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X-Appeal. Meet the Princess X80.

Princess X80

Princess X80

Whatever you thought about Princess’s extraordinary X95, and there was no shortage of opinions, everyone seemed to agree on one thing: It was unbelievably different-looking. And that included the Princess people. But Princess’s faith in their new yacht was not misplaced—once the skeptics got on board, any lingering doubts about its bizarre styling were quickly dispelled by the interior spaces, which are certainly charming in a more traditional sense.

Building on their experience with the X95—which they’re building quite a few of—Princess’s designers decided to produce a smaller model on the same concept. The X80 is outfitted with a single enclosed helm station on the upper deck; a versatile, unencumbered, exceptionally roomy main deck; and a conventional four-cabin layout down below.

Star of the show, for me, is the upper deck. A professional central helm station in a roomy wheelhouse seems to have been borrowed from a much larger yacht, while the private salon and open relaxation area aft offer not only an elevated vantage point for enjoying the view, but also privacy when moored alongside other vessels at the marina. A variety of seating arrangements are available right aft, including no seats at all if you prefer to use this space for a tender and a crane. There is another seating area forward nestled beneath the wheelhouse windshield. This would make an excellent spot at anchor or even underway on a nice day—which involved a little stretch of the imagination in Plymouth, England, in the depths of winter.

But it is the main deck that determines the character of the X80. The example we inspected in Plymouth was fitted with the forward owner’s cabin, a comfortable suite with windows on three sides, a shower and head to starboard behind sliding partitions, and a door on the port side leading out to the deck. It is an excellent suite—not as big as the full-beam VIP down below, perhaps, but much lighter, more accessible and with better views.

So far, however, most U.S. owners have chosen the forward dining option instead of a main-deck master. Removal of the cabin furniture and the bathroom really opens it up. With its large permanent dining table, it creates more seating and socializing space in the salon, which consequently takes on a different feel—especially with a couple of stools to turn the aft counter of the galley into an excellent little bar.

Down below, the surreal impression that this boat is way bigger inside than out subsides as you walk around and see that the four cabins, three doubles and a twin, are pretty much as you’d expect them to be on an 80-foot motoryacht. Which is to say, comfortable and well-proportioned. Headroom is 6 feet, 6 inches at a minimum; the beds are a generous size (even in the fourth cabin); and the quality of the fit-out, down here and everywhere else, is of a very high order.

Unlike the X95, the 80’s hull design is a conventional medium-V—no wave-piercer, however minuscule. And with 1,900-hp MAN V12 engines, Princess suggests a top speed of 31 knots, with fast cruising in the high 20s. Surprisingly roomy crew accommodations in the stern naturally compress the engine room a bit, but it’s a well-engineered if rather packed machinery space, with excellent standing headroom and reasonable maintenance access. The shipyard’s plan is eventually to offer its X, Y and S models on common hull and engine platforms.

With the edges knocked off our aesthetic sensibilities by the outlandish looks of the X95, the slightly tidier, marginally less-radical styling of the X80 starts to look, well, not normal exactly, but relatively low-key. It’s really not. The X80 still makes a pretty bold statement, and apart from its 95-foot sister, there is nothing quite like it on the water. The X must stand for extraordinary. They can have that one on me.

Princess X80 Specifications:

LOA: 82’7”
Beam: 19’11”
Draft: 5’10”
Displ.: 158,510 lbs.
Fuel: 1,717 gal.
Water: 370 gal.
Power: 2/1,650-hp MAN V12; 2/1,900-hp MAN V12
Price: $8.5 million