A few steps above, the double helm station is an area that I believe Princess has perfected. The line of sight, even while cruising along at 25 knots and banking into turns, is flawless. The analog gauges are easily viewed—no neck-twisting necessary. Our test boat was equipped with a Furuno NavNet 3D chart plotter and radar combo on the inboard side of the helm station. When extra vigilance is required, such as running in fog or at night, this arrangement works really well. The mate can push the buttons and navigate, while giving the helmsman direction. And again, because the line of sight is unobscured, running at night from the station is an easy option. The engine controls, bow thruster stick, and necessary breakers are all perfectly placed for a natural orientation.
There is a dinette opposite the helm station. I like having a designated “dining” area and a designated “lounge” area. If you cruise with kids or grandkids, you know that meal times are often staggered. Without this setup, chances are you’re prematurely converting the saloon into a mess hall for mac and cheese and chicken nuggets, while the adults are still trying to relax. Because of the large windshield, it’s also a good perch for your guests to sit and watch the action if the captain chooses to operate the 50 from the lower station.
A U-shaped settee runs the length of the starboard side in the saloon, with a banquet and f latscreen TV opposite. In the saloon, as in the rest of the interior, the joinery is flawlessly executed and finished. Princess offers several choices of wood, depending upon your taste.
Another noticeable improvement over the previous 50 is in the engineroom. Some key service points on the earlier model required a gymnastics routine to access. Not so on the latest version. There is sufficient room around the twin 670-horsepower Volvo D11 diesels for routine service, with access from a deck hatch.
The deep-V hull with 19-degree transom deadrise produced a ride that I’ve come to expect from Princess. The 50 greeted the three-foot chop, mixed in with a larger swell f lowing in from the English Channel, with a mocking laugh. There was no protest from the hull structure when we met the seas at a top speed of 32 knots. Her running attitude was at approximately five degrees, which just added to the aforementioned flawless line of sight from the lower station. Optional 715-horsepower Cat diesels are offered, giving a top speed of 32.4 knots—as well as a few more knots and a few more miles of range when comparing engine load data in the 80- to 90-percent range.
The flying bridge helm is to port, and when backing down, the helmsman can easily see astern by looking through the staircase opening and transom door. There’s a drink fridge and barbecue abaft the helm, and a settee with a table along the starboard side. Tender stowage is relegated to the large swim platform, which is preferable in my opinion.
Anchor retrieval is made safer with a horizontal deck platform and a grippy non-skid around the windlass.
Princess Yachts offers models ranging from 42 to 130 feet. The yard’s hightech, 38-acre facility is continuing to build high-quality boats that are constantly evolving as technology and market preferences evolve. The new 50 is a sound example of this equation. Combine this with the dedication and expertise of Viking Sport Cruisers, along with their strong dealer network, and you may find yourself humming the same line I have while writing this review: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” If you’re looking to create some family adventures, the Viking... err...Princess 50 is ready for the task.
Displ.: 41,890 lb.
Fuel: 600 gal.
Water: 155 gal.
Deadrise: 19 degrees
Standard Power: 2 x 670-hp Volvo D11 diesels
Optional Power: 2 x 715-hp Caterpillar C12 diesels
Base Price: Price is available upon request
Viking Sport Cruisers; (609) 296-6000, www.vikingsportcruisers.com