Top 5 Cruisers: Motor Yacht, Express, Aft Cabin, Sedan Cruiser, and Convertible Boats

When choosing between motor yacht, express, aft cabin, sedan cruiser, and convertible, where does the new boater start? Here are a few tips to simplify the initial selection process.

14th May 2013.
By Sandy Lindsey

Though there is no pool or helipad aboard, the amenities on the modern family cruiser are descended from larger yachts and superyachts. We all know a superyacht when we see it: 150′ to 400′ in length, sporting three or four levels and tenders larger than, well, your boat. Add in a crew of supermodels and Charlie Sheen as the Featured Guest and there you have it. But just as a man’s home is his castle your personal cruiser doesn’t have to cost a fortune to fulfill your needs and desires; there are other options that will get you, your family, and friends out on the water in style and comfort for a day cruise or vacation. Assuming you need to hold off on the superyacht purchase until you—like us—win the Powerball drawing, here are some more practical yet still luxurious options.

motor yacht cruiser

Motor yachts, like this Carver 54, come in many shapes and sizes. All, however, place an emphasis on comfortable accommodations.

A motor yacht typically has several staterooms spread over two levels and an open topsides with a helm station, but the term “motor yacht” is often used as a catch-all for many of the cruisers talked about in this article. A motor yacht can be run by the owner, especially if they have a large family with able-bodied children, or larger models may be crewed. A motor yacht makes a fine live-aboard vessel as well, due to the usually generous accommodations found aboard. This is also why motor yachts are perfect for extended cruising with the whole family or several couples.

Check out some recent motor yacht reviews:

Carver C40: A New Cruiser is Coming to Town
Sneak Peek: Monte Carlo 86
Sunreef 60: A Power Catamaran with Pod Drives

 

sedan cruiser

Sedan cruisers tend to have sleek Euro-styling and may or may not have a bridge.

Then you have the more well-defined sedan cruiser, featuring sexy, sleek, Euro-styled lines with an enclosed helm, a huge swim platform, and several staterooms down below. Some sedans have an elevated bridge, while others do not. Sedan cruisers are perfect for entertaining as well as for day trips. They tend to be well-equipped with comfortable accommodations, but are just a bit too small for life aboard over the long haul; these are more the sports boats of the yacht world.

Recent sedan cruiser reviews include:

NISI Yachts Delivers First 1700 Xpresso
Azimut Magellano 43: Style in a Slo-Fast

express cruisers

An express cruiser like this Sea Ray 510 Sundancer is intended for day-cruising, weekending, and entertaining family and friends.

The express cruiser typically also has a sleek look, with a large, expansive, open cockpit ideal for entertaining. The helm is on a slightly elevated deck or is at cockpit level, and there’s no bridgedeck or second helm station above it. Mid-Cabin expresses have a stateroom tucked amidships under the helmdeck, as the name implies, with another set of accommodations up in the pointy end for privacy. The Express Cruiser is the perfect starter yacht since they’re easy to operate, especially with pod drives operated with joystick controls, which allow even a first-time user to dock in tight quarters like an old salt. They are well-equipped for day trips, overnights and coastal cruising. For many owners there’s no desire to ever graduate beyond an express cruiser, although it is common to go from a small model up to larger models over the years as the family and boating budget grow. Many aft cabin motoryacht owners move to expresses, as they age and tire of climbing up and down stairs or ladders.

To see some specific expresses, take a look at:

Tiara 3900 Coronet: Express Your Success
Cruisers Cantius 48: The Original Sport Cruiser
Riviera 445 SUV: A Milestone Sport Yacht

aft cabin cruiser

Aft cabin cruisers maximize interior volume, but performance and exterior deck space may suffer as a result.

Choose an aft cabin cruiser layout for maximum privacy or space between you and the kids. These boats tend to emphasize maximizing accommodations over performance and looks, and offer more cabin space but less open deck space. They are a common choice for live-aboards and those who make extended cruises.

An aft cabin cruiser review you might like:

Hargrave 100

viking convertible cruiser

While convertibles are often thought of purely as sportfishing machines, many people appreciate this design in cruising boats as well.

What about a convertible? This design is often relegated to sportfishing by those who want more range, comfort, and seakeeping abilities than fishing designs like center console boats can provide. And most sportfish owners view their boats as tools—a way to get out to the fishing grounds to land a few granders. But at the same time, convertibles are ideal for family use, and the larger models can easily feature three or four staterooms and a plush salon. And yes, some are specifically designed for cruising, as opposed to fishing.

Some recent convertible reviews include:

Jim Smith 105: The Ultimate Sportfishing Convertible?
Prestige 620 S: Flybridge Meets Convertible in a Motoryacht
Carver C34 Command Bridge: Motor Yacht Meat and Potatoes

Or, you might want to read Convertible vs. Express: Which Is Best for Bluewater Fishing?

Which type of cruiser you should pick is a personal decision. But now that you know about each, the decision you make should be the right one.


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About the author:

Sandy Lindsey

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Sandy Lindsey is the author of Quick & Easy Boat Maintenance (International Marine/McGraw Hill), now in its second edition. She is also the author of The Women's Guide To Powerboating. A USCG licensed Captain, her FOWA and OWAA award winning articles have appeared in national, regional and international boating publications for the past two decades.

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