Princess 54 Flybridge Boat Review
Reviewed: June 2009
Modern Boating Magazine
Sitting back at the helm of a Princess 54 Flybridge tripping along at a lazy 20 knots, there’s a very real danger of being seduced by this elegant lady. This luxury motor boat really steals the show with the standard of finish to the boat – particularly in the Owner’s stateroom.
Even with a storm raging outside, the chef can brew up their own storm in the well-laid out and functional galley.
It’s so easy to relax and be beguiled by the lady’s charms. From the moment you step though the sliding doors, with their stainless steel frames, from the cockpit into the main saloon, the clean, modern design of the open saloon beckons. Even though the saloon and the dinette and helm station are on slightly different levels, and provide two separate entertainment areas, there’s still the feeling of an open plan. The long cabin windows, that lead forward to the three-panel windscreen, open the whole area up and offer a great view of the outside world. Want to close the outside world out? Just drop the venetian blinds down.
The main saloon features a U-shaped lounge with a polished table, which drops down to become a coffee table and opposite is a substantial cherrywood bar with wine storage, fridge, icemaker and a glass cabinet. The TV screen does a disappearing trick into the unit when not in use.
The cherrywood fit-out throughout the boat is not overdone and enhances the motor boat’s elegance. The dinette is up two steps opposite the helm station. The seating is U-shaped but there are a couple of stools, cleverly stored out of the way in the end corners of the double berth in the forward guest cabin, that can be used for additional seating.
The helm station is neat with two black leather bucket seats for the driver and companion. They have an attraction of their own and seem to draw people to them. In front of the driver is an Italian sports car-style wooden steering wheel and the instruments are set on two levels with the engine instruments on top and the other ancillary instruments, such as the Raymarine depth gauge and log underneath. Some thought has been given to the placement of the individual gauges too; the rudder-angle gauge is mounted between the tachos in front of the driver. A panel to mount a chart/plotter/radar, set in front of the companion seat, finishes it off. The Volvo Penta electronic controls are at just the right height mounted in front of the handy Lenco trim tab controls.
The whole boat is air-conditioned and there are individual air outlets for the driver and their companion on the dashboard. However, open the electrically-operated side windows and there’s a pleasant airflow across the helm station. Who needs air-conditioning anyway?
A staircase with a leather-bound handrail, includes a landing in front of the switchboard mounted in a burlwood panel before leading down to the galley and the accommodation. The galley has all the appliances plus a dishwasher, a big upright fridge and freezer, and Australian 240V sockets have also been installed. The galley bench top is unusual, it’s Avonite with coloured stone highlights and to protect it from hot pots taken off the stove stainless steel rods are set into it next to the stove.
The owner’s stateroom is full beam in the centre of the boat. The big double berth is a walkaround and there is plenty of hanging space and storage behind cleverly designed doors that meld into the woodwork.
A nice touch for the ladies is the vanity unit with an individual pop-up mirror that is incorporated in the side table. Unlike some staterooms in the centre of the boat that tend to be dark, this one has three signature oblong ports to let plenty of light in. One thing I did notice that after running at about 25 knots there was not a drop of water on the glass.
The en-suite has a circular shower and the bench top is maded from the same Avonite as the galley bench top. An innovation is the two sliding mirrors over the bench.
The guest cabin is up front with another bathroom, almost as big as the owner’s, and there is a third cabin with two bunks off the companionway. This boat also has a self-contained crew cabin aft under the cockpit lounge. Most Australian owners tend to drive themselves, so there is no need for crew. It would make a good getaway cabin for a teenager, or could just be used for storage. The boot at the back of the lounge also houses a crane that will lift the dinghy onto chocks on the boarding platform.
The ambience in the saloon is so good that unless it was a cracker of a day there would be no need to go up top to the flybridge. Once up there, though, it’s another entertainment area. The standard Princess unit, which contains a hot-rock barbecue, sink and top loading cool box sits behind the helm seats, and a big lounge with a table is opposite. Behind this on the cockpit rooftop is a double sun lounge.
When docking the boat it’s easier to drive from the lower helm station because of the all-round visibility. The flybridge helm is set on the portside and makes it hard to see when putting the boat alongside on the starboard side. The portside is the favoured one because with the flybridge hatch open there’s a good view to the aft corner. And the cockpit door is on that side as well, so it makes it easier for people to get on and off.
The Princess 54 is powered by two Volvo Penta D12-800, 775hp diesels that fit neatly into the engine room. Princess has a philosophy that owners don’t generally venture into the engine room, not in Europe anyway, so they haven’t bothered to finish off its interior. This is rather disappointing and not at all in keeping with the attention to detail that has gone into the rest of the boat.
As to be expected the motor yacht has impeccable manners. Cruising and going nowhere in particular, it runs along at 1500rpm and 18.2 knots. At this speed she’s sitting flat, the ambient noise is a low 73.5dBA and the ride is very pleasant — just the speed for entertaining. A good cruising speed is around 24 knots, between 1800 to 2000rpm, which produces a noise level in the saloon of 78.7 dBA with the back door open; it drops to 76.5dBA with the door closed.
The boat responds to the power-assisted, hydraulically operated steering very positively. Put it into a turn at 24 knots with half a turn on the wheel and the hull describes a graceful arc. Swing the helm the other way and the boat will do the same. For a big boat it’s also easy to manoeuvre in a tight spot. It has a bow thruster but the only time it would be needed is when backing into a pen when the wind gets the bow. It will turn in its own length just by working the engine controls and two people could handle the boat without any trouble.
As I said in the beginning, this motor yacht is an enchanting charmer.
1500 : 18.2
2000 : 24
2300 : 31
Length overall : 16.57m
Beam : 4.57m
Draft : 1.27m
Displacement : 23.5 tonnes
Fuel : 2500 ltr
Freshwater : 570 ltr
Sleeps : 7
Price : $2.15 million