The S in the Princess S78 stands for Sport, but I’d also opt for sleek, slippery or stylish. The builder’s new S Class flagship appears to be an express cruiser until you look closely and see the low-profile flybridge. Its design is so well-executed that it’s almost invisible at first, and it leaves room for a skylight above the salon.
This yacht’s notable design traits are not limited to looks. Twin 1,900 hp MAN V-12s put the sport into the 78. She topped out at 39 knots during our sea trial, enough speed to get Massachusetts owners over to Nantucket, or California owners over to Catalina for brunch with time to spare.
The S78’s hull form is based on the builder’s Y75 and, like that yacht, has four en suite staterooms belowdecks. The S78’s superstructure is completely different, though, and the sweptback windshield and salon windows reflect the slash-style glazing in the topsides, making every stateroom seem bright and the salon feel like it’s outdoors.
That’s how I felt stepping into the salon, with windows stretching from cushion backs to overhead. There’s no step up or down from the cockpit to the salon, by the way, because Princess created a water-shedding, teak-covered drain. The deck is one level from the after sun pads all the way to the windshield.
Also inside, Princess answered the question: “Do most people need a dedicated dining table?” This yacht has a cleverly constructed, glass-top table that slides inward as a coffee table and out to become a dining table. It is opposite the aft galley, which has a full-size Sub-Zero fridge, cashmere quartz countertops, and a sliding glass divider that separates the forward seating area. To bring the cockpit into the party, triple sliding doors open, and the galley window swings up, with a console just outside for buffet or bar service.
Cockpit seating is customizable. The builder eliminated traditional fixed furniture and instead added two curved settees on Teflon pads (to protect the teak deck) that slide and can be pinned into a multitude of arrangements. Two sun pads are in the cockpit as well. The side decks are secure, with 3-inch stainless-steel rails that don’t block the view from the salon. At the bow are facing couches and a removable table under a sunshade, as well as a sun pad.
The lower helm has diamond-upholstered bucket seats and a three-monitor Garmin dash under a hand-stitched eyebrow (to eliminate reflections). A pantograph door next to the skipper leads to the starboard side deck, and the 10-by-4-foot sliding sunroof is above for fresh air. A raised settee under the windshield gives guests a panoramic view of the world.
Inside, the master suite is accessed from the salon via a private stairwell with a concealed washer and dryer in the lower foyer. The master’s centerline berth has an Ultrasuede headboard. A love seat is to starboard, with a vanity/desk to port. A walk-through closet leads to the master head aft with twin vanities, a marble sole and heated towel racks.
A separate stairwell near the helm descends to an inlaid marble foyer, connecting to the three guest staterooms. Forward is the VIP, with windows on each side to bring in light. Drawer stowage is under the berth.
The starboard stateroom is also VIP-size with a walk-around berth and nightstands. To port is a kids space with twin berths, which slide together into a double at the push of a button.
When I toured the S78, I noted several little touches too, including leather pulls on the stateroom bureaus, and indirect lighting throughout that is ideal at night.
And then there’s that easy-to-miss flybridge. It has a centerline helm with twin pedestal seats facing a pop-up panel for two Garmin displays. Couches wrap around the helm station on each side, creating a gathering area. A hydraulic Bimini top sprouts from a recess to shade the bridge, and the wet bar has an ice maker, fridge and grill.
The S78’s transom has a hydraulic swim platform designed to launch and retrieve a water toy weighing as much as 948 pounds, or more than twice as much as a Sea-Doo Spark. The real ship-to-shore tender is hidden inside a garage with a hydraulic lifting transom door. That space can hold an 11-foot-3-inch Williams Sportjet 345 (see “Love Me Tender” sidebar).
The Princess S78 provides an abundance of airy space in 78 feet. If you’re looking for a yacht with first-class accommodations and entertaining-ready amenities, then the Princess S78 should make the short list.
Coming to America
Princess Yachts America imports yachts to North America with a list of standard gear that’s usually found on the options list. That gear includes a Seakeeper 16 gyrostabilizer, a 29 kW generator, and a Garmin electronics suite with multifunction instruments at the upper and lower helms. Also included: a hydraulic swim platform, bow and stern thrusters, twin Cablemaster 100-amp shore power, an isolation transformer, underwater lights and a premium Naim audiovisual package.
In the past, thick fiberglass beams have limited the size of staterooms and salon windows. To address this limitation, Princess has spent eight years moving to full resin infusion in its superstructures, hulls and decks, doing away with the bulky support beams. Staterooms can push out farther without loss of structural integrity, and windows can stretch to full height because the superstructure is strong. Other benefits of resin infusion include lowered costs because less fiberglass is used, and better fuel economy because the yacht weighs less.
Love Me Tender
The Princess S78’s garage is designed for the Williams Sportjet 345, a 40-knot RIB powered by a 90 hp Rotax engine with a jet pump to eliminate the need for props. With bench seating for four behind the helm console and another seat forward, the tender makes quick work of running ashore for the morning paper, towing wakeboarders or heading in for a night on the town.