Room and a View
A waterfront penthouse? No, the Princess 75 Motor Yacht is more like a luxurious floating loft, with veritable walls of windows.
I watched couples aboard the new Princess 75 Motor Yacht at a recent boat show, and there was a uniform response as they stepped from the aft deck into the main saloon.
First, they would freeze mid-stride. Their heads would swivel left-right-up-down like bobblehead dolls on a dashboard. Then they would look at each other, smile, and sigh. Every time!
The reason for that reaction is immediately clear when you first lay eyes on the Princess 75. It exudes space and airiness and more space and ... well, you get the idea. Luxury yachts are sometimes described as being like penthouses, but the 75 is more like a wonderful floating loft with an expanse of windows around an elegant living and dining area.
The windows are huge, reaching down nearly to floor level next to the dining table to port—so low, in fact, that the outside bulwarks are notched downwards so they don’t block the view. The windows behind the couches on each side of the entertainment area seem to disappear behind the seatbacks, and they go all the way to the overhead. You’re surrounded by walls of windows and, yes, your head may bobble, but you won’t bump it, because the headroom is around 6 feet 8 inches. Just like a loft.
Forward, the helm is on a raised platform with a pair of luxurious leather bucket seats that look like they could have been stolen from an Aston Martin. And opposite, on what can only be called a mezzanine, is an L-shaped seating area so guests can enjoy the same view as the skipper and the companion.
We’re all growing weary of the phrase, “resin infusion.” Yeah, yeah—it makes yachts lighter, stronger, faster, more fuel efficient. But the Princess 75 is a perfect example of what the process really means to you: more room.
Stronger stringers inside the hull bottom mean they can be smaller, so the floors are lower, and headroom is increased in the cabins and on the main deck. The superstructure is resin-infused and, no surprise, it provides amazing strength so the windows can be both huge and structurally sound. And resin infusion also allows added saloon width: Instead of thick bulkheads, stronger and smaller means more room. Up on the flybridge, resin infusion allows for a cantilevered area that can store a large tender along with the crane to launch it. It turns out, there are more benefits to resin infusion than you realized.
European yachts often hide the chef from sight, preferring to keep the “help” at an upstairs-downstairs distance. Americans, on the other hand, view the galley as part of the family lifestyle, leaving it open to the living areas. Aboard the Princess 75, the U-shaped galley is open to the saloon and dining area, but if you’re worried that guests might see the cook drop the veal marsala on the floor before serving it, you can prevent the embarrassment with the push of a button. That causes a trio of beautifully etched glass sliders to close off the galley. (Don’t worry, it fell on a clean spot.)
The dining area on the Princess 75 does not just consume space, it works, which is not something you can say about all yachts. For example, the beautifully crafted and gloriously glossy table slides on hidden tracks toward the window, turning it into a buffet when needed and creating even more space mid-saloon.
The owners of this 75 have a separate entry off the saloon that leads to the private master suite and sanctuary, a feature common on megayachts. A curving staircase, brightened by a big hullside window, ends in a mini-foyer with stacked washer and dryer hidden behind a glossy walnut bulkhead.
The master suite spans the full beam but, once again, resin infusion allows it to really span the beam, adding inches in width and height once wasted on stringers. A centerline double berth is surrounded by lots of flat floor space, with the usual settee and desk/vanity on each side. Twin hanging lockers line the entry to the spacious head with twin vanities and a large shower.
Speaking of heads, visitors are surprised to find that the Princess 75 is a four-stateroom, four-head yacht. The lower deck has a quite wonderful VIP stateroom forward with a raised island berth, oversized windows in the hull (resin infusion again!) and, of course, a private head with shower stall. Aft to starboard is another VIP stateroom, because no guests on a Princess 75 are second-class citizens, and this also has a large double berth and private access to another head with shower.
There is yet another cabin to port with twin berths and a head with shower. If you want connubial canoodling, those berths slide together into another double.
Princess also clearly understands the “happy crew, happy owner” concept, because the crew cabin abaft the engine room is quite civilized. Two bunks are in one cabin, which has its own head and—surprise—a stall shower so the crew doesn’t have to soak the area when cleaning up. On the boat I reviewed, the bulkhead on the passageway was used for cavernous lockers, but this area can also be fitted with a third berth.
Which brings up an interesting point: The Princess 75 MY is teetering on the divide between owner-operated and crewed yacht. More to the point, several 75s are going to be run by their owners, although these owners will probably use captains and crews for adventures that are more challenging than weekends in the islands.
Two features make this owner-operated idea workable. First, the lower helm has a pantograph door that leads onto the starboard deck, so the skipper can help with docking or anchoring. Second, the yacht has variable-speed bow and stern thrusters, which have a single button for holding the yacht against the dock while a short-handed crew gets lines and fenders squared away.
The flybridge might be measured in acres but, since this is a British-built yacht, that would be hectares. Either way, it is simply huge, and the deck can be configured several ways.
Up front is the nerve center, of course, with a slightly offset helm notable for a pair of leather pedestal seats. Unlike many yachts, however, the skipper of the 75 doesn’t live in solitude, since there are comfy guest lounges on each side.
A U-shaped bar is just aft to port, with all the amenities including an ice maker. The Brits may take their cocktails without ice, but Princess America, which imports the line to North America, most certainly understands American tastes and has fitted the 75 with no fewer than three ice makers (aft deck, bridge, galley), so no one will go without a cold drink. The importer also specifies many standard changes for North American boats, from electrical systems to appliances to meeting USCG and ABYC requirements.
Opposite the bar is a dinette with teak table for alfresco meals. Beyond this feature, the owner has choices to make about the layout of the afterdeck. On our test boat, a soft sunpad provided broiling space for several tan-seekers, but another 75 is being fitted with a large hot tub in the same space. Yet another 75 client is leaving the area open, making it perfect for a scattering of chic lounge chairs or perhaps as a dance floor when needed.
Covering everything on the bridge of the test boat, from the venturi windscreen to the dinette, was an optional fiberglass hardtop that doubles as an electronics arch. With a raked forward support, it actually adds to the lines of the yacht; that explains why most owners order this feature, often with a cabriolet-style fabric sunroof that transforms the Princess into a big runabout.
Power for our test 75 was a pair of 1,800-horsepower MAN V12 diesels; Cat C32s with either a 1,622-horsepower or 1,723-horsepower rating can be optioned, but most 75s are getting the MAN upgrade. Consider this: The MANs are moving 52 tons of suede and marble and luxury at 36 knots. You can embarrass a lot of “sport yachts” merely by putting the hammers down.
The engine room on this Princess is a delight. There’s plenty of walkway space between the two MANs, and a pair of upgraded Onan 29-kW gensets are equally accessible.
It should be apparent at this point that I loved the Princess 75 MY. She exudes style and élan, and the incredible openness of the saloon glows with natural light. Go on, take a look. You’ll only do the bobblehead routine as you’re first falling in love.
Then you’ll just smile and sigh.
Noteworthy Options: Seakeeper gyro stabilizer; Side-Power variable-speed bow and stern thrusters; hardtop with opening center section); upgraded 1,800-hp MAN V12 engines; Garmin electronics package with two 16-inch screens at each helm position; Prices upon request.
Generator: 2/29-kW Onan
Conditions During Boat Test
Air temperature: 75°F; humidity: 70%; seas: calm.
Load During Boat Test
Test Boat Specifications
- Test Engine: 2/1,800-hp MAN V12
- Transmission/Ratio: ZF 2070 V-drive, 2.467:1 gear ratio
- Props: 40x52-inch, five-blade
This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.