While there have been wet bars on pontoon boats for years, and even stools put by tables, heretofore, to our knowledge, no pontoon boat builder has ever actually constructed a complete, purpose-built, full-service bar such as the one you might find at the local snuggery. Premier is the first pontoon builder to go all the way and do it right.
Immediate Dealer Acceptance
Dealers for all boats, but most particularly pontoon boats, are naturally reticent about ordering new models with an unusual concept. A spokesperson for Premier told us that it is not unusual for dealers and consumers to take a year or more to "warm-up to a new model." But at the Premier dealer meeting the new Grand Entertainer was immediately accepted and within 15 minutes the company began taking dealer orders. Buy the end of the meeting many more orders were taken for the two new models than the company had been counting on, we're told. Folks, there is a message here.
Raising The Bar
The Grand Entertainer was in the works for 18 months as Premier's engineers grappled with the problems of constructing a boat that could handle an inordinate amount of weight in the bar area, and still provide enough comfortable seating for 15 or 16 people. The 260 has a USCG capacity of 16 people and the 290 is approved for 18 people."Pontoons have always been about entertaining and the Grand Entertainer takes entertaining to the next level," says Bob Menne, President and Founder of Premier. The new Grand Entertainer Series is starting out with two models, the 260 that measures 26' x 8'6" (7.92 m x 2.59 m) and the 290 which is 29' X 8'6" (8.83 m x 2.59 m). We would not be surprised if more versions of the "Island Bar" are forthcoming from Premier once they take the measure of the market's reaction in 2012.
Your Own Floating Tiki Hut
The two new Grand Entertainer models offer a functional full bar featuring stainless steel pull-out storage drawers with cut-out templates to hold all sizes and shapes of bottles, a sink with a pressure water supply from an integral 8-gal. ( 30.4 L) fresh water tank, a counter-top mounted propane grill and a refrigerator. The "Island Bar", as Premier calls it, also comes standard with 3 bar stools, stainless steel storage "cubbies" for the bartender to put makings for mixed drinks, and a raised bar serving area with margarita, martini and wine glass stemware. The engineers even went as far to incorporate purse hooks on the front of the bar.
But what waterside bar would be complete without an optional removable Cabana top to shade the bar and add additional storage for stemware? Hey, and why not add some twinkling lights? There are two large batteries to supply power to the bar, running the refer, water pump and the LED lights on the bar itself. There is a third battery, located aft, which is dedicated to starting the engine.
Powering this floating party will be the outboard brand of your choice. The 260 is rated up to 250-hp, and the 290 can take a max of 350-hp. While you can go as small as you wish on the horsepower, the company recommends a minimum of 115-hp to be able to take advantage of the performance of the PTX tri-toon configuration when you are not in party mode.
The outboard tubes on both models are 25" (63.5 cm) and the center toon is 30" (76.2 cm). Both Grand Entertainer models may be ordered with an optional 36" (91.4 cm) center toon. The larger center toon enhances WOT speed, hole shot, and turning performance, we're told.
Furniture By Flexsteel
One of the aspects that sets Premier apart from many pontoon boat builders is the fact that it uses Flexsteel furniture as standard equipment. Premier engineers design the furniture and fabricate the base structures and Flexsteel takes it from there. Flexsteel is the most successful diversified seat-making company in America producing products for residential, commercial, vehicle and marine applications. Premier sends the seating structures along with the raw vinyl material to be used to the Flexsteel plant in Dubuque, Iowa, and receives back at its Minnesota factory the finished upholstered seat ready for installation.
There is no wood used in any of Premier's seating.
For 2012 Flexsteel has fabricated a new pop-up changing room which is incorporated into the Grand Entertainer models. An optional porta-potti may be fitted in the changing room.
Other Features on the Grand Entertainer
The Grand Entertainer also comes with Premier's Royal II Helm with a new Greywood Dash, a second sink installed in the helm console, and a raised Command View Platform. The counter material is synthetic and durable and looks more like granite than wood according to a Premier spokesperson. The raised platform allows the dedicated helmsman to see over the heads of his/her seated guests.The Grand Entertainer will also come equipped with the new Eagle Steering Wheel, 2 Flexsteel Mobile Arm Rests, Humminbird 385ci Color GPS and an Alpine deluxe stereo package with six speakers.
The Grand Entertainer models come equipped with 47-Gallon (178 L) fuel tank built into the PTX package. They comply with the new EPA regulations and include a double-wall fuel tank, an EPA-compliant fuel system w/additional vents, a specialized fuel fill and a carbon canister installation.
Nano Block Technology Vinyl Upholstery
The biggest enemy of any boat is from ultra violet (UV) exposure. In just a matter of weeks UV can degrade what was once beautiful and lustrous vinyl upholstery on a boat and turn it into a dull, faded, dingy-looking surface. Pontoon boats typically have more exposed vinyl seat coverings than virtually any other type of boat. All of that is why Premier uses one of the industry's best vinyl products. It is made by Syntec Industries and it is called "NBT Marine" because it uses nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating materials at the atomic and molecular level to develop new or enhanced materials and products.
NBT Marine has a nano UV inhibitor that protects vinyl upholstery up to three times longer than conventional finishes -- maintaining and preserving the color longer than ever before and longer than other vinyls, according to the manufacturer. It also forms a protective barrier against abrasions, grease, grime, sun tan oils, gasoline, and even Sharpie pen marks, says a Premier spokesperson.The NBT Marine vinyl also contains anti-micro organism agents which are infused into to the vinyl to stop the growth of mold or fungus.
Like all of Premier's products, the new Grand Entertainer models will carry a 5-year bow-to-stern limited warranty. Premier also has a 7-year Nano Block Vinyl Warranty, and a "lifetime warranty on deck, tubes and furniture frames." Five-year bow-to-stern warranties are unusual in the marine business, to say nothing of a 7-year warranty on vinyl.
All of this engineering, design, quality, and the exceptional warranties, do not come cheap. Premier pontoon boats have long been among the highest price-point in the U.S. toon industry. The 260 Grand Entertainer has an MSRP of $51,329, and the 290's MSRP is $54,662, plus engine, dealer prep, etc. Both of these boats are quoted with the standard 8'6" (2.52 m) beam.We cannot help to make two observations about these prices: 1) Both are less expensive than what it costs to build a home these days per square foot; and, 2) the price of the 290 is only $221 per sq. ft. as compared to the 260 which is $232 per sq ft. So, on a square foot basis you are getting a slightly better deal on the larger boat -- something than rarely happens on non-toon boats. We would investigate the prices on 10' (3.04 m) models as well.
From our experience, there are a large number of people who will want to be the first one on their lake or in their marina to have one of these floating cocktail lounges, complete with everything except a three-piece band. (And, we are sure in some cases that can be easily arranged.) That is to say, don't wait until late next sprint to order one if you are so inclined.Already we have been told that some people with a dock on a lake are planning to have one of the Grand Entertainers permanently moored there. We would not be surprised if whomever owns this boat will have the most sought-after evening cruising invitation on the lake.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!