Most boat strive to look modern, sleek, or luxurious, and a few others try to go retro, but the Avalon Ambassador 27 is the first boat we’ve come across—pontoon or otherwise—which has an art deco attitude. With just one glance you know this boat is anything but common, with its curvaceous and tower-like solid aluminum sidewalls, mood lighting (even the cup holders emit multi-color illumination) and chrome accents. But the coup de grace is the stainless-steel grillwork, in the bow and sidewalls.
A retro look may be appealing, but retro construction is not. Fortunately, the Ambassador is built for the modern era. It has three-inch C-channel cross-beams, stainless-steel corner casings, and fiberglass helm and entertainment modules. Decking is faux-teak. Furniture features Matrix 50 heavy-duty 50-gauge upholstery with herring-bone stitching, and this stuff feels both plush and rugged to the touch. But touching it isn’t enough—you’ll want to kick back in one of the two rear loungers to test out its comfy-factor. When I did, I discovered that at the press of a button it reclined from sitting position into maximum relaxation mode. The helm seat also reclines, and has self-leveling arm rests.
One big difference you’ll find between the Avalon’s furniture and that on other pontoon boats is the frame structure. Cheap pontoons have stick-built bases of plywood and better boats have polyethylene seat bases, but Avalon builds them out of aluminum. Just how big a difference does this make? The structure’s lifetime should essentially be unlimited, and Avalon has the confidence to back it up. They offer a five year stem-to-stern warranty, a rarity among boat-builders, as well as a lifetime warranty on the flooring, pontoon welds, and those hefty seat frames.
Over-the-top construction and luxury doesn’t stop with the furniture. The cockpit table is smoked glass, and has wine glass holders. There’s a standard Jensen four-speaker stereo system with one GB of storage and a memory stick. And the entertainment center has a refrigerator/freezer with stainless-steel racks, along with an electric—yes, electric—winerack with cupholders, which rises out of the Corian solid-surface counter top at the touch of a button.
What’s the point in going deco, if you don’t have the sass to match the flash? There isn’t one. So Avalon designed the Ambassador to be a true high-performance pontoon, with triple 25” pontoons and their “Waveglider” design, which consists of one-piece 0.10” aluminum nose-cones, lifting strakes, and aluminum shields which deflect water away from the boat. Pack on the maximum 300 horses, and you’ll blast off to speeds in the 50-mph range. Of course, this kind of fun doesn’t come cheap; outfit a base Ambassador 27 with that 300-hp powerplant, and you’ll also be spending about $80,000.
Put together the looks, construction, and comfort, and there’s no doubt the Avalon Ambassador is a one-of-a-kind creation. In fact, the boat’s so impressive that the judges of the 2012 NMMA Innovations Awards named it the best new pontoon boat of the year in a unanimous vote. It is, in truth, a work of art—art deco, that is.
For more information, visit Avalon Luxury Pontoon Boats.
Displacement: 4,400 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 42 gal.