder also comfortably fit in a whirlpool tub concealed behind two French doors; another door connected the head and tub area. It was one nice arrangement. Why do I mention this? Because Cruisers is a builder that makes the most out of every cubic inch of volume, and my subsequent examination of its prototype 500 Express, reinforced my earlier impression.
After boarding the 500 at Kydd’s Marine in Freeport, New York, I immediately headed below decks to inspect the aft master stateroom. I figured Cruisers couldn’t possibly offer the same kind of room normally found on a motoryacht on this express boat. I stepped down the optional cherrywood steps and made a quick left into the master. Noting that the stateroom takes up all of the boat’s 15'6" beam and boasts 6'6" headroom, I quickly realized Cruisers could and did do it. Like the 455, the 500 has a queen-size berth (6'7" x 5'0") and en suite head with Tecma MSD (no room for a tub, though). In addition, I looked in the cedar-lined closet to starboard, where you could easily hang several dresses or suits. Another closet to port is home to an optional Splendide washer and dryer ($2,386). Adding to this room’s voluminous feel were six vertical portholes (three to port, three to starboard) that allowed light to enter the room and reflect off the satin-finish cherrywood interior, washing the space with natural light. This stateroom is a great example of maximum use of minimum space. It also turns the 500, which at first glance looks like a solid weekender, into a comfy place for the voyaging family or possibly a liveaboard couple.
The master is the most impressive living space on the 500; however, her forepeak VIP could be a master on many other similar-size express craft. The room comes with a queen-size island berth or twin berths. The twins work well for the cruising family with children who want their own space. Your kids and/or guests can access the second/day head with shower just aft and to port of the forepeak. It’s accessible from both the VIP and saloon.
The saloon, which offers NBA-class 6'7" headroom, features the same warm satin cherrywood found in the staterooms. It also sports a standard Ultraleather crescent-shape convertible dinette/sofa to starboard that can easily seat eight for cocktails or to watch a flick on the 30-inch Sharp Aquos LCD TV, a $6,286 option (a 20-inch is standard). A JVC home entertainment system is inset below the TV.
Whether you’re heating popcorn while watching Master & Commander on DVD or making a full-fledged meal for your cruising buddies, the galley, just forward of the TV, is up to the task. The 500’s standard cooking amenities include a Sharp microwave/convection oven and a two-burner Princess cooktop for preparing morning omelets or frying up some lunchtime mahi-mahi, as well as a Nova Kool under-counter refrigerator and freezer in which to save the leftovers. For easy cleanup, a Fish&Paykel dishwasher, like the one on my test boat, is optional ($2,286).
This article originally appeared in the July 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.