Fifteen years ago, Princess Yachts began marketing its cruisers in North America through a partnership with Viking Yachts, under the brand Viking Sport Cruisers. Viking Sport Cruisers became a separate company under the Viking umbrella and handled all sales and service for the yacht line, which until recently topped out at 95 feet. Beginning with the 2011 model year, the relationship will change slightly. While Viking Sport Cruisers will remain the distributor and continue to handle service for the region, all of the yachts and megayachts will be branded under the Princess name.
The driving force behind the decision? Since Princess is known by its own brand in other global regions, the builder wishes to capitalize on that, marketing a single identity. In a statement released by Princess, Chris Gates, the managing director, explains, “With Princess now part of an international luxury brand portfolio with LVMH, we have seen firsthand the benefits of a single worldwide focus and look forward to continuing to unlock that potential for our brand, too.” LVMH owns famed luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy, and it acquired Feadship’s Royal Van Lent yard in 2008. The latter may be of particular importance and interest for Princess, since it recently unveiled plans for 32-meter (105-foot) and 40-meter (130-foot) superyachts, part of its new M Class series.
Tom Carroll, the president and CEO of Viking Sport Cruisers, says that his team has “a large task” ahead of itself to transform the brand. However, “it is one that we believe will bring tremendous benefits to our customers as we look toward the next 15 years in our company’s storied development,” he avers. Viking Sport Cruisers will continue to maintain a spare-parts inventory at its headquarters in New Jersey. It has a service center in the same location, plus another one in Florida. In addition, its dealer network in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean will continue to sell to and assist Princess buyers and owners.
Look for the 85 Motor Yacht (above) to be among the models making their stateside debut at the upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.