One of the attractions aboard the striking S78 was the first thing I noticed: an optional, removable carbon fiber shower planted on the swim platform. It captured attention, in part, because it’s different—but more importantly because it’s practical. There’s nothing as refreshing as a hot shower after a cool swim, but you can only get so clean while holding a hose in one hand and a palm full of shampoo in another. I watched countless couples stop at the simple shower and give it a why-didn’t-I-think-of-that nod of approval. Look for other builders to steal this feature in the near future.
Walking from the swim platform up a center staircase, it was immediately clear why this model attracts so much attention: It’s a seriously unique boat from Princess with an obvious emphasis on entertaining spaces.
As I was inspecting the single-level layout, I was joined by Princess Yachts America VP and Marketing Director James Nobel. “We have dual sunbeds aft, and instead of fixed furniture we decided to do something a little more modular,” said Nobel as he slid a seating section from the starboard side of the cockpit amidships. “There are pin points in the deck where you can secure the furniture in various positions. There’s a Teflon pad on the bottom of the furniture so it can easily slide on the deck without damaging it.”
I knew Princess prides itself on its furniture-making abilities, but these seats were so lightweight I thought they might have been outsourced. Nobel was proud to point out that they were in fact built by in-house craftsmen.
“We build 80 percent of what’s on the boat in-house,” Nobel said. “That includes furniture, tooling, fiberglass components, metal work, and that really allows us to custom design each individual piece on the boat, right down to the logo on the cleats.”
The casual feeling extends into the cockpit and past the salon doors that disappear when pulled open. In the salon, the floor-to-ceiling windows are impressive. I’ve been watching the (literally) growing trend toward larger windows over the last couple years, and it’s clear to me it’s continuing.
“In the last six to eight years we’ve gone to full resin infusion, even on the largest components like the superstructure, the deck and the hull,” added Nobel. The process gives the boat the perfect combination of durability and weight reduction. “Where we would have had to have really strong structural members for the vertical supports in the boat, we can now reduce that profile without sacrificing strength. That allows us to have bigger windows and near-unobstructed visibility.”
The S78 sports a smart layout with three guest cabins forward and an amidships master with private entrance. They’re comfortable-looking spaces, but it’s the outdoor areas that really shine. The flybridge is so large you feel as if you’re aboard one of the brand’s motoryachts, not a model from its sporty S-class. A quick count shows that the space can easily accommodate a dozen or so guests. Even with a bridge of this size, the S78 still has a retractable sunroof over the lower helm. Power for the new Princess will be twin 1,900-hp MAN V12s, which should lend the queen of the fleet a top end of 39 knots. It really is no surprise that boaters flock to the S78. It’s easy to appreciate the smart social spaces and proven level of construction and finish that the Plymouth builder is known for. —Daniel Harding Jr.
Displ.: 109,129 lbs.
Fuel: 1,585 gal.
Water: 356 gal.
Power: 2/1,900-hp MAN V12s
Top Speed: 39 knots