While the Princess 68 is the latest model launched by Princess Yachts America, it was not at the recent Palm Beach International Boat Show. That’s because it sold right after the Miami show.
Still, the Palm Beach show earned praised from James Noble, Princess Yachts America’s vice president and marketing director. “Out of five models, we sold four out of the show, and we still have activity going on that we are following up.”
Overall, Princess offers 10 flybridge models from 43 to 98 feet, and the 68-footer was developed to fill the gap between the popular 72-foot and 64-foot motor yachts.
“Unlike the 64, the 68 has a foredeck seating area. It has a hardtop, and it has the ability to carry a tender on the flybridge or the hydraulic platform,” Noble said. “It is a very unique layout for its size range. The galley is aft on the main deck, and it has a private stairway to the owner’s stateroom, which is very unique for a boat in this size range.”
Princess also makes nine V-Class express models from 39 to 85 feet; a 72-foot S-Class Sportsbridge; and three M-Class yachts at 30, 35, and 40 meters.
Plymouth, England-based Princess International, founded in 1965 by David King as Marine Projects, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. In 1995, King’s company partnered with Viking Yachts, headquartered in New Jersey, forming Viking Sport Cruises, to produce boats for the American market.
“Our boats are 80 percent done in-house, including all the woodwork, metal work and tooling for the fiberglass molds,” Noble said. “Changes were made to fit the American market.” Appliance brands recognized in America were used, refrigeration was increased, and air conditioning and generator system specifications were upgraded for Florida and the Caribbean’s climate. Engine rooms were reconfigured for more horsepower, and electrical systems were designed to handle the increased load.
“When we first started in this market, Princess was not a known name in the American market because there was no customer support. While Viking didn’t have facilities to bring on a whole new product line, it could offer support and service after the sale,” Noble explained. In the United States, Viking has two service centers: New Gretna, N.J., and Singer Island, as well as a network of more than 60 yacht-dealer service locations in North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Proving to be a winning combination, the two companies together made a mark. In 2008, Princess became part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy family of luxury brands (other brands include Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Christian Dior and Feadship). Princess builds about 300 boats a year, introduces three or four new models each year, and will soon launch its 30-meter and 35-meter M-class yachts.
“We’ve sold five of the 35-meter and we’ve sold some of the 30 meter, too,” Noble said. “What we learn when we build a new model translates to everything we do.”
Princess Yachts America has an administrative office at Royal Poinciana Plaza. HMY is its dealer in the Palm Beach area, with an inventory of four-to-six new boats docked at Palm Harbor, 400 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach. For information, call HMY at 833-6060.