PRINCESS 75MY REVIEW: THE EPITOME OF LUXURY, THIS STUNNING MOTOR YACHT IS OFF THE CHARTS BOTH IN STYLE AND SUBSTANCE
Reviewing a 75ft yacht is like reviewing a five-star hotel – it’s unlikely to be anything other than very good. It may not be exactly to your taste, but the level of quality and feeling of luxury will be undeniable. So when you get to this size of boat, it’s the little things that make the difference; the things that make you stop and stare and coerce you into picking a particular brand over another. Princess is starting with an enviable blueprint in the excellent 72, which has been a wild success for the Plymouth yard. The 75 is far more than a tweaked version of its predecessor though, with a brand new and slightly modified version of the Olesinski deep-vee hull, separate access to a breath-taking master cabin and a far larger flybridge.
However, the real clincher on the 75 is its main deck and in particular, the simply stunning saloon. Rarely have I been inside a saloon that so temptingly invites you to come on in, take the weight off and relax. The first thing you notice is the totally flat deck, which runs from the transom all the way to the companionway steps forward. Then you realise that this wonderful space is being amplified by the sheer amount of light cascading in from all sides. Take a look at the profiles of the 72 and 75 and you can see exactly why the effect is so impressive. The windows on the 75 are truly gigantic and even with Princess’s styling lines running through them, natural light fires in from all angles. The near floor-to-ceiling window adjacent to the dinette is a tasty superyacht flourish that can be further enhanced by the option to have a cut-out in the port bulwark.
PRINCESS 75MY REVIEW: BELOW DECKS
The stylish dining table is mounted on a track so it and the eight chairs can slide away from the window and into the middle of the companionway to give more space to those sitting next to the glass. The midships galley arrangement is carried over from the 72 and differs from the 68, which has the separate master cabin access but an aft galley layout. The midships galley is great for serving the table and it’s handy to be able to hide dishes behind the sliding glass partition that is familiar to a few of Princess’s flybridge models. If you prefer, it is possible to completely enclose the galley, which is likely to be an option chosen only by those who plan to have crew on a regular basis.
They’ll be happy crew, too, because the crew cabin is genuinely lovely. I’ve written many times before that some crew cabins are plush enough to offer to guests but never has that been truer than on the 75. It’s finished in the same tasteful walnut as the rest of the interior with two spacious berths and a lovely ensuite with a separate shower cubicle. There’s full standing headroom, natural light thanks to glazing in the transom and an opening port, plus a temporary berth in the lobby so you could sleep two extra guests and still have space for one crew member at a push. Going back to the saloon, and on top of the abundant space and natural light there are some fine details that are a joy to behold. The décor is as tasteful as they come, all done in house by Princess Design Studio. The pallet is neutral and calming but the use of materials adds sparkle, as do the gorgeous furniture pieces, the fabulous pebble-like coffee table and the handsome yet comfortable chairs at the dining table. And you know how usually, to access the storage beneath a sofa you need to lift cushions and a loose lid and all in all, it’s a right pain to get to? Not on the 75, which has drawers that pull out from the sofa base to reveal timber-lined storage bins, all mounted on soft-close runners.
With all the space the saloon has to offer, it struck me that there’s more than enough room for an internal staircase that leads up to the flybridge. Granted, this dying design feature would totally change the workings of the interior, but there are people who want to be able to access and communicate with the top deck from within the saloon. Forward of the galley you’re confronted by two staircases, one forward to the three rather lovely guest cabins and one that leads aft, past a window just above the waterline and into the full-beam master cabin – and what a cabin it is. I genuinely can’t see what Princess could do to improve it. The floor is flat all the way around, with plentiful headroom, two full-height hanging wardrobes, a settee to starboard and a desk and vanity area to port. It has a sumptuous mix of fabric, leather, matt walnut and highly polished lacquer and, of course, the signature single-piece hull windows. That’s before you even get to the heads, decked out with marble counters, his ’n’ hers sinks and huge shower stall with its own square hull window. Guests won’t be moaning either, because even the twin cabin to port is amazingly spacious and comfortable with its own ensuite.
The layout on the boat we tested comprised a double opposite, whose ensuite is also used as the day heads, and the pick of the guest accommodation forward in the form of the ensuite VIP cabin. You can’t play around too much with the layout here but if you want to use the boat for charter, you can have two twins with electric sliding berths to add to the versatility of the accommodation.
PRINCESS 75MY REVIEW: ON THE SURFACE
On deck, the biggest improvement over the boat this one replaces is the size and layout of the flybridge. So much space is there aft that you can choose between having a fixed sunpad and crane (like on the boat we were on), sunpad and wet-bar, or go for the full superyacht effect and opt for a hot tub. It’s the design of the helm and surrounding area that I really like though, with twin helm seats at a neat, well-designed helm with enough space around the chairs that occupants can come and go without disturbing each other. Flanking this area is a forward-facing bench that converts to a small sunpad to starboard and chaise longue to port. These two seating areas are a great focal point for everyone to cluster around when the boat is on the move and the view is second to none. In many ways I prefer the upper helm to the one below, though they’re both pretty spotless. The flybridge helm just fitted me a little better, allowing me to get that bit closer to the helm and feel more involved in the action; the plotters especially are a stretch at the lower helm. The lower helm looks great with classy, anti-glare materials and plenty of space to stow odds and ends. The difference between a 75ft yacht and a five-star hotel is that I’m yet to find a hotel fitted with a pair of MAN 1,800hp V12 diesel engines. There are also engine options from Caterpillar with either 1,622hp or 1,723hp and respective top speeds of 33 and 34 knots.
Hardly shabby, but the MAN V12s feel like they have the power of the gods behind them. Barrel-chested waves of torque thrust the close-to 50-tonne 75 up to a top speed of 34.3 knots on test, and that was with an 88% fuel load on board. But as fun as it is to romp along at this speed (and terrifying when you look at the 691lph fuel usage) the point of these larger engines is more the variety of cruising they offer. With a pair of Sleipner fins fitted keeping the boat rock steady, you could legitimately cruise at 9 knots to give a cruising range of 2,100 miles, but it’s just as feasible to thunder along at 30 knots. There is a real sweet spot at 1,800rpm where good progress is being made at 24 knots, fuel is a punchy but not ridiculous 383lph and sounds levels are almost unbelievably quiet. At the helm, I measured just 60 dB(A) and only 1 dB(A) more, closer to the engines in the saloon. At those levels you can still whisper and hear each other, all the while travelling at nearly 25 knots. The tweaks to the Olesinski hull form mean that though the forward sections are still reasonably fine, the aft sections are slightly flatter to decrease planing time and hopefully boost fuel economy. In practice, the transition from displacement to planing is so smooth thanks to those monstrous engines, that it’s tricky to decipher whether it’s the engines doing the work or the hull. But, the combination is so refined, it doesn’t really matter. Handling is pretty ponderous but then it’s sort of supposed to be; the steering, though, is masterful. It’s beautifully weighted and direct with only a handful of turns needed to spin from lock to lock. The whole time, the Princess emblem stays stubbornly upright within the steering wheel hub, Rolls-Royce style.
PRINCESS 75MY REVIEW: VERDICT
Here we have a boat with four stunning, spacious ensuite cabins, a spellbinding saloon, huge flybridge, fantastic engine room, sumptuous design and detailing and barnstorming performance. Picking things for the yard to improve on is like critiquing the tone of Adele’s voice. If the list boils down to replacing some tacky air vents on the lower helm and extending the wind deflector on the upper helm because it gets a bit blowy at speed, listen out for a barrel bottom being scraped. The Princess 75MY review is an absolute masterpiece, a thoroughly worthy successor to the 72 and one of the best that Princess has ever made. If it were a hotel, it would have six stars over the front door.