She’s a Grand Entertainer
The new Princess 52 Fly is a stunning motoryacht designed for entertaining a large group of people both at the dock and under way. And entertain she does. The party can be spread out across three distinct entertaining venues with abundant seating for accommodating a boatload of guests. Let’s fill our glasses and take a look.
The festivities begin on the main deck, where an aft cockpit that remains under the overhead protection of the extended flying bridge welcomes guests. Stairs to both sides of the hydraulic swim platform allow access to the cockpit, while a U-shaped seat surrounds an expandable table that still allows for plenty of room for guests to mill about.
Triple-wide opening glass doors blur the line between indoors and outdoors, and as we step inside we enter an aft galley. This design scheme is a first for Princess, and it’s a step in the right direction as far as we’re concerned. By having the galley right between two of the main deck’s entertainment spaces, the hosts—or caterers, as the case may be—are never out of reach of those needing another round of bacon-wrapped scallops or a refill on the wine. We measured over 23 square feet of usable counter space for food prep, and the sideboard to port adds even more space. That is a lot of buffet room, even on a much larger boat.
The galley also mimics the yacht’s rich dignified appearance with dark African Wenge wood decking, satin-finished walnut cabinetry and Aztec Brown Avonite counters, which look like granite but are much more durable.
Continuing forward the saloon deck is elevated just two steps up from the galley deck, which, of course, provides more head room in the stateroom below. Opposing Ultraleather couches create a warm, conversational atmosphere with stunning views through the massive windows. A large solid wood table is on a hi/low pedestal allowing conversion from a dinner table to a cocktail table, and it even supports an additional berth for those guests that don’t want to leave when the party’s over.
A third entertainment venue is the flying bridge itself. Princess set a goal of maximizing seating and clearly accomplished it, with huge J-shaped seating that wraps around a teak table. Forward is a U-shaped settee, and a filler cushion converts it into a sun lounge or a pair of chaise lounges. Ensuring that guests will not have to go far to keep the drinks filled, a top-loading cooler is just to the left of the helm. Just behind the helm is a galley with a sink, and this one includes the optional icemaker and electric grill. The optional hardtop not only adds to the stunning looks of the 52, but also makes the difference between our guests enjoying the day on the water and enduring it.
Clearly the 52 Fly is equally well suited for extended voyages with three staterooms designed to keep guests from ever wanting to return to the dock. In the full-beam master there’s a king-sized island berth with a dresser to starboard and a sofa to port. Massive hull-side windows provide impressive views while filling the room with natural light. The head is forward and continues the rich look from above with walnut cabinetry; black marble Avonite decking flaunts a high-gloss finish.
The forward VIP features the usual arrangement of an island berth, hanging lockers and opening portlights. There are two cleverly placed stools under the corners of the berth held in place by straps when not in use. Just above the large oval port lights, overhead cabinets line the flare of the bow—a great use of space that most builders ignore.
It’s tough to fit a third stateroom in a 52′ boat, but Princess manages to pull it off. This one has full standing headroom, a good-sized hanging locker, and the added storage in cabinets over the portlights much like the VIP. Twin berths easily convert to a queen, so we can accommodate two individuals with the same level of comfort as a couple.
While remaining an owner/operator’s boat, those who can afford this level of luxury have little desire to change oil or constantly clean. For that reason there is a small crew cabin in the stern of the boat with a head. A large window in the transom helps keep this space from becoming claustrophobic. It also makes a great place to stash the kids at night, so they can make as much noise as they want without disturbing the adults.
Daily engine checks are a step down a ladder from a hatch in the cockpit deck. There’s crouching headroom but easy access to the checkpoints between the main engines. Fuel tanks are to the outboard sides of the engine room, and Racor filters are attached to both tanks. Several signs reveal a compartment thoughtfully designed: All deck and hatch drains lead into single chests to either side with a single fitting through the hull; battery boxes are covered and vented; an oil change system runs to both mains and the genset; and soundproofing is virtually everywhere.
The lower helm is standard on the 52 Fly, which differentiates this yacht from others that add it on the options list. As this lower station is well suited to serve as the primary, her classic looks don’t have to be ruined by wrapping the flying bridge in isinglass in order to make the flybridge helm always accessible regardless of weather. Both helms have dual seats with the map display in front of the observer. Interestingly enough, the upper helm is mounted to starboard, but the wheel is to the port side of the helm. This will make the lower helm the choice for docking, as it will have better visibility plus easier access to the dock. Princess went with progressive bow and stern thrusters that have variable speeds allowing more control. They also have a hold feature to keep the boat pressed against the dock allowing her to be tied up singlehandedly.
The Princess 52 Fly isn’t cheap, but quality never is. She tips the scales at $1.8 million, but you get a lot for that money and she’s customizable to a high degree for how she’s outfitted. Besides, the good times she is sure to present are likely going to be priceless.
LOA (incl. pulpit): 54′ 6″
Beam: 14′ 7″
Draft: 3′ 9″
Weight (Displacement): approx. 44,100 lbs.
Fuel/Water: 528/96 U.S. gals.
Power: 2x MAN R6 6-cylinder 800-hp engines
Cruise/Top Speed: 25-26/30-31 mph
Range: 255 miles @ cruise
MSRP: Price upon request
Princess Yachts America
Capt. Rick Price, Southern Boating March 2014