When it comes to the polarizing, head-spinning design of Princess Yachts’ brand-new 95-foot, tri-deck X95, there are no half-measures, no in-betweens. You either love it. Or loathe it.
That blunt, towering, two-story bow, the mile-high, top-floor skylounge, the Jacuzzi teetering high on the foredeck. Bold and dramatic, without a doubt. Sleek and elegant, arguably not so much.
But the X95’s design brilliance is in its impressive internal volume with huge living, lounging and entertaining spaces on three levels. Claimed to have 40 percent more interior space than a typical 95-footer, there’s room for a small army of friends and family to stretch out in this glass-encased, floating penthouse.
To find out whether space over style works, Robb Report marine editor Michael Verdon and I stepped aboard this ground-breaking new Princess for an exclusive tour during last month’s Palm Beach International Boat Show.
“It re-writes the rules of yacht design,” says our tour guide, Stefano Luppi, senior designer with Pininfarina. The famed Italian studio teamed up with the Princess Yachts designers and longtime naval architect Olesinski Design, to deliver what Luppi calls “a complete rethink” of yacht architecture.
“The design challenge was combining all this interior volume with an exterior that was striking and unique, yet clearly a Princess,” says Luppi. “We did this by incorporating beautifully sculpted surfaces and long flowing lines, like the one from the top of the sky lounge down to the deck.”
Even just stepping aboard shows the design revolution the X95 has created. The retractable swim platform is the biggest, most complex ever by the Italian equipment maker Opacmare. Nicknamed the “transformer,” it can lower into the water to launch a one-ton tender. Or raise up, exposing a series of steps, to make getting on and off a high dock a breeze.
But it’s when you take the steps up to the main deck that the X95 really starts to make sense. It’s a true open-plan concept, with wide sliding doors opening the deck area into the huge salon. Floor-to-ceiling windows as you’ve never seen on a 95-footer flood the space with light.
This particular X95—hull number three and destined for a buyer in Puerto Rico—features a separate, enclosed and beautifully finished galley, though Princess expects most U.S. customers to opt for a more family-friendly, full-beam, open-plan kitchen.
Typically at the forward end of this level, you’d have the helm station, but not on the X95. Instead, there’s a spacious master suite featuring huge windows on three sides.
But what really sets the interior design of the X95 apart is its new upper sky-lounge and deck. Luppi says it’s his favorite feature, and it is hugely impressive. Covering almost the entire length of the yacht, it provides expansive outdoor entertaining space, a cozy air-conditioned salon, and an open helm that can be partitioned off.
The outdoor rear deck has space for a multitude of sofas and sun loungers, a table for 10, and a bar area. And it’s all protected by the yacht’s high-mounted handrail with lower panels of tinted glass.
Stroll around the wide upper deck to the bow area, and there’s that Jacuzzi with plenty of lounging pads around it, offering the best view in the house when under way. Belowdecks, there’s a full-beam double cabin—to some owners, this is the preferred master suite—plus two or three twin-berth cabins with the option to turn any of them into a gym, library or office.
“The beauty of X95 is that its interior is defined by large, adaptable spaces that can be used and formatted in many ways. It makes for a uniquely flexible boating lifestyle,” says Luppi.
And impressive, even for a yacht with a $12 million price tag, is the astonishing level of fit and finish. The craftsmanship that goes into the woodwork, furniture and cabinetry is world-class.
Olesinski’s design for the X95’s new composite hull features a wave-piercing bow that extends the yacht’s waterline and improves fuel efficiency. Fin stabilizers and a 22-foot beam should hopefully balance out the yacht’s towering height to dampen any rock and roll.
Its twin 1,900-horsepower V12 MAN diesels give the X95 a top speed of 28 mph. Throttle back to a more relaxed 12 mph and the 3,540-gallon fuel tanks deliver a range of over 2,000 miles.
As for that polarizing exterior, the saying goes that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Marine Editor Verdon is a fan, saying that the X95’s bold style takes Princess design in an impressive new direction. Daring to be different is good, he reckons, even if it’s not a crowd-pleaser.
Controversial design or not, with Princess Yachts reportedly having already sold a dozen X95s, this spacious mini-superyacht shows that daring to be different is worth the risk.