Cruiser Yachts’ new 54 Fly is a mini-resort on the water. The 54 Fly can accommodate as many as six across three staterooms -- the Master, the VIP, and the Third -- with a highly functional galley all set in a design that is open, comfortable, and full of natural light. By keeping the tophamper low, the 54 Fly is able to maintain the sleek lines of the 54 Express -- with the added functional advantage of the added helm and entertaining venue.
54 Fly vs. 54 Cantius Express
The obvious question to ask is what is the difference between the two models? Is the added entertaining space and improved piloting views on the flying bridge worth a slight reduction in top speed, fuel efficiency at cruise, and a higher CG? (Cost difference notwithstanding.)
The difference in top speed is only about 1 knot, and best cruise is a mixed bag. The 54 Fly is most fuel efficient at 31.4 knots at 2300 RPM with a range of 233 nmiles compared to the 54 Cantius Express which has a best cruise at 2000 RPM and 25.3 knots and a range of 285 nmiles.
As in all boats of this type, when making turns there is slightly more inward inclination because of the higher CG of the flying bridge version, but this is controlled to some degree by the IPS system which governs how hard a turn can be.
Cruiser Yachts has followed the lead of most European builders and has designed the 54 with low tophamper which maintains the sleek lines of the express model, so aesthetics should not be an issue.
Overall, consumers must ask themselves if the greatly expanded seating for guests and much improved piloting visibility (and, of course, price) are worth the slightly diminished performance.
- • Flybridge views. We will tackle the amenities on the flybridge later -- and they’re in keeping with the rest of the boat’s stellar features list. Unobstructed for nearly 360-degrees, the flybridge will be a popular social space for experiencing the sights and provide an ideal place from which to pilot the boat.
- • Wealth of Entertainment Space. Space for entertaining guests is clearly a must for a large yacht, and the 54 Fly has a number of them. The flybridge features ample seating. The cockpit offers much of the same with proximity to the galley and lower deck. The upper salon has open views, but protected depending on mood, weather, or time of day. The lower salon offers a less formal, night-cap type space with comfortable seating, and entertainment options.
- • The Galley. One of the more elegant design touches on the 54 Fly is its galley, which not only maximizes its utility while minimizing its footprint, but creates a flow and social atmosphere with the placement on the main deck near the cockpit. One leg of the galley’s U-shaped countertop extends beyond the window above it out to the cockpit, creating a breakfast bar and seamless flow from one space to the next.
- • Retracting Rear Window. This opens up the galley creating a cocktail bar or a snack bar.
- • Aesthetically pleasing. The 54 Fly is an excellent example of a yacht on the leading interior design edge. The 54 Fly’s design reflects a more modern sensibility -- increased window space for lighting and views, clean, simple wood accents and color schemes, tasteful use of stainless steel.
- • Spacious Staterooms. The 54 Fly has three -- two of them, the Master and VIP staterooms -- are notable for their spacious design. Both have 6’6” (2.01 m) of headroom and don’t simply feature a berth that fills up the entire space. Particularly in the Main stateroom, there is space to move around (including a walk-in closet) with seating, a vanity, and a café table.
- • IPS with Joystick. The 54 Fly comes standard with IPS pod drives and joystick control.
- • High-Quality Build. The joiner work and overall fit-and-finish is top yacht quality.
Accessed via steps off the portside of the cockpit, the flybridge sits under a hard-top for protection from the elements. The profile of the hardtop brings very little in the way of obstruction of view -- two support posts to starboard and port. The support arch and hardtop are both black which enhances eye-appeal by making the structure less visible.
Flybridge Helm. There is a double-wide captain’s seat, room for a companion. The dash panel is a simplified version of the main helm station.
Flybridge Seating. Just to port of the helm station is a C-shaped plush seating space with a woodgrain table in the middle that can fold up or out, depending on the occasion and party size.
In the aft section of the flybridge, just to port of the access stairwell, is a slightly larger U-shaped settee, also with a woodgrain table with folding versatility. Both seating spaces have a bolster-like plush backrest extending all the way around, as well as cup holders positioned at the ends of the bench seating for both.
Wet Bar and Grill. On the portside of the flybridge, between the two seating spaces, is a wet bar and grill. This dramatically improves the capability of the flybridge. The sink and grill sit under a countertop latch, with refrigerator and icemaker just below behind stainless steel doors.
Transom Storage. The 54 Fly’s stern has a large swim platform with port and starboard access to the cockpit. At the transom, it is a spacious storage container, accessed via a lift-up handle at the bottom of it’s large “lid”. Perfect for water toys, it can stow any number of large items.
The Cockpit. The central element in the cockpit is certainly the large, “U”-shaped settee seating space, which centers around a cocktail table. This table is electric, and can lower or rise depending on activity -- rise up for cocktails or hors d’oeuvres, lower to add a cushion on top and convert the space to a lounging area.
Forward the seating area is the access points for up to the flybridge (to starboard via staircase) and main salon and helm -- which comes via a stainless steel door. To port of the door is a window over two barstools; the window is electrically operated, and opens to countertop in the galley that can serve as a breakfast bar and further creates a flow between the salon, galley, and cockpit.
The Galley. The galley is positioned between the cockpit and salon seating. It has a U-shape design to portside with a small console containing the wine cooler to starboard.
The galley features a dishwasher, microwave, icemaker, refrigerator, and a cooktop. There is a full sink with a stainless steel, fully articulated faucet that can work in washing at any angle. Cabinet space is there both above and below in a dark wood finish.
Dining and Salon. Moving forward of the galley brings one to the main salon and dining area. To port is a luxurious settee seating space, wrapped around a dining table. The seating faces the starboard side, which features a smaller love seat just up against an HD TV.
This TV is retractable and lowers out of sight at the push of a button.
The design of the interior main deck is absolutely one of the 54 Fly’s high points -- besides feeling roomy and never cramped, the use of 360 degree windows with minimal mullions or obstruction has a breathtaking effect -- being able to take in the entirety of one’s surroundings, inside, on a boat, is likely a new experience for many. These windows can, of course, be covered with blinds for desired effect.
The captain's chair is double-wide bench-style seating. It has a flip-up bolster and armrests.
Joystick Controls Come Standard. The 54 Fly comes standard with Volvo Penta’s IPS joystick docking control. Driving a boat of the 54 Fly’s size may be new to many owners and the joystick control is a great way to bridge that gap.
Dashboard features. A panel on the console holds the large-screen readouts and can be outfitted with the owner's choice of equipment. The steering wheel is a roadster-style design with ergonomic grip-leather wrapping the stainless steel wheel itself. Trim tabs sit to the right of the wheel, radio to the left.
Pop-up lounge chairs. The 54 Fly also has a foredeck lounge area, not uncommon on yachts this size. Accessed via the cockpit to port and starboard with stainless steel grab-rails for safety, the foredeck feels like a quiet escape from the remainder of the boat’s social spaces. With a sunpad that features twin pop-up backrests, it is perfect for reading, staring into the horizon, sunning, or some combination of all three. Both lounge chairs have cup holders to their outside edge. An anchor locker sits at the front of the bow.
Stateroom accommodations. The lower deck is accessed via a companionway (three small, wood-slatted steps) in between the helm and dining area on the main deck. Descending delivers one to an “atrium,” where doors lead to the three staterooms on the 54 Fly. There is no overhead obstruction here from the light coming in from the boat’s windshield, giving it a beautiful, open effect.
VIP Stateroom. Working counter-clockwise from the third stateroom, the next door leads to the VIP stateroom, which is in the bow. The VIP stateroom has a queen-sized berth nestled in the crook of the bow with two panoramic windows extending along each side of the bed.
The windows have long sills that can act as nightstand or usable surface with a closet and drawers under the bed for storage. The VIP stateroom has direct access to the head, which features a walk-in shower as well.
Wine Cooler and Prep Table in Atrium. On the port side of the atrium foyer, between the VIP and master staterooms, is a small countertop with wine cooler below, ideal for staging a large breakfast-in-bed, pouring wine for the end of the night, or cutting up bread and cheese.
Master stateroom. Finally, sitting amidships and aft of the VIP stateroom is the Master Stateroom, a full beam space with walk-in closet, a private head with shower, breakfast nook with seats and café table, and nightstands. The staterooms all have 6’6” (2.01 m) of headroom, and the master in particular feels very roomy with space to move around. The windows are present on each side of the space with a large chest of drawers under a countertop on the port side.
The design is simple, but chic, and comes with an entertainment system that includes a large-screen HD TV and a stereo system as well.
Master head. The head off the master stateroom is of a piece with its counterpart, offering sleek, artful lighting, designer fixtures, wood detail, and a wealth of space. The head has a full-standing shower along with its vanity and expansive mirrors, extending the luxury of the stateroom into its head.
To starboard is the “third” stateroom, which is the least luxurious of the three; a Pullman style berth, there isn’t much space or extravagance but the beds are comfortable, there is storage, and it even features a TV.
The 54 Fly operates on your choice of a 725-hp Volvo Penta IPS 950 engine or 600-hp Volvo Penta IPS 800. “IPS” stands for “Inboard Performance System” and features a twin front-facing counter-rotating steerable pods that produce 40% longer cruising range, 20% increase in top speed, 30% reduction in fuel consumption, 30% reduction in CO2 emissions, and 50% lower perceived noise creation.
The Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly had a LOA of 53’4” (15.26m) and a beam of 15’6” (4.72m). With an empty weight of 47,500 lbs. (21,546 kg), 58% fuel and 5 people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 51,475 lbs. (23,349 kg).
With a pair of Volvo Penta 725-hp IPS950 pod drives powering our test boat we reached a top speed of 36 knots at 2547 rpm. Best economic cruise came in at 2300 rpm and 31.4 knots. It’s at that speed that the 63 gph fuel burn translated into .5 nmpg and a range of 233.3 nm.
Of course it’s worth noting that the miles per gallon remained the same from 2000 prm and 23.5 knots on up to full speed so this is more of a boat that can be operated with more of a regard to comfort in prevailing conditions rather than fuel economy.
As for her handling… she responds well to the helm and exhibits the same wide turning radius of all IPS powered boats due to the reduced turning arc of the pods at speed. Visibility is nearly 360 degrees with wide windows all around providing that benefit, particularly the 5’5” (1.65m) x 4’8” (1.42m) forward windshields. We did find that the higher center of gravity of the flybridge added a bit of lean into the turns, which we measured at roughly. But this only manifested itself during the heavy handed maneuvers of a performance test, maneuvers which no one would do during normal operations.
In close confines of a narrow marina, the 54 Fly, like her sister ship, really shines. She’s quite responsive to the helm, and when the area becomes even more constricted, maneuvering on the joystick alone works quite well.
As for bringing her into the slip, just small pulses on the stick will set her in motion and then it’s a simple matter of guiding that momentum. In this manner she can be steered in with exacting precision. I found that from the flybridge helm there was good visibility to the rear of the swim platform by looking down the ladder to the cockpit deck, and an equally god view of the whole starboard side, and it is this combination that compelled me to dock from this elevated station even though two others were readily available… the lower helm and the cockpit station. That said, with all stations favoring the starboard side, I’d like to see the aft station mounted to port so that both sides can be handled with equal ease.
Options to Consider
- • Wine Captain, Lower Salon (120 V/220 V) ($3,590/$3,880)
- • Main Deck TV, 28” (71.1 cm) ($2,260)
- • Amtico Flooring, Lower Salon ($4,980)
- • Power Blinds ($2,625)
- • Underwater Lighting ($8,850)
- • Swim Platform with Hydraulic Lift ($44,390)
- • Cockpit Joystick Docking Station ($8,695)
- • Desalinator Water maker ($23,855)
PriceThe base MSRP is under $2 million.
The Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly is a smaller version of the 60 Fly introduced just a few months before. The 54 Fly has most of the features of her larger sister but obviously all of the living spaces are a bit smaller.
While her beam is just 6" less than the 60 Fly, her displacement is 11,421 lbs., or about 19% less. The price difference between as posted on one dealer's website is about $602,000, or 23%, less.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly (2017-) is 41.4 mph (66.6 kph), burning 75.5 gallons per hour (gph) or 285.77 liters per hour (lph).
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!