Reviewed: Princess Yachts Y85

The Princess Yachts Y85 has 360-degree views, a sleek profile, luxe appointments and 28-knot speed.

September 25, 2019
Princess Yachts Y85
Princess created multiple alfresco social zones on board the Y85, such as the foredeck lounge with sun pads and U-shaped seating. Quin Bisset

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A round table is less formal than a rectangular one. Round tables have equal seating, and everyone converses comfortably across the meal. Round tables might even be called relaxed. Round tables are democratic.

And if there is one feature of the Princess Yachts Y85 that defines the personality of this model, it’s the dining table in the salon. It’s round.

With the Y85, the British builder looked to create a yacht that has all the luxuries that fans of the Princess brand expect but with comforts that also make the spaces feel relaxed. The Y85 is a yacht that can be owner-operated or run with a captain, and its features imbue the rich onboard spaces with casual touches. The combination of luxe design and family-friendly amenities is a credit not only to Princess but also to naval architect Bernard Olesinski and the Italian design firm Pininfarina.

Princess Yachts Y85 galley
A partition drops to close off the galley. Courtesy Princess Yachts

As one example, just steps from the dining table is an open galley, unless you press a button. Then, a partition rises, separating the galley. With the partition open, the space is family style with built-in stools at the counter. Closed, the space becomes formal. There’s a casual touch—only if it’s desired.

The ambience also helps to set the mood on board. There is a 9-foot-8-inch-wide window next to the table, starting just a few inches off the walnut sole and stretching up nearly 5 feet, forming what used to be called a picture window. The bulkhead outside is low, with teak-capped stainless-steel rails, so there is nothing to block ocean views. Forward, a bar has a hidden wine chiller, drawers fitted for glassware and bottle stowage.

Just abaft the table is a sprawling U-shaped couch facing a pop-up TV, creating a comfortable media room for just that: sprawling. And the casual touch continues from there through twin sliding doors to the cockpit. The doors disappear behind the outboard panel, creating an alfresco feel in the salon.

Princess Yachts Y85 round table
The salon sole is walnut, and the round table represents the laid-back refinement found on board the Y85. Courtesy Princess Yachts

The new decor of the Princess Y85 serves as a precursor for future models’ styling. There are swoopy curves in the recessed ceiling, which has glossy walnut trim. These identical swoops are replicated in the headboard of the master stateroom. In the curves of the galley divider. In the top of the vanity in the master stateroom, and in the leather of the helm seats.

A few steps forward on the main deck is a day-head, convenient for guests as well as for the skipper in the pilothouse. The helm area is another gathering place and can be closed off for night running or salon privacy. Guests can sit at a raised dinette to port, while the skipper and companion have raised seats with armrests next to a pantograph door for side-deck access.

Our test Y85 had a Garmin electronics suite with three displays at the lower helm, including a Boening touchscreen display for ship’s systems.

Princess Yachts Y85 salon
The salon’s low-back furniture maximizes the views out of the windows, which span the superstructure. Courtesy Princess Yachts

The galley also has a door to the side deck to make provisioning easier. Chefs get a Wolf cooktop, induction oven and Sub-Zero fridge. There are ice makers and wine chillers in the galley and on the bridge.

The master stateroom spans the yacht’s 20-foot-8-inch beam, allowing for a centerline king berth, a desk/vanity to port, and two love seats with a table to starboard for morning coffee or an evening aperitif. This stateroom also has a walk-in closet, and a double-sink head is aft with a shower. (A note: When James Noble, Princess’ vice president of marketing, and I were exploring the master, the yacht was running at full throttle in the open sea, yet it was so quiet that noise barely registered on my sound meter. We talked in normal tones despite thundering 1,900 hp MAN V-12 diesels just a few feet away.)

The VIP stateroom forward is notable for having a walk-in closet and an en suite head, and each of the other guest staterooms—one a double, one with twins—has private head access.

Princess Yachts Y85 helm
A breakfast nook to port of the helm keeps guests and the captain within earshot while en route to the next waypoint. Courtesy Princess Yachts

I’ll admit to being surprised that, when the hammer went down, there was a lot more Princess S (sport) series than I expected from a Y (yacht). The Y85 topped out at almost 28 knots while moving about 73 tons of luxury appointments, leather and marble—a speed made even more notable because this was the initial sea trial before the full break-in. According to Princess, this yacht should hit 30 to 31 knots when the engines are settled. And this Y85 had returned from a Princess owners’ rendezvous in the Bahamas, reportedly covering more than 180 nautical miles across the Gulf Stream in nine hours.

Up top, the flybridge is fully covered by a fiberglass hardtop with a louvered sunroof, eliminating sliding parts and canvas. There’s an alfresco entertainment area with a dinette to port facing an L-shaped bar, and settees for guests surround the ­skipper. The helm electronics—monitors and all—­disappear into the dash at the flip of a switch. Aft, a spa is optional where the boat deck stretches nearly 18 feet from rail to seating. This space also could be used for a tender launched by the Opacmare crane, or left open for sun lounges.

The Princess Y85 is a comfortable take on elegance. The yacht offers luxury when guests want it and casual relaxation when it’s preferred, no matter who’s invited to sit at the table.

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