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Types of Boats With Cabins: Your Guidebook

17th jul 2023 by toi williams.

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Boaters who enjoy comfort often choose boats with cabins. Having a cabin on the boat provides protection from the sun, wind, and rain while on the water and gives the boaters, or their guests, a place to rest when they want to relax. Boats with cabins come in many different varieties from large cabin cruisers to smaller boats with pilothouse-type cabins. Finding the right types of boats with cabins for you and your family or friends requires knowing the differences between the various boat styles. 

cabin cruiser

Types of Cabin Cruiser Boats

Cabin cruiser boats are some of the most well-appointed types of cabin boats . They are designed for spending extended periods on the water and generally come with a sleeping area, a galley, and a small bathroom. These types of boats come in lengths ranging from 25 feet to 100 feet. Boaters tend to like them because they have plenty of room, can be used in both freshwater and saltwater, and they often have large swim platforms and sun pads for relaxing.

Cabin cruiser boats for sale

The most common types of cabin cruiser boats are express cruisers and pocket cruisers.

Express cruisers

Express cruisers, also called expresses, coupes, and sport cruisers, are designed for high performance with a low-slung hardtop and a V-shaped hull. They often have top speeds of more than 30 knots and cruise efficiently at speeds from 22 to 25 knots. The top makers of express cruiser boats include Boston Whaler , Formula , Monterey Boats , Princess , Pursuit  ans  Regal .

Express cruiser boats for sale

Pocket cruisers

Pocket cruisers are smaller than express cruisers and try to fit a lot of boat into a small package with creative engineering and a smart use of available space, making them ideal for couples and smaller families. These cabin cruisers generally have a living area situated above deck with a cabin below deck to maximize space and comfort. They are generally chosen as recreational boats for weekend leisure trips. The top makers of pocket cruiser boats include Cutwater , Jeanneau  and  Ranger Tugs . Some unusual new designs, including those from  Sea Ray  and Solara , have a cabin in the middle and a bow cockpit forward. 

Types of Cuddy Cabin Boats

Cuddy cabin boats are boats with a small, enclosed cabin space that may or may not be large enough to stand up in. Depending on the model, they may also have a head and possibly even a small galley. These boats with cabins tend to range in length from 20 feet to 26 feet, and place more emphasis on open cockpit space but still have the cuddy cabin for overnight trips or breaks from the weather. Boaters can enjoy just about any activity that they would undertake with a larger boat, including fishing, cruising, and towing skiers, boarders, and tubers. However, they have limited sleeping and storage space as they are not intended for long voyages. Some makers of various types of cuddy cabin boats include  Boston Whaler , Grady-White , Jeanneau , and Sea Ray .

Cuddy Cabin boats for sale

Boston Whaler 330 Outrage cuddy cabin boat

Boston Whaler 330 Outrage. Photo credit: Boston Whaler

Types of Offshore Cabin Boats

There are many types of offshore cabin boats in a wide range of styles and sizes. Some, which would usually be categorized as trawlers, have larger displacement hulls offering the maximum amount of tankage and onboard storage space. A handful of offshore cabin boats also offer electric or hybrid motors to maximize fuel efficiency. 

Trawlers are designed for extended stays during long voyages. They tend to have relatively large cabins, can have displacement or semi-displacement hulls, and come with either one or two engines. Most will have at least one private stateroom, a full galley, and an enclosed head. Most trawlers range from 30 feet to 80 feet in length, although there are a few that fall outside this range. Top trawler brands today include Beneteau , Grand Banks , Nordhavn , Nordic Tugs , and Ranger Tugs .

Trawler boats for sale

Flybridge cabin cruisers

These boats are cruisers that have a steering station on top of the hard top, and in some cases on very large models, an upper cabin as well. They are a popular choice among boaters for their elevated perspective during cruising, along with their versatility and spaciousness. Flybridge cabin cruisers come in a number of shapes and sizes, starting at around 35 feet and going up from there. Top manufacturers of flybridge cabin cruisers include Beneteau , Cranchi , Fairline , Galeon , Lagoon , Prestige , and (on the used boat market) Sealine .

Flybridge cabin cruiser boats for sale

Cranchi M44 HT offshore cabine boat

Cranchi M44 HT. Photo credit: Cranchi

Downeast cabin cruisers

Downeast cabin cruisers are exceptionally well-suited for overnight trips and day cruising. They tend to have a helm station in the main cabin, with accommodations in a lower cabin positioned toward the forward part of the hull. These cabin boats can typically accommodate 10 or more passengers and range in size from about 20 feet to nearly 70 feet in length. Leading boat manufacturers specializing in downeast cabin cruisers include Back Cove , Ellis , Hinckley , and True North . 

Catamarans are also offered as offshore cabin boats, especially in the sailing category. These are usually made of fiberglass or carbon fiber and have two reinforced hulls. Top builders include Fountaine-Pajot , Catana , Leopard , Nautitech , and Seawind . There are also some power catamaran cruising boats, which are generally appreciated for their high stability and spacious decks. Top builders include Aquila, Leopard, Nautitech, and Lagoon .

Catamaran boats for sale

Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42 catamaran with cabin

Astréa 42. Photo credit: Fountaine Pajot

Trimarans , aalso known as double outriggers, are sailboats similar to catamarans except they have three hulls: a main hull and two smaller outrigger hulls connected to the main hull with lateral beams. Their design makes them exceptionally fast, so they are preferable for many recreational and racing purposes. They are often chosen for long trips with family and friends or for thrilling rides at high speeds. There are many manufacturers of trimarans, including Astus , Dragonfly , Farrier , Neel , and Radikal .

Trimaran boats for sale

Types of Cabin Boats on Lakes

You can find just about any type of cabin boat on a lake, though most you’ll see are smaller and less powerful than the types of boats used offshore since they’re land-locked and are generally used for covering shorter distances. Lakes are also where you’ll find many houseboats, which certainly fall into the cabin boat category, and lots of people use them for vacationing or in lieu of a lakefront home. On some large lakes where fishing is popular, there may also be a contingent of fishing boats with cabins.

For more information see:  The Most Popular Types of Lake Boats

With the many different types of cabin boats available, it can be difficult to choose the best type of boat for your needs. At Rightboat, we have a wide range of models of boats with cabins on our platform to meet various budgets and tastes. We’re confident that our new and used boats will bring your boating dreams to life. Browse our listings today to compare brands, models, and features.

This article was most recently updated in July 2023 by Lenny Rudow  

Written By: Toi Williams

More from: Toi Williams

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Cabin Cruiser: The Ultimate Guide (2024)


Passengers : Maximum 10 Length : 20-40 Feet Trailerable : Yes Best for : Day Cruising & Overnight Trips Price Range : $100,000-$500,000 Propulsion : 2+ Outboard Engines

Many boaters want the versatility and passenger capacity of a pontoon boat, the amenities of a houseboat or yacht, with the ability to take on bigger waters or coastal environments. If you find yourself wanting a very versatile and comfortable vessel, a cabin cruiser might just be perfect for you. 

What is a Cabin Cruiser?

Types of cabin cruisers, cabin cruiser sizes, benefits of cabin cruisers, drawbacks of cabin cruisers, cabin cruiser prices, cabin cruiser ownership costs, great activities for cabin cruisers.

  • Popular Cabin Cruiser Brands

History of Cabin Cruisers

Cabin cruiser alternatives.

A cabin cruiser is a boat that can take the whole family fishing or tubing, while also providing many of the comforts found in larger vessels, like areas to sleep and cook.

The average cabin cruiser boat will be between 20 and 40 feet long and have the capacity and amenities to support outings that are longer than just a day. Even the smallest and most basic cabin cruisers will have room for several passengers, one or more staterooms, a head, and at least a small galley area.

Cabin cruisers are great for boaters that are going to be using their boats for a wide variety of activities, including those that may have them on the water for several days at a time. 

They can be used for fishing just as easily as they can be used to pull the kids on their tubes or skis. After a long day of fun cruising, you don’t have to cut the day short, head inside to make a quick dinner, and enjoy it in the comfort of the private bedroom.

Cabin Cruiser vs. Cuddy Cabin vs. Yacht

While there are a lot of similarities between cabin cruisers and yachts, the differences that separate cruisers and yachts from cuddy cabins are quite stark.

Cabin cruisers are far easier to transport than yachts since all except the largest and most extravagant luxury cabin cruisers are trailerable. Cabin cruisers are also much easier to operate by a single person.

Most yachts will not be able to be transported by the average owner, and many of them will require a professional crew to safely operate. They are incredibly luxurious and are generally much longer than either cabin cruisers or cuddy cabins.

Cuddy cabins, on the other hand, have highly stripped-down cabins compared to yachts and cruisers. While cuddys do have a cabin, it is small and minimalist, and will not include a head or galley. The most you can expect in a cuddy cabin is a place for two adults to sleep, and perhaps a freshwater sink. Of the three types, they will be the cheapest in nearly every scenario.

While cabin boats might feel like a very simple designation for any boat with a cabin, there are actually several different types of cabin cruisers that you may encounter if you are currently in the market. Generally separated by their design and purpose, three popular cabin cruiser variations are below.

Sport Fishing Cabin Cruisers

These are usually the cabin cruiser boats that people picture in their heads. They are generally a very deep v hulled boat, with ample deck space and a cabin that houses many of the features and amenities of the boats. They are usually outfitted with between 2 and 4 powerful engines.

They differ from other boats with cabins by being equipped with features and gear that are central to fishing, like rod mounts, livewells, and bait freezers. If you fish for larger sport fish in coastal waters, like tuna or swordfish, a sport fishing cabin cruiser will likely be the best type for you.

Downeast Cabin Cruisers

Downeast cabin cruisers are a type of boat with sleeping quarters that evolved from the lobster fishing vessels of the New England coastal waters. They are more heavily outfitted for fishing than even sport fishing cabin cruisers, and may also have specialized equipment like trap hauling cranes or extra heavy downrigging equipment.

Downeast cabin cruisers will combine the comforts of home, with the ability to remain at sea for several days or even continuously. They can be great sleeper boats for day trips, weekend outings, overnights, and long-term leisure cruising. 

Canal Cabin Cruisers

These unique vessels are not often seen in the US but are a staple of UK canals and riverways. They are small cabin cruiser boats that are similar to the downeast cabin cruiser shape, but having a flatter hull to allow for navigation in much calmer and shallower water.

A benefit to these types of cabin boats is that they are more suited to long-term cruising, very similar in nature to a houseboat. Although, since they are designed for river and canal navigation they aren’t suited to rougher water. They are quite rare in the US, even in the used boat market.

When you’re browsing boats and trying to figure out what cabin cruiser length may be right for you, you are probably looking at a range of more than 30 feet. The smallest ones you will see are going to be just under 20 feet, while the longest will be 55 feet. They can be Class 1, 2, or 3 vessels.

The size and weight of your boat are going to determine whether or not you have a trailerable cabin cruiser, or if you may have to seek professional help when transporting your boat out of water. Generally speaking, if the boat is 8 feet 6 inches wide or less, and under 12 feet high, it will be legal to tow through most states yourself.

Cabin cruisers have one of the largest size ranges for personal leisure powerboats that can be operated by one person. Most cabin cruiser brands will produce boat lines that are between 17 feet long and 55 feet long, though the great majority of cabin cruisers will occupy the modest range of 20 to 40 feet in length. 

Cabin cruisers are most often used in coastal waterways for leisure cruising, fishing, and family entertainment. Some are small enough to be transported and used effectively on smaller rivers and lakes, however, the expense of transporting longer boats may be prohibitive.

If the boat is between 16 feet and less than 26 feet it is a Class 1 vessel. If it measures 26 feet to less than 40 feet it qualifies as a Class 2. Class 3 cabin cruisers will measure more than 40 feet but less than 65 feet. The class will dictate the equipment and safety gear that must be present onboard.

The weight of your cabin cruiser will vary depending on size, though not as much as you may think. The average 25-foot long cabin cruiser will tip the scales at about 5,500 pounds, with an average of another 200 pounds for each linear foot beyond that. 

The weight will be very important for you to understand since it will directly affect your ability to trailer, tow, transport, and ultimately launch your boat. In many situations, the vehicle is able to tow the boat and trailer, but the weight of both at once may end up exceeding weight limitations for local roads or bridges. 

With the average dry weight of the boat being above 5,000 pounds and sometimes 8,000 or more, the dry weight of your boat and trailer should be within the towing capacity of your vehicle. In situations like this, you will certainly need a truck, as tow-capable cars or SUVs will not be able to safely tow.

There are a ton of cabin cruiser benefits that can be pointed out by those who prefer them. To start, they often eliminate the need for shore power when out at sea, since many of the larger cabin cruisers will have dedicated generators that will run accessories like fridge/freezer, lights, entertainment devices, and more. 

The size of cabin cruisers is also considered to be one of their benefits since they have plenty of room for activities. Most have a swim platform, fully enclosed or optionally enclosed helm, and a comfort level in rougher waters that is the envy of smaller vessels. 

So many people prefer cabin cruisers over dedicated-purpose boats because of the options and customizability available through the manufacturer, and the overall versatility. Since you don’t have to get a specific subtype, you can often choose a model that will allow you to fish, cruise, and even go island-hopping.

One of the things that some people often have to shop around for, is finding a cabin cruiser with the ideal number of seats for the passenger loads they plan on carrying.

Even though you may find one that has the passenger capacity you need, there may not be enough space for passengers to sit without having to go below deck.

If you find yourself in this situation, simply moving up to the next length option often provides an additional 2-4 seats. Sometimes, even this isn’t enough extra room, in which case you may be better suited to looking at smaller yachts.

Navigating cabin cruiser prices can feel a bit overwhelming at times since there are so many potential makes and models. We’ve simplified it a bit for you, below you’ll find ballpark estimates for what you should expect to spend.

New Cabin Cruiser Prices

Some newer boaters may be put off by the cabin cruiser cost associated with a new vessel. In most cases, boaters looking for an average cabin cruiser can get on the water for about $70,000. Most new boats will be in the $50,000-$100,000 range, with luxury models going up from there.

With new cabin cruiser models, all of your mechanical components, like the engine, bilge pump, steering system, electrical system, and so on, are in the best condition they will ever be in. Often there are warranties as well. This drives your ongoing cost of ownership down for several seasons since there likely won’t be any service needed beyond routine maintenance. 

In many cases, the prospective owner will be able to build their boat online to suit their needs, cutting down on the list of gear or accessories needed later. Often with new boats, the manufacturer or dealer will have packages available to outfit the boat with all items required for full passenger load.

Used Cabin Cruiser Prices

Many potential cabin cruiser buyers look for used boats. This can sometimes be a very smart way to get boats which are frequently relatively expensive for much less than they would ordinarily pay, less than half in many situations.

Used cabin cruisers can be found for as little as $7,000 for models only a few years old, ranging up to around $30,000. This makes them a much better value than other used boats. A downside to this is that you will often need to spend a little more to have them outfitted with the electronics and other accessories that you want. 

With the benefits of lower purchase costs, however, cabin cruiser ownership costs often rise with the purchase of a used boat. Depending on the condition of the boat and the maintenance history of the previous owner or owners, you may be getting a great deal or taking on a considerable expense.

When planning on buying a cabin cruiser, you should understand and be prepared for the ongoing expense of boat ownership. In some ways, the ownership costs for a boat with a sleeping cabin can significantly outstrip those of boats without cabins. Plan on 10%-15% of the cost of your vessel in annual maintenance.

You will need to take into account recurring expenses such as boat insurance, which you will need to maintain whether you’re on the water or not. You will also need to plan on mechanical maintenance for the engine, steering system, and the cost of supplies to clean your boat after use. 

If you are in an area where you will have your boat in storage for a part of the year, you will need to consider that cost. If you are in an area that allows for year-long boating, your expense will be monthly or annual boat slip and marina security fees. Here’s an average yearly breakdown for a modest $40,000 cabin cruiser with a 6 month boating season:

  • Licenses & Insurance: $400
  • Boater Education: $100
  • Maintenance: $4,000
  • Fuel: $6,000
  • Slip: $1,500
  • Equipment: $500-$1000

Your cabin cruiser will be the perfect vacation destination since it essentially functions as a seaworthy hotel room. Many people love to just cruise from place to place, enjoying coastal tranquility. Others use them for sport fishing, chasing freshwater trophies, or saltwater bounty like tuna. They work perfectly for local day trips as well as distant overnights.

A large portion of cabin cruiser owners enjoys having a place where they can take the whole family to both stay and play. Since the best part about a cabin cruiser is having the means and space to prepare meals and safely sleep, your outings are no longer limited by daylight hours or your next hot meal.

The versatility to go wherever and do whatever the tribe wants, without having to cut the fun short to have dinner or spend the night, is one of the greatest feelings of all.

Popular Cabin Cruiser Brands 

There are a ton of manufacturers out there that make some version of a boat with a cabin, and many of them only have a limited history of making or selling cabin cruisers.

There are some brands, however, that have been around and are well-known and well-respected in the boating world. There are some newer brands that have definitely made a name for themselves in a short time in the industry.

The most popular brands of cabin cruisers include:

  • Chris-Craft
  • Grand Banks
  • Tiara Sport

While the idea of a boat with a cabin is obviously not a new one, many boaters wonder how the modern cabin cruiser boat type came about. They gained a lot of steam during the 1950s, but their official design and production history goes back even further.

As early as the 1920s and into the 1930s, boatbuilders Elco Motor Yachts and Consolidated more or less created the entire cabin cruiser boat type. While sailboats would remain the more popular cabin boats until the middle of the century when new materials developed during WWII made their way into the consumer boat industry.

Once the boats became more cost-effective to manufacture, it drove the prices down. This allowed those who weren’t specifically “wealthy” to begin to enjoy a boating lifestyle. This continued to evolve into the consumer boating industry you know today. 

If you were looking for alternatives to a cabin cruiser, while retaining some similar level of versatility or functionality, there may be a few potential options. 

If you find you don’t necessarily need the cabin cruiser interior, but enjoy its various range of uses, you may find that a deck boat allows you to do many of the same things. You will be able to cruise, fish, and partake in various water sports and leisure activities.

Another alternative would be a smaller yacht, which would offer similar amenities while providing even more room for guests or activities.

Yachts will often be slightly longer than cabin cruisers, however, so be aware that your annual cost of ownership would increase as you would likely need a more expensive slip than for a cabin cruiser. 

What is the difference between a cabin cruiser and a yacht?

The main difference in a cabin cruiser is that while a cabin cruiser often has similar amenities, its size allows it to be more easily operated by one person, while a yacht will generally require a crew.

Can a cabin cruiser go to sea?

Cabin cruisers are surprisingly capable out at sea and are able to handle some rougher water due to their size, hull shape, and overall stability. 

How much does a cabin cruiser cost?

Like all larger cabin boats, the cost of a cabin cruiser can vary wildly. Basic models bought new, will generally cost at least $100,000 and sometimes more than a million.

Do cabin cruisers have bathrooms?

Any cabin cruiser should also be equipped with a bathroom, also called a “head”. They may not be “en suite”, but they should be present.

How fast do cabin cruisers go?

Depending on the engine and the boat specifics, it is not uncommon to see cabin cruisers that are able to reach 60 knots (69mph) or more.

How to winterize a cabin cruiser?

They require much of the same care that other boats will need, such as prepping the engine for disuse, service the filters and separators, stabilizing the fuel system, and prep the plumbing.


Robert Owens is the Chief of Content of Quicknav. Robert has been boating for over ten years and loves to share his experience on the water. His first boat was a dirt-cheap moderately beat up 2003 Bayliner 175, where he learned a tremendous amount about trailering, launching, docking, operating, and maintaining. He currently owns a Cruiser Yacht and is eyeing a sailboat.

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What is a Cabin Cruiser Boat (and what makes it Unique)?

If you’re like most people, the word “cabin cruiser” conjures up images of luxury and relaxation. And you’re not wrong. Cabin cruiser boats are designed for comfort and entertaining, with plenty of space for overnight guests. But there’s more to these boats than meets the eye.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of cabin cruiser boats, their features, and what to look for when choosing the right one for you. So, whether you’re in the market for a new cabin cruiser or just want to learn more about these popular boats, read on!

Table of Contents

What is a Cabin Cruiser?

A cabin cruiser is a type of recreational boat that typically combines an enclosed living space with outdoor areas for relaxing and enjoying the scenery. They are popular for both day trips and extended cruising vacations, as they provide a comfortable place to stay while exploring new areas.

Cabin cruisers first became popular in the early 20th century as a way for people to enjoy the outdoors while also having a comfortable place to sleep at night. The first cabin cruisers were typically small and had only basic amenities, but they gradually became larger and more luxurious over time.

Today, most cabin cruisers are between 30 and 50 feet long and can accommodate up to 10 people comfortably. They usually have one or two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living area, as well as an outdoor deck space. Some larger models may even have multiple decks and multiple bedrooms.

There are many different styles of cabin cruisers available, from small and basic models to large luxury boats. Whatever your budget or needs, there is likely a cabin cruiser out there that will suit you.

What are the different types of Cabin Cruiser, and what do they look like?

Cabin cruisers come in many different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: they’re designed for comfort and convenience. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a day of fishing on the open water or simply exploring a new coastline, cabin cruisers are a perfect choice.

Luxury Cruisers

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Luxury cruisers are what most people think of when you refer to cabin cruisers. They usually have all the bells and whistles and amenities that make your life easy when out on the water. There most meant for those who boat recreationally; however you could easily rig them up for some deep-sea fishing.

Downeast Cabin Cruisers

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Downeast cabin cruisers are characterized by their long, sleek hulls and slender profiles. These boats are designed for speed and maneuverability, making them ideal for exploring narrow waterways. Many downeast cabin cruisers also feature enclosed bridges, which offer protection from the elements while still providing ample seating and storage space.

Canal Cabin Cruisers

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Canal cabin cruisers are similar to downeast cabin cruisers in terms of their overall design. However, these boats are typically shorter and thiner, which makes them more sutable for narrow canals. Canal cabin cruisers are also equipped with shallow-draft hulls, making them ideal for cruising through shallow waters.

Sport Fishing Cabin Cruisers

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Sport fishing cabin cruisers are designed for serious anglers. These boats feature large cockpits and plenty of storage space for all your gear. Many sport fishing cabin cruisers also come equipped with live wells, bait stations, and fish finders, making them the perfect choice for a day of fishing on the open water.

How much do Cabin Cruisers Cost?

Cabin cruisers generally cost around $300,000-$1 million, depending on the size, brand, features, etc. You can find used cabin cruisers for significantly cheaper, even on boats just a couple of years old.

Cabin Cruiser vs Yacht vs Cuddy Cabin

There are a few key differences between cabin cruisers, yachts, and cuddy cabins that you should be aware of before making a purchase. For starters, cabin cruisers are typically smaller than yachts and cuddy cabins.

This makes them more maneuverable and easier to dock, but it also means they have less space on board. Yachts, on the other hand, are much larger and can accommodate more passengers and crew. Cuddy cabins are usually even smaller than cabin cruisers making them even easier to maneuver but offering less space.

Another key difference is that Yachts cabin cruisers typically have an open layout, while cuddy cabins tend to be more closed off. This means that cabin cruisers are generally more social boats, as there is less of a barrier between the cockpit and the rest of the boat.

Finally, yachts are typically the most expensive, cabin cruisers are second, and cuddy cabins are usually the cheapest. This makes cabin cruisers a great option for those looking for a quality boat without breaking the bank. However, cabin cruisers still can cost upwards of millions of dollars, so they are not an option for everyone.

Overall, cabin cruisers are a great choice for those looking for a quality boat that can be maneuvered by yourself without needing a captain and are relatively affordable compared to yachts. Yachts are better suited for those who have the budget for a more luxurious option and are looking for more space and privacy on board. Cuddy cabins are best for people who don’t want to spend a whole lot of money and what something smaller that involves less work.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Cabin Cruiser?

Cabin cruisers offer many advantages over other boats including more space and amenities, greater stability, and easier docking (compared to yachts). However, cabin cruisers also have some disadvantages, such as higher costs and heavier weight.


1. More Space: Cabin cruisers offer much more interior space than other types of boats of comparable size. This extra space can be used for storage, sleeping quarters or simply to provide a more comfortable cruising experience.

2. More Amenities: Cabin cruisers also typically come equipped with more amenities than other types of boats. These amenities can include anything from full kitchens and bathrooms to spacious lounge areas and state-of-the-art entertainment systems.

3. Greater Stability: Because of their larger size and weight, cabin cruisers are generally much more stable than other types of boats. This makes them ideal for cruising in rough waters or for hosting large parties on board.

4. Easier Docking: Cabin cruisers can be easier to dock than other types of boats, thanks to their greater stability and the fact that they typically have two or more engines for added maneuverability.

5. Luxurious Accommodations: Many cabin cruisers are designed with luxury in mind, offering high-end finishes and amenities that rival those found in upscale homes.

6. Ideal for Entertaining: Cabin cruisers are often used as floating party venues, thanks to their spacious interiors and convenient onboard amenities.


1. Higher Costs: Cabin cruisers can be significantly more expensive than other types of boats, both to purchase and to maintain.

2. Heavier Weight: Cabin cruisers are typically quite large and heavy, which can make them difficult to tow and store.

3. More Difficult to Maneuver: Because of their size and weight, cabin cruisers can be more difficult to maneuver than other types of boats. This can make them challenging to dock in tight spaces.

What are the top brands to purchase quality Cabin Cruisers?

There are a few great brands when it comes to cabin cruisers, including:

  • Sea Ray – luxurious cabin cruiser with all the bells and whistles
  • Tiara – reliable and well-built cabin cruisers
  • Formula – Very reputable brand
  • Cutwater – affordable and stylish cabin cruisers

All three manufacturers offer high-quality options that will provide you with years of enjoyment on the water. When choosing a cabin cruiser, it is important to consider your budget and what features are most important to you.

What should you look for before buying Cabin Cruisers?

There are many things you should look for before buying a cabin cruiser. The size of the boat, the type of engine, and the amenities offered are just a few things to consider. You also need to decide if you want a new or used model. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect cabin cruiser for your needs.

What do you plan to use your cabin cruiser for? Whether you want to spend weekends on the lake or cruise around the coastline, it’s important to choose a model that suits your needs.

One of the most important things to consider when buying a cabin cruiser is the size of the boat. You need to make sure that the boat is big enough for your needs. Cabin cruisers come in all different sizes, so you should be able to find one that is perfect for you.

  • Type of Engine

Another thing you need to consider when buying a cabin cruiser is the type of engine. There are two main types of engines, gasoline and diesel. Gasoline engines are less expensive, but they require more maintenance. Diesel engines are more expensive, but they last longer and require less maintenance.

When you are looking at cabin cruisers, you should also consider the amenities that are offered. Some cabin cruisers come with features like air conditioning, televisions, and stereos. Others do not have any of these features. You need to decide what amenities you want and how much you are willing to pay for them.

  • New or Used

Finally, you need to decide if you want a new or used cabin cruiser. Used models can be cheaper, but they may not have all of the features that you want. New models will be more expensive, but they will have all of the latest features. You need to decide what is more important to you, price or features.

These are just a few things to consider when you are looking at cabin cruisers. If you take your time and do your research, you should be able to find the perfect boat for your needs.

Final Words

In conclusion, a cabin cruiser boat is a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile that you could live in and take anywhere. Whether you’re fishing, swimming, or just cruising around, a cabin cruiser boat can provide you with plenty of enjoyment. With so many different models and styles to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect cabin cruiser boat for your needs. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start enjoying the water today.

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A Complete Guide to Cabin Cruiser Boats: All You Need to Know!

John Sampson

If you’re looking for a boat to go cruising, the cabin cruiser is a great option. These boats come in various styles, designs, and lengths, with many configurations for driver setups, cabins, below-deck utilities, and motor options.

The cabin cruiser is ideal for spending a few days out on the water without coming back to land. Take long cruises around islands or up and down the coast. Typically, the larger models are for the ocean, with the smaller boats being suitable for trailering between inland and coastal waters.

A cabin cruiser is suitable for fishing, and the smaller models are good for watersports as well. However, the larger luxury models have characteristics that make them more akin to yachts than boats. Depending on the manufacturing brand and model, you could end up spending a small fortune on your cabin cruiser for customizations.

This post gives you everything you need to know about cabin cruiser boats. We’ll unpack the characteristics of this vessel to provide you with an idea of whether it’s the right option for your new boat.

What Is a Cabin Cruiser?

Cabin cruisers have a design for traveling long distances. They also generally have living quarters in the V-berth of the boat, found towards the vessel’s front. The V-berth gives you all the same options as you would find in a cuddy cabin model, but they typically have more room, standing space, and better amenities, depending on the model.

The cabin cruiser is ideal for traveling between islands or up and down the coastline on longer boating trips that last a few days. The cabin cruiser has a small deck compared to the space available on the boat.

However, the living quarters are usually spacious, offering you setups for couches and beds, with plenty of luxuries like TVs, stereo systems, fridges, toilets, showers, air-conditioning, and galleys. You have everything you need onboard to enjoy your time on the water without the need to go back to land.

The cabin cruiser is one of the larger models of boats available. Most cabin cruisers range between 20 to 45-feet in length. The bigger boats offer you more luxury on the water, and some models even look like small yachts.

Cabin Interior

Benefits of Cabin Cruiser Boats

Is the cabin cruiser the right choice for your boat? Let’s look at some of the benefits of owning this vessel and how it can benefit your time on the water.

Cabin for overnight adventures

The cabin cruiser has a large v-berth in the vessel’s front, with a cabin over the driver cockpit. The cabin setup makes it easy to navigate the boat through rainy conditions, keeping you dry. Cabin cruiser models in the shorter range below 35-feet might have less luxury and more practicality to them.

However, when you get to the longer models, the price tag starts escalating thanks to the customizations and features of the boat. For example, the longer models may include generators to power amenities like showers and fridges.

The cabin cruiser comes with a setup for fishing, and they are popular diving boats for spending days out on the water doing research projects or taking tours. The cabin is a full enclosure with a hard roof, and some models may also offer enclosed cabins with air conditioning to control the climate.

Cabin cruisers have deep hulls allowing for easy cruising through all ocean-going conditions. The V-berth may include sleeping quarters and a dining area on larger models. Some of the larger cruisers may also have split v-berths, offering you separate living and sleeping quarters.

Cabin Cruiser Boats

Cabin cruisers come in many options, from basic models with small cabins the large boats that look like yachts. Typically, the boat starts at around 24-feet in length, with some models reaching up to 45-feet or longer.

Fittings and Customizations

As mentioned, the cabin cruiser comes with plenty of customization options, especially on larger boats. Some models may have heating and air conditioning, along with options like complete bathrooms, multiple v-berths, and generators.

You also have different options for driver configurations, with the center console design being popular for these models. Some boats come with split levels, providing the captain’s deck on top, and a lounge or living area below the cabin, leading into the berth.

Speed and Handling

The cruiser comes with powerful motors , but it’s more of a cruising boat than a high-performance model. These boats are ideal for lazy cruises, and they offer a stable platform out on the water, even in rough seas.

While they can reach high speeds, the longer models lack the maneuverability and tight turning arc of smaller boats like bowriders . They offer a very smooth driving experience, and they are suitable for beginners or experienced captains.

Trailering Small Models

The larger models of cruisers are not trailerable, and they require docking in a slip. However, the smaller boats under 28-feet are usually suitable for trailering.

However, the boat’s width might be a problem, and you’ll need to get a special permit for trailering the boat if it’s wider than 10-feet.

Motor Configurations

The cabin cruiser is a powerboat, and it comes with a dual or quadruple motor setup, depending on the model. Many larger boats rely on outboard or jet propulsion motors to provide the power the boat needs to cruise along without straining the engine.

There are plenty of motor configurations, with the jet propulsion system being the most expensive option. However, the jets run quiet, and they offer excellent power. It’s a great choice for serene cruises in waters where you want to go diving.

Cabin Cruiser Motor

Disadvantages of Cabin Cruiser Boats

Cabin cruisers are fantastic boats, but they don’t suit all activities on the water . Here are some of the drawbacks of owning a cabin cruiser over other models.

The cabin cruiser can be a very expensive boat, especially for the larger models.

Most start at around $100,000, with the luxury models costing up to $500,000 or more. The price depends on the finishes and customizations you order for the watercraft.

Less Seating Room

The smaller versions of cabin cruisers have less seating room than you would expect. The large v-berth area in the hull takes up plenty of space on luxury models. However, you can fit anywhere from four to nine people on the average cabin cruiser model.

No Trailers for Large Models

The large cabin cruiser model over 35-feet may struggle with trailers. As a result, they require docking in a slip, and you’ll have to pay fees for this service.


Cabin cruisers are expensive boats to purchase and maintain. They come with advanced engines and multiple configurations. The luxury models will be costly to service, so consider those costs when settling on the right model for your ocean adventures.

Cabin Cruiser Boats

Types of Cabin Cruiser Boats

Cabin cruisers come in several models with different setups for the cabin and v-berth areas. Typically, you’ll find that cabin cruisers fall into one of three categories.

These models have an open design without any roof. Some smaller models may have a sunshade, and open models usually feature a windscreen to keep the spray out of the driver’s face.

Closed Cabin

These models feature a solid roof overhead. Some boats may also feature sealed climate-controlled cabins. These boats are more expensive than open-cabin models, and they often come in split-level designs, similar to yachts.

Top Cabin Cruiser Brands and Models

Four winns vista 255 ob.

From the exterior, the Four Winns Vista 255 OB looks like a small boat. However, the clever design of this vessel utilizes every square inch of space available on the boat. As a result, you get a surprising amount of space on board, with plenty of functionality, allowing you to take long, overnight cruises.

You have several options for driving and seating configurations, with setups including sun pads, wide rear seats, or L-shaped seating for your guests. The driver seats come with swivels and extra padding to reduce driver fatigue on longer trips.

Four Winns Vista 255

The cockpit on the Four Winns features all the creature comforts you need for life out on the water. You get a dining table, hot plate, a galley, and a built-in cooler included for storing fish or drinks.

This Four Winns model features Yamaha or Mercury outboard motors, offering your efficiency and speed out on the open water. The living area is bright and spacious, featuring seven windows in the v-berth.

The Grand Banks Eastbay 44

This boat features outstanding build and design quality. You get excellent performance and plenty of useful amenities for living out on the water over a long weekend or a holiday. The Eastbay 44 by Grand Banks comes with a teak cockpit and dining/seating area featuring electric windows.

Grand Banks Eastbay 44

The boat has a wide beam, several cabin configuration options, and room for six people to sleep in the v-berth. The main cabin on the boat features a queen-size bed and a large wardrobe. This model is ideal for longer cruises around North American coastlines or the Great Loop, with its extended fuel tank .

There’s a deep V-hull for ultimate stability, even in rough ocean conditions. The design and length also offer excellent maneuverability, similar to what you would expect from a smaller cuddy cabin model.

Rinker 270 Express Cruiser

If you want the best balance of functionality and comfort, the Rinker 270 Express is a great choice for your cabin cruiser. This boat features a 6’5″ headroom in the cabin for standing, and it’s a trailerable design. You also get a fully-equipped kitchen with a fridge and stove and a toilet with a shower.

Rinker 270 Express Cruiser

The sleeping quarters are ideal for two or three people, but you can fit four people in at a stretch. While it’s one of the smaller models, the boat’s design lends itself to a spacious feeling for its size. The boat has plenty of power for cruising, and the deep V-hull adds stability out on the open ocean.

The Rinker 270 Express Cruiser comes with your choice of Volvo Penta OceanX Drive or MerCruiser SeaCore Drive for gas-powered or diesel engine options.

Back Cove 34O

This model comes with the perfect balance of comfort and performance, with a setup ideal for couples that enjoy cruising the coastline on weekends. The boat’s hull is unique, featuring the patented “Trailing Edge Lifting Surface (TRELIS)” design, fitted with the standard bow-thruster.

The 34O model offers you a high-performance model compared to the traditional single diesel Back Cove, with cruising and top-end speeds that are around 10-knots faster. This model is the entertainer’s dream, featuring a cockpit with a salon and comfortable couch. There’s a fully-equipped galley, and the rear-facing seating converts into a U-shaped berth or dinette.

Back Cove 34O

The Back Cove 340 comes with a double outboard configuration, featuring twin 300-hp Yamaha motors, and you have the option to upgrade to the more powerful 350-hp option made by Suzuki. When you open up the engines, the boat feels a lot like a ski model with excellent maneuverability.

The innovative helm design is one of the highlights of the Back Cove 34O. You get superior visibility to other models, with plenty of storage space below the deck.

Pack away your fishing gear and watersports equipment out of sight without encroaching on cabin space. The master cabin features a queen-size bed and a toilet with a shower.

Wrapping Up

The cabin cruiser is a great choice if you spend a lot of time out on the ocean. These boats are ideal for spending the night out on the sea, and they come with all the living amenities you need to enjoy the life aquatic.

While they are an expensive boat, you get what you pay for with a cruiser. These boats can come in basic or luxury models to suit your taste, boating requirements, and budget. Set the boat up any way you want, with custom configurations for v-berths, driver cockpits, and roof and cabin designs.

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John is an experienced journalist and veteran boater. He heads up the content team at BoatingBeast and aims to share his many years experience of the marine world with our readers.

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Jimmy Rogers


Different Types of Yachts Explained

  • August 14, 2020

In this article, I hope to dispel the confusion surrounding the categories of yachts that exist and explain what each means.  There is definitely a lot of overlap in the categories or “types” out there…

The types below are put into these categories:

1. Express, Express Cruiser, Cruiser, Sports Cruiser

2. flybridge, sedan, sedan bridge, sport bridge, 3. motor yacht, pilothouse motor yacht, cockpit motor yacht, skylounge, 4. tri-deck, mega yacht, 5. sportfish, express sportfish, flybridge sportfish, convertible.

These are all terms to describe a yacht with a single deck above the hull and living quarters below.  This type is known for its sporty and sleek look, like the sports car of the yacht world.  The below photos and descriptions show the different styles that fall into this category

Riva 63 Virtus

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This beautiful Riva 63 Virtus is called an open express .  Note the single deck above the hull and below is one level with living quarters.  This is also referred to as a “Mediterranean” style yacht…maximum space for sun and laying out with little to no shade or cover.  This particular boat has a bimini top that comes up via a hydraulic system to provide some shade

Sea Ray 51 Sundancer

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This is an older 51’ Sea Ray Sundancer, which would be called a hard top express .  Note the hard top over the helm area to provide shade.  There is a gap between the windshield and the hardtop so it is still a totally open air area to provide a breeze.  Here that open air area has an “isinglass” enclosure, which is a rollable plastic material that you can still see out of and take on or off depending on how much breeze and open air you want.

Sunseeker 60 Predator

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This Sunseeker 60 Predator is a hard top express with enclosed front windshield .  In this case there is no gap between the front windshield and the hardtop, creating an area above decks on the boat that is fully sealed off on 3 sides.  The back part is still open so the area above decks still has an outdoor feel, but the climate in that area is much easier to control, especially with the addition of some large A/C units.  In this particular model, there is a huge sunroof that will slide back to make the area feel much more open if you so desired.

Pershing 80 Express

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Pershing 80 is an Express yacht with a fully enclosed area above decks .

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

You can see here that even the back part of the hardtop has doors that close off the above decks salon from the open air aft deck.  This creates a fully climate controlled indoor living area above decks.  However, this Pershing 80 has many tricks up her sleeve like huge sun roof, sliding down side windows, and also the entire back glass enclosure pictured above will slide down into the floor to create a totally open feel throughout the entire upper deck…so you can have the total open feel, or total closed feel…just depends on your mood and the climate.

In summary, there are many different types of “express” boats, but the common thread that ties them all together is the 2 deck layout, one below the hull and one above the hull.

This is a yacht that has an area on the top of the superstructure that provides views all around the vessel, with a control station there as well as seating and lounging space.

Sunseeker 74 Predator Sport Bridge

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

To start with the smallest type of bridge, this Sunseeker 74 Predator Sport Bridge is essentially an express yacht with an area up top just big enough for a control station and a couple lounge chairs.  This gives a captain a place to run the yacht that is away from the owner and guests, or provides the owner a true open air feel while running the yacht if he chooses so from time to time.  There is still a control station below.  These sportbridges typically do not have any shade, not even a bimini top.

Ferretti 620 Flybridge

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This Ferretti 620 is the traditional type of flybridge .  There is a large amount of enclosed living space on the main deck, staterooms below and a large amount of outdoor lounge space on the bridge up top.  There are two control stations, one on the bridge and one below…again giving the captain versatility to go wherever convenient, due to weather or to allow privacy for owner and guests.  The flybridge here is very open with only a small bimini top to allow for the most outdoor feel possible.

Azimut 80 Flybridge

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Azimut 80 Flybridge here provides a hardtop with a retractable soft top inside of it, giving the passengers the option of shade or sun.

Sea Ray 58 Sedan Bridge

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This Sea Ray 58 Sedan Bridge has a hardtop on the flybridge with a full plexiglass enclosure around it .  This provides more permanent shade and the ability to have A/C or heat in the bridge area…allowing the flybridge area to be utilized even in more extreme cold, warm or rainy weather.  This Sedan only has one helm station, located on the bridge, to allow for the maximum amount of living space on the main deck.

Maritimo 48 Enclosed Bridge

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Maritimo 48 Enclosed Bridge offers the ultimate in climate control and protection.  For boaters that desire full protection from the elements this type of yacht will keep you comfortable regardless of the outside temperature.  This yacht also only has one helm station located on the bridge that offers the maximum amount of living space on the main deck.

The term motor yacht is probably the most traditional and overarching of all these types, basically meaning “Large Recreational Vessel that is Motor Powered”…so technically that could include an express, flybridge, sportfish…anything with a motor.  But this denotation in the modern world of yachting typically refers to a multi deck vessel similar to a flybridge but with a larger interior main deck.

Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht is an open bridge Motor Yacht with hard top .  As you can see motor yachts typically have a larger and further forward interior area and smaller outside bow space.  This is the preferred type of vessel for long stays aboard as they offer the maximum amount of living quarters per square foot of boat.  Most also have an upper and lower helm station, allowing for different piloting options, in the open on the bridge or on the main deck in a fully climate controlled environment.

Westport 112 Pilothouse Motor Yacht

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Westport 112 Pilothouse Motor Yacht is one of the most popular motor yachts in its size range.  From the above photo you can see that the pilothouse is located on a split level sort of area between the main deck and the flybridge.  It allows the captain to have a centrally located command center on the yacht that is away from the living and lounging areas.  There is still an additional command center on the bridge, but the main nerve center of the yacht is the pilothouse.  In smaller yachts, the pilothouse area may be located on the main deck and not in a totally separate area…the term pilothouse basically means “the area where the ship is controlled by the ship’s captain”

Lazzara 80 Skylounge Motor Yacht with Cockpit

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This 80 Lazzara has both the Skylounge and Cockpit.  The Skylounge is a term for an enclosed flybridge with an interior living space that is fully climate controlled .  Many skylounges have windows that slide down or sunroofs also that allow you to get the open air feel as well.  With 3 decks that have an enclosed living area, this is by definition also a tri-deck…but that term is usually reserved for larger megayachts.

The cockpit is a nice addition on yachts where the owner or guests intend to do some fishing or diving.  It provides a great platform for the recreational sportsman that is right at the water level.

A Tri-Deck is a yacht that has 3 levels of enclosed living space.  Although smaller Tri-Decks exist like the 80 Lazzara above, the term is typically seen used in yachts in excess of 120 feet.

Many definitions exist for what defines a Mega Yacht, but I believe it to be a vessel in excess of 80 feet.

Westport 130 Tri-Deck

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Notice on this 130 Westport that there are 2 decks above the hull with enclosed, climate controlled living areas and one deck below, for a total of 3 decks enclosed decks.  There is also a large flybridge above and multiple other open areas for lounging.

Christensen Shipyard Megayacht

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The sky is the limit with mega yachts…a boatyard like Christensen Shipyard will build the yacht of your dreams, designed to you exacting specifications…

A Sportfish is any yacht that is geared towards fishing.  This will mean that they have a large cockpit with which to fish out of, designated storage for rods, bait, tackle and the day’s catch.  They typically will also be higher performance than a motoryacht, able to get out to the fishing grounds and back as fast as possible, as well as handle rough seas.

Cabo 52 Express

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Cabo 52 Express is the express sportfish style, in which it has 2 decks, one above the hull and one below.  The tower located above the hardtop is used by fisherman to help spot anything that will help them catch fish, be it a tide line, bait jumping or the prized marlin.

Hatteras GT63

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

This Hatteras GT63 is a Flybridge Sportfish , with an enclosed living area above the hull and bridge.  This yacht also has the tower for spotting above the hardtop.  She is bred for high speed performance in rough seas and can blast right through 6 foot waves and hit top speeds of over 40 knots.  This type of “Sportfish DNA” is for the yachtsman that wants to chase fish even if the seas are rough, and appreciates a yacht that is solidly put together to handle those conditions.

Hatteras 77 Convertible

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

The Hatteras 77 Convertible is an incredible yacht that incorporates the amenities of a motor yacht and a sportfish in the same package…hence the term Convertible…able to convert to a fishing or a cruising yacht as needed.  She also has an enclosed flybridge up top for climate controlled comfort.


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What is a Cabin Cruiser?

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Jun 24, 2020

When preparing to buy your new boat you should write down exactly what you want the boat for…is it for fishing, tubing the kids, or just having a relaxing 2-night stay on the vessel. If you are more interested in traveling in your boat and looking for overnight stays, we think a cabin cruiser is a perfect choice for you!

Cabin Cruisers are a type of powerboat that usually range in size from 20-45 ft in length which are perfect for its crew and its many passengers. They are also one of the most versatile boats and come in a wide range of lengths.

cabin cruiser

Main benefits

  • Cabin for overnight adventures
  • Can include AC/Heat/Stove/Full Head/Multiple Berths/Generator
  • Trailerable smaller models

Larger model cabin, or express, cruisers (26 ft +) will typically have a generator to allow full use of all accessories without needing to be plugged into shower power. Most will include swim platforms,  full enclosure options, and a comfortable ride even in rougher waters. Cabin cruisers also typically feature a dining area which converts into a berth on smaller vessels.  The larger the vessel, the more options you will find such as windlass, hot water heater, multiple berths, and more.

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

Choosing the Right Size

Cabin cruisers usually start around 24 feet and go into the 50+ range (express cruisers). In general, if you plan on trailering the boat, stick with a boat ~33 feet or less. Most larger cabin cruisers will have a wider beam and you will need permits to be able to pull down the road. If you want a small boat that is a perfect weekend cruiser, start looking into boats under 30 feet such as the famous Sea Ray Sundancer series or Chaparral Signature series.

For extended cruising, stays, or even considered a second home by many, the express cruiser may be for you. Boats such as a Sea Ray 54 Sundancer will have sleeping accommodations for 8 or more and have feature rich amenities. These boats generally stay in the water year-round and can be live-aboard for some owners. They will require more maintenance and care, but have features such as Zeus drives, high-end electronics, and multiple living areas.

cabin cruiser

Need help finding the cabin cruiser of your dreams? 

Please visit our website for a full list of our Cruiser inventory! Click here to view. We come across thousands of boats every week and are experts at helping our clients narrow down that perfect boat. Please message us on Facebook, email, or call with any questions you may have and we will get back to you ASAP.

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Comparing Cruisers

  • By Jeff Hemmel
  • Updated: October 20, 2017

Day boating may be fun, but cruising overflows with potential. If you love it, pretty soon you’ll get what boaters call “two-foot-itis ”; it’s the need for just a little bigger boat. In fact, boat sellers love this little bug and often count on it for their next sale. Here is what three to five more feet get you, so just maybe you can buy the boat of your dreams the first time.

Comparing Cruisers

28 Feet: Bayliner 285 SB Cruising really begins with boats in the 28-foot range. They’re still small enough to be towed or stored on your property, yet big enough to overnight aboard. Bayliner’s 285 pairs a slimmed-down forward berth with a convertible Corian-tabled dinette and makes the midcabin berth an actual stateroom, meaning a real bulkhead and door, not just a curtain. That brings sleeping capacity to six, although in this size range, a couple (and maybe the kids) would truly be most comfortable for a weekend. The same holds true for living amenities, such as freshwater capacity. Cruisers in the 28-foot range offer adequate capacity for short trips, but generally not extended stays. The Bayliner 285 SB will tote 28 gallons of water.

Contact: Bayliner Knoxville, Tennessee; 360- 435-8957; bayliner.com

Class Advantage: Many stay within a beam of 8 feet 6 inches, and a 28-foot cruiser is still small enough to tow with a full-size vehicle.

Specs LOA: 28’7″ Beam: 9’11” Displacement (lb.): 8,056 Fuel Capacity: 89 gal. Max Horsepower: 380 Range at Cruising Speed: 142 nm Berths: 6

Price: $96,305 (with MerCruiser 350 Mag)

Gotta Have: Swim platform extension adds welcomed socializing space.

Comparing Cruisers

Another Option…Larson Cabrio 274 Larson opts for a more traditional V-berth, and the cozier midcabin berth is best left to the kids. The adults will likely enjoy a more comfortable night’s sleep forward. larsonboats.com

Comparing Cruisers

32 Feet: Cobalt 323 Boats in the 32-foot range, like the Cobalt 323, step up to twin engines, but they’re still mostly the familiar gasoline stern-drives, which allow you to navigate shallower waters. Twin engines make for easier docking, which is good, since a 32-footer is beyond reasonable towing size. Additional footage provides real space. Some manufacturers use it to allow a small family to weekend. Cobalt chose to make the ultimate day boat. Its expansive, single-level cockpit — featuring plush wraparound seating and a six-speaker stereo system — is complemented by a couple-friendly double berth, head and minimal galley below. Step aft and you’ve got a large swim platform, perfect for hot summer days. The 32-foot cruiser class offers excellent levels of versatility.

Contact: Cobalt Boats Neodesha, Kansas; 800-468-5764; cobaltboats.com

Class Advantage: While actual sleeping capacity isn’t much more than on a 28-footer, a larger cockpit and cabin provide more daytime fun for a larger crew.

Specs LOA: 32’10” (w/o swim platform) Beam: 10’7″ Displacement (lb.): 12,300 Fuel Capacity: 174 gal. Max Horsepower: 860 Range at Cruising Speed: 217 nm Berths: 2

Price: $266,577 (with twin MerCruiser 496 Mag MPI)

Gotta Have: Bimini enclosure provides comfort and protection, rain or shine.

Comparing Cruisers

Another Option…Rinker 310 Express Cruiser Offers some nice touches, including an aft cockpit lounge that converts to a sun pad, an optional cockpit grill and a skylight that opens up the cabin. rinkerboats.com

Comparing Cruisers

37 Feet: Four Winns V375 Cast off in a 37-foot boat, like the Four Winns V375, and you’ll be less subject to rough seas, thanks to 15,000-plus pounds of displacement and a deep-V hull, which smooths the ride. You can still get the familiar stern-drives in this size range, although it is on the cusp of the size for which pod-drives and joystick controls become common. Roominess continues to increase in the 37-foot class. Check out the expansive helm area and the adjacent cockpit in the V375. It is equipped with a refreshment center that includes a sink and a choice of either a refrigerator or ice maker and is housed under a cabana hardtop with full enclosure. The V375’s standard deck plan offers curtained enclosures. Step up to optional bulkheaded staterooms for added privacy.

Contact: Four Winns Cadillac, Michigan; 231- 775-1351; fourwinns.com

Class Advantage: Say goodbye to cramped berths. In this size range, the midcabin berth becomes a true second cabin.

Specs: LOA: 37’0″ Beam: 12’0″ Displacement (lb.): 16,500 Fuel Capacity: 230 gal. Max Horsepower: 640 Range at Cruising Speed: 210 nm Berths: 6

Price: $336,476 (with twin Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi)

Gotta Have: MerCruiser Axius or Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick for docking ease.

Comparing Cruisers

Another Option…Monterey 360SY From its racy, low-slung profile to its almost sportscarlike helm station with chrome-on-black wheel, the 360 oozes performance — and backs it up with as much as 860 hp. montereyboats.com

Comparing Cruisers

42 Feet: Regal 42 Sport Coupe This 42-foot Regal and similar cruisers in its class are your entries into the world of “big boats.” Fully enclosed helm decks become the norm, and many are diesel pod-powered boats. Generators and air-conditioners are mandatory, if not standard. Regal’s 42 also offers goodies like an electric sunroof and a walk-through from helm to foredeck. Belowdecks, Regal focuses on generously sized sleeping areas, twin heads, a separate shower stall and plenty of room in the galley. In Boating tests when equipped with twin 300 hp Volvo Penta IPS pods, it achieved a cruising speed of 28.7 mph with excellent 1.36 mpg fuel economy. The trade-off? Long gone are the days of nosing onto a beach. Of course, there’s room to carry a dinghy for that purpose.

Contact: Regal Marine Industries Orlando, Florida; 407-851-4360; regalboats.com

Class Advantage: True privacy belowdecks, thanks to twin, bulkhead-and-door staterooms and possibly even separate heads.

Specs LOA: 42’4″ Beam: 13’0″ Displacement (lb.): 19,500 Fuel Capacity: 280 gal. Max Horsepower: 700 Range at Cruising Speed: 298 nm Berths: 6

Price: $665,000 (with twin 300 hp Volvo Penta D4 turbodiesels)

Gotta Have: Electric grill in the wet bar makes your boat party central.

Comparing Cruisers

Another Option…Tiara 3900 Sovran Tiara realizes cruising is often for one couple only and responds with the single-stateroom Sovran. The added space allows for a generous galley and home-theater-style lounge. tiarayachts.com

Comparing Cruisers

45 Feet: Sea Ray 450 Sundancer Set up primarily for entertaining, the 450 Sundancer offers a master stateroom forward in an otherwise open plan that features a media room aft, which can sleep two. No doubt, cruisers in this size category begin incorporating some seriously luxurious characteristics. Take, for instance, the Japanese Shoji doors and solid-wood cabinetry throughout the 450 Sundancer. Occasional guests can draw the curtain and sleep on the convertible queen lounge. And when the party’s over, a couple heading off for the weekend will enjoy the boat’s climate-controlled, three-sided hardtop and its 70-gallon freshwater capacity. Most of all, they’ll find that an open layout like the Sundancer’s makes the boat more livable than one that has been cut up into separate cabins.

Contact: Sea Ray Knoxville, Tennessee; 800-772-6287; searay.com

Class Advantage: Many boats that are big enough to go even with the wind blowing do double duty as entertaining platforms. Open floor plans allow a party of 20 at the dock, and a cruising couple can stretch out.

Specs LOA: 45’4″ Beam: 13’2″ Displacement (lb.): 27,205 Fuel Capacity: 285 gal. Max Horsepower: 850 Range at Cruising Speed: 213 nm Berths: 6

Price: $836,029 (with twin 364 hp Cummins-MerCruiser QSB 380 Zeus)

Gotta Have: Cockpit heat/air makes helm deck a climate-controlled second salon.

Comparing Cruisers

Another Option…Formula 45 Yacht Two boats are better than one. Formula’s optional remote-controlled, hydraulic swim platform can carry a PWC for quick trips to shore — or when your crew is longing for a little playtime. formulaboats.com

Comparing Cruisers

48 Feet: Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius At nearly 50 feet, the Cruisers 48 Cantius, and boats like it, can comfortably cruise a family for a week or a snowbirding couple for an entire season. With large staterooms (the master featuring a queen-size bed), a flatscreen-equipped salon that’s big enough to dance in, a galley that includes an upright refrigerator/ freezer and even an optional washer/dryer, the Cantius is equipped for life aboard. Heck, even this boat’s swim platform is large enough for entertaining. The engine compartment is similarly spacious, as it is in most cruisers in this size class, and it offers easy access to vital systems, with plenty of storage capacity to boot. Finally, the Cantius is a performer, attaining a top speed above 37 mph.

Contact: Cruisers Yachts Oconto, Wisconsin; 920-834-2211; cruisersyachts.com

Class Advantage: This class offers the size, interior space and amenities to hit the spot for two couples on extended cruises.

Specs LOA: 46’6″ Beam: 14’6″ Displacement (lb.): 32,000 Fuel Capacity: 400 gal. Max Horsepower: 870 Range at Cruising Speed: 315 nm Berths: 6

Price: $916,820 (with twin 435 hp Volvo Penta IPS 500)

Gotta Have: Optional hydraulic swim platform makes launching your RIB or PWC easy.

Comparing Cruisers

Another Option…Sunseeker Portofino 48 Sunseeker mixes it up, offering a double bed in the forward “VIP suite” that swings apart to form two separate, single berths. The Portofino is also offered in either open or hardtop versions. sunseeker.com

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Cuddy Cabin vs Cabin Cruiser: Breaking Down the Differences

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Cuddy Cabin vs Cabin Cruisers

I have heard it said that a Cabin Cruiser is just a Cuddy Cruiser with Headroom, but there is a lot more to that than just Headroom. Here we will go through the various options of both boats to find out which one is the better choice for you. Cuddy Cabins are snug and compact, whereas Cabin Cruisers offer a far greater range of facilities. But, of course, it all depends on how you spend your time on the water so let’s compare the features of both boats to see which one suits you better. The fundamental difference between the two boats stems from the following:

The Cuddy Cabin boats have a snug cabin with a ‘V’ berth in the bow area. There is limited Headroom, and the ‘V’ berth can accommodate two adults.

Cabin Cruisers have a Headroom in the cabin and have a bathroom (Heads), sometimes a separate shower, and a small galley (kitchen).

This differentiation makes it easier to compare the two types of boats, and we can explore the benefits of each one to allow you to make an informed opinion of which one would suit you better.

To get some idea of the features of both types of boats, you may want to scan through some of the top-rated boats of each type.

Let’s start with some highly rated Cuddy Boats

The bayliner vr5.

The Bayliner VR5

This is a top-rated Cuddy boat. It has a large storage area and can take eight people on board. Clever seating arrangements and well-designed swimming platforms make this the ideal day boat. The Headroom in the ‘V’ berth cabin is restricted to around four feet. Overnight accommodation is basic, and the boat is really geared for daytime fun.

The CormateT24

The CormateT24

A Norwegian boat and a great example of the speed expected of Cuddy Boats. The standard version can hurtle along at fifty knots with incredible fuel efficiency. The high freeboard makes this one of the driest Cuddy boats around. This is one of the few Cuddy boats that offer concealed heads and some essential galley equipment. Certainly, one of the faster Cuddy boats that can provide overnighting comfort. If you are looking for a great Cuddy boat with some overnighting ability, this should be high up on your viewing list.

The Sting 610 DC

The Sting 610 DC

Is a great entry-level Cuddy with limited cabin space but a tremendous responsive performance. The 150 HP outboard will get you moving at over 40 knots. The name gives a good indication of the intended use of the boat. DC means Day Cruiser, and that is what the boat is all about. Great fun for the day. The ‘V’ cabin is functional but lacks any amenities such as windows or toilets. This is very much a dayboat but with great deck features.

The Yamarin, 65 Day Cruiser

The Yamarin, 65 Day Cruiser

This is a prime example of what a Cuddy boat is all about. It has a wonderfully fitted and safe cockpit area, and the standard 225 HP outboard will thrill the heart of any skiing guest. It has a fairly deep draught for a Cuddy boat at a little less than four feet. An interesting feature of this boat is that it provides a freshwater system as an option—a lovely daytime comfortable fun boat.

The Beneteau Flyer 6,6 Sundeck

The Beneteau Flyer 6,6 Sundeck

Part of the formidable Beneteau range this model has a 200 HP outboard for sizzling performance. The ‘V’ berth cabin has a small marine toilet, and the cockpit can convert into a double berth. One of the easiest Cuddy boats to tow, it offers the choice of different water sports destinations. The ‘Sunpad” on the foredeck provides great daytime comfort but does restrict the Headroom in the ‘V’ berth.

Three top-quality Cabin Cruisers

The back cove 40.

The Back Cove 40

The two 300HP outboard engines provide a cruising speed of 24 knots, and there is the option to fit a third outboard to bump up the cruising speed well into the thirties. The fuel tank of 250gallons gives it a range of over 200 nautical miles. There is accommodation for four guests on board with a separate bathroom and shower, a fully equipped galley with a microwave, two plate cookers, and a refrigerator. Clever design features like the transom gates make for excellent daytime enjoyment. If you are looking for the ideal Cuddy and Cabin combination, this must come pretty close.

The MJM43z

The well-designed hull is powered by three 350 HP outboard engines providing a top speed of over 40 knots. The six-foot-six-inch Headroom in the forward stateroom offers comfortable accommodation below the deck, while the saloon can convert into additional accommodation for two guests. With a full entertainment system on board and a comprehensive galley, including a freezer, the boat provides superb comfort. In addition, the boat boasts a Category ‘A’ Ocean Certification making it a serious contender for coastal areas.

Hinckley Sportboat 40C

Hinckley Sportboat 40C

This Cabin Cruiser has a whopping 450 gal fuel tank providing a range of over 340 nautical miles at an average speed of 25 knots. Six-foot-six headroom below decks in air-conditioned comfort along with separate bathroom and shower offers superior comfort. The galley is comprehensive and even includes a cappuccino machine. Deck comforts are lavish with a beautiful forward deck seating arrangement. This is a real family pleaser allowing skiing as well as fishing. I don’t think there is anything I don’t like about this boat.

Here are the main differences between Cuddy and Cabin Cruisers

Cuddy boats are lighter, making them easier to tow. This makes them suitable for towing home and saving on boatyard fees as well as maintenance. This also allows you to travel to different water bodies. Cabin Cruisers are often too heavy to tow or require a heavier tow vehicle.


Cuddy boats can be used for towing skiers and other water toys. They are highly maneuverable and very responsivHowHowever, Cabin Cruisers are not designed for carving up the water.

Cuddy boats

Cuddy boats have minimum draught allowing you to explore shallow coves. However, Cabin Cruisers tend to need more water, especially if they have inboard engines.

Cuddy Boats have some storage area, but this is limited to the ‘V’berth area, whereas Cabin Cruisers have significantly more storage area.

Length of stay on the water

Cuddy boats are limited to perhaps overnight for two people whereas Cabin Cruisers can accommodate two to four people for more extended periods.

Cabin Cruisers have above six-foot Headroom below decks, and the steering position is protected from the weather.  Cuddy boats have limited Headroom and limited weather protection at the steering position.

Bathrooms (Heads)

Cabin Cruisers have separate bathrooms, often with separate shower whereas Cuddy boats lack these facilities.


Cuddy boats may have a small marine toilet, whereas Cabin Cruisers typically have a fully functional toilet system with holding tanks.

Cuddy boats may have an external griller or a microwave, while Cabin Cruisers have fitted galleys with a cooker, microwave, fridge, and freezer.

Entertainment system

Cuddy boats lack these facilities whereas they are fairly common on Cabin Cruisers.

Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is normally restricted to Cabin Cruisers. Cuddy boats rely on natural ventilation.

Cuddy boats are generally less expensive than Cabin Cruisers.


Cabin Cruisers incur greater maintenance primarily because of a broader scope of equipment on board.

Let’s start on Land

Cabin Cruiser

Cuddy Cabin boats tend to be smaller and lighter than Cabin Cruisers. The typical Cuddy Cabin ranges from twenty to twenty-five feet but can get up to thirty feet long. The smaller size and lower weight allow the Cuddy Cabin to be trailed around, so if you can select different bodies of water to visit, then the Cuddy may have the edge over the Cabin Cruiser.

Cabin Cruisers, being heavier, higher, and bigger, are more difficult to tow. In addition, the weight may require a bigger towing vehicle, and launching becomes a significantly more complicated process because of the boat’s weight.

So in the towing department, the Cuddy scores a point.

‘On the Water’ comparison

Cuddy Cabins are nimble in the water. They can be used for skiing and tubing activities and are fast and responsive. They will have a higher top speed than Cabin Cruisers and get to that speed quicker. Cuddy Cruisers are great for zooming around. Ideal for family and friends to spend the day on the water skiing or towing one of the fun inflatable towable toys.

Fairweather is what the Cuddy Cabin boat thrives on. Sunshine and warm water are the essential elements in the Cuddy Cabin cocktail.

Cabin Cruisers are a little more sedate, but that is not to say they lack excitement. Many of them are happy to cruise at speeds in the high thirties and early forties, so they are by no means slow. However, it would not be clever to try to carve up the water with Cabin Cruisers.

Their weight and inventory are not intended for such teenage antics. Cabin Cruisers are all too happy to sacrifice a little adrenaline-pumping action for the convenience of a galley, bathroom with a separate shower, and a bedroom with Headroom.

Space in the Sun

Choosing a boat always involves a compromise. Cuddy Cabins give up deck seating to get some cabin area. Cabin Cruisers also give up some deck seating and sacrifice some performance to gain the home comforts of a galley and a bathroom.

I mentioned that the Cuddy Cabin was the favored boat in fair weather. All boating magazines show blue skies and happy guests sipping drinks while sitting in the sun. Cuddy Cabins are geared for that.

The barbecue grill handily fitted over the rail with the promise of succulent food to feed the hungry crew and guests with the kids splashing on the swimming platform. This is the world of the Cubby Cabin, and it is a beautiful world.

It is beautiful so long as the weather stays good, but when the wind comes up, and the clouds move in, then things change a little, and Cubby Boats will head for the shelter of the Marina as guests hurriedly look for windbreakers and jackets to keep warm.

Unfortunately, Cuddy Cabins have little protection from foul weather. The kids can scamper into the cabin, but the poor skipper is at the mercy of the elements. A bimini cover may protect you from the sun, but it is of limited use to keep the driving rain away.

Comfort when the weather turns

Cabin Cruiser Boat

Cabin Cruisers, on the other hand, are geared to keep things comfortable if the weather turns. The steering position is protected from the weather, and guests can move inside to be warm and dry. In addition, the galley can provide warming drinks and tasty snacks to keep everyone happy.

Grumpy boat owners have all too frequently moaned about when they left home the sun was shining only to find a wet and soggy marina on arrival. This would be the end of the boating day for Cuddy Cabins, but for the Cabin Cruisers, things are not so bad. A rainy day on a Cabin Cruiser is when to attend to all the little things that crop up, calling for the toolbox.

The galley can serve up a warming drink, and you can curl up on the couch in the cabin with a good book and wait for the weather to improve.

So in times of the weather not coming to the party, the Cabin Cruiser has the upper hand.

It’s all a question of time

One of the deciding factors in choosing the right boat for you is the distance to get to the boat. If you are a short distance away from your favorite body of water, then a couple of hours on the water is fine. However,  If the time to get to the boat is substantial, you will want to spend a longer time on the boat, quite possibly, overnight.

Another issue to consider is where the boat is going to stay. Cubby cabins lend themselves to being towed home as that saves boatyard costs and allows for maintenance to be conveniently done at home.

Cruisers tend to stay in the water either at the Marina or moored in the water. This saves the trouble of launching every time you want to use the boat. So with Cabin Cruisers, there is the element of the convenience of having the boat ready to set off with little dockside activity.

So it would seem that Cabin Cruisers have the upper hand in this area, but Cuddy Cabin owners will happily trade this for the freedom to travel to different boating destinations. So if you happen to live in an area with several boating venues, Cuddy Cabins would allow you greater venue flexibility.

It’s not only Headroom

Lying down in the snug ‘V’ berth on a Cuddy Cabin Cruiser, you may wonder what all the fuss about Headroom or the lack of it is valid. For kids, a ‘V’ berth is a lot of fun. The world has shrunk to the appropriate size for them, but adults are forced to adopt crouching positions which are not quite as comfortable.

Cuddy Cabins are snug and intimate, providing the weather plays along. There are few Cuddy Cabins that offer aircon facilities, so natural ventilation is essential. Deck hatches do a great job in this regard, but when rain forces them closed, the cabin can get hot and stuffy.

Many Cuddy Cabins have toilets as part of their inventory. These are very different from the conventional type of toilets, and the marine toilet is often located under the ‘ V’ berth and serves to increase the area of the ‘V’ berth. There is no separate bathroom for the portable marine toilet, and it will have to be taken ashore to be emptied. (https://www.practical-sailor.com/belowdecks-amenities/portable-marine-toilets-for-small-boats)

Cabin Cruisers adverts highlight the standing headroom feature as well as the separate bathroom. More points are scored if the boat has a separate shower. Because Cabin Cruisers are intended for longer stays onboard, these features are important, but they are just as welcome for the single overnight visit.

Holding tanks for wastewater are an integral part of the inventory on Cabin Cruisers, and the contents of these tanks will need to be discharged at dockside facilities.

Home comforts on Cabin Cruisers


A galley also separates the Cuddy from the Cabin Cruiser. Hauling an ice-filled coolbox onboard is one way of keeping things cool on board, but a fridge on board is far more comfortable. Dining alfresco around the griller is a great social event, but if you would like to sit down at the dinner table for a meal, I’m afraid the Cuddy Cabin will not provide that type of service.

So when it comes to ‘home comforts,’ the Cabin Cruiser has a greater selection of features, but you will need to weigh up which of them are important to you.


Answer : The requirement to have some qualifications to drive a boat largely depends on where you live. Some states have no qualifications required, while others insist on some qualification or attendance at a boating safety course. Many States have the requirement depending upon the age of the skipper. The US Coast Guard Captains License is a popular qualification but is not a legal requirement to operate a boat. It would be best to check with your local authority before venturing out on the water.

Answer : Because Cabin Cruisers have significantly more equipment, onboard their maintenance requirements are greater than the Cuddy Cabin. A significant issue is the maintenance required as a result of the boat staying in the water. Marine growth will have to be removed on an annual basis, and this will also involve docking costs if the boat is too big for a trailer. Cuddy Cabins can be housed at home, often in a shed or garage. The effects of the weather are minimized under these conditions, while the Cabin Cruiser floating at the Marina enjoys no such protection.

Answer : No matter the size of your boat, you will require special navigation lights on both Cuddy and Cabin Cruisers. The type of lights is dependant on the size of the boat. For boats under forty feet, port and starboard, lights are required together with a white stern light while underway and an all-round white light while at anchor.

Both the Cuddy and the Cabin Cruiser have many appealing features, and your choice of boat will depend mainly on the amount of time you intend to spend on the water. For day trips that may extend to one overnight passage, the Cuddy Cruiser will be great for two people; however, if you envisage longer passages, including more than a single night on board, the Cabin Cruiser’s appeal increases.

Similarly, the number of people on board also plays an important deciding factor. For two people, the Cuddy is cozy and intimate. Kids will love the Cuddy Cabin, and I know many parents who have converted the aft deck seating into two bunks and happily spend a night on the water with the kids safely tucked up in the ‘V; berth. That is great for a night providing the weather plays along, but for any more than two people, the space of the Cabin Cruiser is a significant drawcard.

Most boat owners spend a day on the water, and usually, this would involve using the deck seating. This seating is used the most, and deck space is often the deciding factor in choosing a boat. Remember that Cuddy Cabins diminish the amount of deck space because the’V’ berths have to be at least six feet long to accommodate one or two adults. The Cuddy Cabin is a great feature to accommodate sleepy kids or stow equipment and save you schlepping it on and off the boat every time you head out on the water.

However, if you are looking for more than that in terms of space or amenities, then the Cabin Cruiser with Headroom, galley, bathroom, and separate shower would make your time on the water so much more enjoyable.

For more interesting readings check out:

  • Top Pontoon Boat with Cabin Ideas
  • Amazing Pontoon Houseboat Tips and Ideas
  • Deck Boat vs Pontoon Boat: What’s The Difference?

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What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser

  • Thread starter yam350yfm
  • Start date Jan 16, 2009

Petty Officer 3rd Class

  • Jan 16, 2009

I am beginning to research small cruisers, 24 to 28 feet. I have boats in this range that are referred to as either "cabin", "express", "bridge", "sport", and "pocket" cruisers. I am not looking for the cuddy type, but something that a family of 4 could actually stay out on from Friday - Sunday. There are a couple of caveats: 1. Must be trailer-able (no more than 8.5 feet wide) 2. Mainly used in fresh water lakes ranging in size from 2,000 acres to the Great Lakes and the Mississippi river (maybe do sections of the great loop over time). I have no brand or style preference, just trying to understand what is out there and what the differences are. Considering boats from the mid-1990's and up. I have found some great advise on iboats previously with outboard repair. I am considering making the jump to something for weekending on and am seeking opinions as to what works, what doesn't, things to think about, etc. In the family we currently run the following: 12' aluminum with 5 hp 4 stroke 14' fiberglass skiff with 20hp 2 stroke 18' aluminum side console fishing boat w/115hp 4 stroke 19' fiberglass bowrider w/190 hp i/o 24' pontoon w/60hp 4 stroke  



Re: What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser I'm not sure on the differences of each specific one, but mine is called a cabin cruiser with a flying bridge. Two helms, one on the bridge and one in the cabin. The cabin has a full galley with stove, oven, microwave, fridge, and hot/cold pressurized water system. Head with shower and lavatory. Can sleep 2 adults and 4 children easy. 27.5' with 8' beam. Rear deck is 6X8, main cabin 12X8 plus the forward berth. Trailers easy, but needs a strong tow vehicle if I will be towing in hilly areas.  



Honorary moderator emeritus.

Re: What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser most of it has to do with the type floor plan, and space, also use of upper deck space.  


Vice Admiral

  • Jan 17, 2009

Re: What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser Take a look here- good definitions of various types... http://www.boats.com/news-reviews/article/boat-buying-for-absolute-beginners-part-iv Express Cruiser? An express cruiser is designed for overnighting with berths, a galley and a head forward, and a large open cockpit aft. Among the most popular form of cruiser, express cruisers range from 25 to 63 feet long. Best uses: day trips and weekend overnight cruises. Cabin Cruiser? Though the term isn't used as often as it once was, a cabin cruiser features a raised cabin with side windows. The helm is usually beneath a hardtop, and the cockpit is open. Amenities include staterooms, a head and a galley. They frequently are offered with two or even three cabins. Best Uses: weekending, extended vacation cruises in mild waters and as a dockside summer "cottage". A cabin cruiser can also have a flybridge (upper helm station). For a good example of each, google a Bayliner 2452 Ciera Classic. That's a traditional "cabin cruiser" design. Compare that to a new Bayliner 245, or the 1999 Chris Craft 240 Express I'm in the process of buying. Those are Express Cruisers. The only other basic type I can think of is a "cuddy cabin" cruiser, which generally has low interior headroom and just basic sleeping accommodations for a couple of people to crawl in out of the weather. The rest of the "types" you listed below are just marketing-hype names.  

  • Nov 7, 2009
JoLin said: Take a look here- good definitions of various types... http://www.boats.com/news-reviews/article/boat-buying-for-absolute-beginners-part-iv Express Cruiser? An express cruiser is designed for overnighting with berths, a galley and a head forward, and a large open cockpit aft. Among the most popular form of cruiser, express cruisers range from 25 to 63 feet long. Best uses: day trips and weekend overnight cruises. Cabin Cruiser? Though the term isn't used as often as it once was, a cabin cruiser features a raised cabin with side windows. The helm is usually beneath a hardtop, and the cockpit is open. Amenities include staterooms, a head and a galley. They frequently are offered with two or even three cabins. Best Uses: weekending, extended vacation cruises in mild waters and as a dockside summer "cottage". A cabin cruiser can also have a flybridge (upper helm station). For a good example of each, google a Bayliner 2452 Ciera Classic. That's a traditional "cabin cruiser" design. Compare that to a new Bayliner 245, or the 1999 Chris Craft 240 Express I'm in the process of buying. Those are Express Cruisers. The only other basic type I can think of is a "cuddy cabin" cruiser, which generally has low interior headroom and just basic sleeping accommodations for a couple of people to crawl in out of the weather. The rest of the "types" you listed below are just marketing-hype names. Click to expand...
  • Nov 8, 2009

Re: What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser Hi, Noel- I pm'd you with my e-mail address. Always happy to find another owner!  

Petty Officer 1st Class

Re: What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser <<...I am not looking for the cuddy type, but something that a family of 4 could actually stay out on....>> Family of 4...if that's 2 adults and 2 kids, the age of the kids may have some bearing on what to look for. Years ago we had an older 24' Searay with a flying bridge. The kids were about 8-11 years old, and loved using the covered bridge as a "fort" it gave them an area to play without being crowded together with adults so much for 2-3 days. The parents liked the break, too. ;-) Larry  

Petty Officer 2nd Class

Re: What are the differences between cabin cruiser and express cruiser If you are looking to overnight with 4 adults aboard, I would suggest the Bayliner 2655 or 265 as its called now. I have the 2452. (BTW, Bayliner valls it the Classic Express Cruiser) Its great for the two of us and maybe a family with 2 small kids. Not for 4 adults. The 265 is the largest boat with an 8.5' beam. It has an aft cabin and vee birth convertable to a dinet. I would also suggest getting camper canvas for it so when the bugs are out or its raining, you have all that deck space to combat "cabin fever" If its at all possible, look at the 2855 or 285. It has a lot more room. The vee birth and dinet are separate, so you don't have to roust someone out of the vee birth to sit with a cup of coffee. It a 9' beam, but the increase in interior volume is worth it. Towing: the 265 will be about 8K towing weight, and the 265 about 10K. These are real world numbers, not guestamates. The 8K is a no brainer for a SUV or 1/2 ton P/U with the H/D tow package. The 10K is not talking a 3/4ton truck . My 2452 tows out at about 7500 with 1/2 tank gas, etc. These boats are rather well built and heavy. But with a double or triple axle trailer, and disk brakes, its not that bad to tow.  

captharv said: If its at all possible, look at the 2855 or 285. It has a lot more room. The vee birth and dinet are separate, so you don't have to roust someone out of the vee birth to sit with a cup of coffee. It a 9' beam, but the increase in interior volume is worth it. Click to expand...

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Cruiser Yachts vs. Motor Yachts – What’s the Difference?

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

If you’re totally new to the world of yachting , you might be only vaguely aware of the different types of yachts available. We wouldn’t blame you. There’s a lot of overlap between these categories. That can make them seem just a bit arbitrary to the casual or novice boater. However, if you have some idea of what you desire out of your yachting experience, you will want to know the key distinctions between these types of vessels. So, you can make the choice that suits your wants. Here are a couple of major differences between cruiser yachts vs. motor yachts.

Note: you’ll likely find boats with different specifications than what you see below that would still be classified as either of these kinds of yachts. That said, we still tried to keep this as general as we could for your convenience. If you have any questions, ask the people who have all the answers at The Advantaged Yacht Charters .

Cruiser yachts are like the sports cars of the boating world. It’s not just the sleek and streamlined shapes or the at-times bold color choices: it’s also how fast they can go. Many cruisers can reach high speeds in the water, reaching 30 knots or even more. The smaller size and angular designs make them more hydrodynamic, which is perfect for adrenaline junkies. If your idea of an excursion is a high-seas adventure, cruiser yachts might be your style.

Of course, for many people, speed isn’t everything. I’m talking about people who picture being on the open seas as a way to kick back and relax, now that they are miles away from the pressures they find on land. Cruiser yachts tend to prioritize chilling out over cutting loose, so they tend to reach the relatively milder high speed of 20 knots. Ironically, this means that motor yachts may be more ideal for “cruising” than the actual cruisers!

How Much Room?

Another reason that motor yachts can’t go as fast as other kinds of yachts is also a major part of their appeal: they’re significantly larger. These kinds of boats tend to come with multiple heads and staterooms, but more space also means more amenities. You might find bars, spaces for eating, and lounging areas aboard a motor yacht. Do you remember when we mentioned earlier that cruiser yachts are like sports cars? It wouldn’t be too far off to say that motor yachts are the boating equivalent of stretch limos.

Cruiser yachts typically have less room for such features and fewer cabins. Still, what it lacks on the inside is made up for by the emphasis on what is outside; you may find more outdoor space on a cruiser, so you can enjoy that fresh sea air. Motor yachts may be a better vessel for a fancy dinner party. But, the cruiser yacht may be better suited for those who prefer bringing a cooler, grilling up, and casting out a fishing line with a few buds.

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Understanding the different categories of boats

There are many types and names given to boats such as: Cuddy, Open Deck, Center Console, Express, Express Cruiser, Cruisers, Sport Cruiser, Opens, Cuddy, Sedan Bridge, Flybridge, Sport Bridge, Aft-Cabin, Sports Cruiser, Cockpit Motor Yacht, Motor Yacht, Motor Yacht Pilothouse, Motor Yacht, Megayacht, SuperYacht, Sport Fish, Fishing Boat, Sport Express Fish, Fishing Convertible, Skylounge, Trawler, Fast Trawler, House Boat

There are no strict definitions, but tendencies accepted by all. We have chosen some photos to illustrate what a boat in this category would resemble, but always remember that there are several variants and some boats can easily fit into several categories.

OK, let’s start …

Cuddy Cabin : boat less than 30 feet with a small cabin at the bow of the boat. This small cabin is furnished with a large cushion only and perhaps a porta-potti toilet. Everything is pretty rudimentary.


Open Deck : boat less than 40 feet with the bow section offering easy access to a sitting area. Generally, there is a space for a toilet on the passengers side by the windshield. Everything is designed to accommodate friends and family for a day excursion, where comes the name, Day Boat.


Center console : boat powered by outboard engines, the whole boat is easily accessible, meaning that it is easy to move about the boat with a central cockpit.  Often a toilet is incorporated in the cockpit and often has a fabric bimini or hard top roof. With a higher freeboard that most boats in this length, it is a very versatile boat, very popular in the south of the United States. The Boston Whaler or Everglades Rugulator are a perfect match to this category.


Express : boat with inboard engine (s) with a fairly large cockpit and a cabin that allows comfort. It usually offers the possibility of sleeping 4-6 people and the cabin has a toilet in a closed compartment.  A galley with a microwave, a hot plate and sometimes a dinette area. The options of air conditioning, , hot water and a generator for comfort at all times is also available in a Express model.   This category also uses names such as: EXPRESS CRUISER, CRUISER, SPORT CRUISERS, SPORT YACHT and among Europeans: OPEN and FEATURED. The Searay Sundancer 33 or 48 correspond to this description.


FLYBRIDGE :  boat that has a helm above the interior cabin accessible from the cockpit by stairs or ladder that allows an improved vision while navigating but especially adds additional living space for all on board. Depending on the configuration of the main deck, there are several possible variations … The Azimut 53, 55, 60, 62 or Searay L510 Fly, for example, correspond very well to this description.


Sedan Bridge :   offers easy access to the cockpit area without the need to climb stairs as the cockpit is almost at the same level as the boat’s aft platform. A Sport Bridge can also offer this easy access and basically both the Sedan Bridge and Sport Bridge fit in the flybridge category.


Aft-Cabin : it is also a flybridge but there is a stateroom located on the stern of the boat.  This boat will require you to climb a small ladder or stairs to get access to the cockpit area and then again more steps to gain access to the helm.  The engine is found in the central part of the boat, usually below the living room floor. The Carver 456 or Meridian 408 fits this description.


Cockpit Motor Yacht : it fits into the same description as the Aft-cabin except that there is an area at almost the same level as the aft platform to embark onto the boat, much like a sedan bridge, but there are stairs or a small ladder to access the cabins and the cockpit. The engines are still under the living room floor. The Meridian 459 perfectly matches this description or the Carver 564. These are of course flybridges also.


Motor Yacht:  is a flybridge first and foremost, but a Motor Yacht when the boat attains a certain length. Sometimes we add the abbreviation M / Y to other descriptions, such as AFT-CABIN M / Y. In summary, several manufacturers add the letters M / Y as soon as the boat has engines. Not a precise category but what is certain is that it is a boat with engines.


Pilothouse : think of the Carver 56 Voyager for example, it is primarily a flybridge but with a well arranged helm in a section separate from the rest of the boat. Sometimes we mention RPH, for Raise Pilot House, when the helm is completely separate but above all raised above the main deck. This helm is not on the flybridge itself. Several European manufacturers offer this configuration for the helm, such as Ferretti and Sunseeker.


Skylounge : this is primarily a flybridge with a helm located on the upper deck like all flybridges except that the cockpit will be completely enclosed from the outside elements, ie protected from the sun and / or rain. Often mentioned as a fully enclosed helm, very comfortable with the air conditioning/heat, seats, sofa for people accompanying the captain. It really is another environment on board the yacht, usually there is a full bar, TV, etc.


Yacht : here we are talking about a boat greater than 50 feet, rather luxurious. It is a Motor Yacht that is at the top of the range. Often the Azimut, Princess, Sunseeker, Sanlorenzo, Ferretti, Riva, bear this name. The new Searay L series also fits this description.


Megayacht :  it is customary to refer to a megayacht when the vessel is over 100 feet and less than 200 feet in length but like the other types of boats, there are no rules. Normally the boat would have at least 3 decks including a sundeck.  The lower deck for the bedrooms, the main deck for the living room, galley, cockpit or additional small lounge, an RPH (raised pilot house), an upper deck with an enclosed and comfortable area.  The sundeck on the top deck for sun and sometimes a spa.


Superyacht : these are custom-made yachts for a very wealthy client. The value easily exceeds 80 million USD and can reach and exceed 500 million USD. It measures at least 200 feet and up to 500 feet. They often have a very large swimming pool, a heliport, 4 to 5 decks. In short, very luxurious yacht with crews of 15 to 30 people. Normally there are anyway from 3 to 6 rooms for 12 guests.  Sleep quarters for the crew are separate and ratio with the length of the vessel.


Sport Fish : fishing boats in this category include several types of fishing boats and depends on length.  One can qualify a 20-foot boat a sport fish but generally they exceed 30 feet. They are well built boats, strong and robust as they can handle an uneasy sea. They have very powerful engines. They are also called Fishing Boat. The most prominent of this category, to name a few, are the brands Viking, Bertram and Hatteras. They always have a helm on the upper deck and a very distinctive appearance.


Express Sport Fish : these are fishing boats without a raised helm but may have a TUNA TOWER.


Convertible Fishing : again, this is a Fishing Boat but with a very luxurious interior in line with a luxury Cruiser and even sometimes more luxurious than a Motor Yacht. Usually the Convertible will have the upper deck completely enclosed for more comfort. The helm on the upper deck is then merged with a full lounge with refrigerator and of course a bar. A class A yacht.


Tuna tower :  is a helm at the top of a stainless steel tubing structure to provide excellent visibility inorder to spot the schools of fish in the distance.


Trawler : a boat designed for long periods of navigation. The engine room is particularly functional, the different systems are very visible and above all are easy to maintain. The functional aspect is the priority of the manufacturer. The helm is also a highlight. Usually, it is easy to move around outside the boat (the bulkwalks are wide). Normally there is one engine and the maximum speed hardly exceeds 10 to 12 kn.


Fast Trawler : is a Trawler but speed performance of the boat is superior, in fact, the speed can reach and exceed 20 kn. Often, there will be twin engines.


House Boat : a boat that allows a lifestyle that is similar to floating cottage. It is usually mounted on a structure similar to a pontoon. The main deck includes the helm, galley, staterooms and bathrooms and often there is a roof terrace. This is not a fast moving boat but does allow for lots of room for entertaining and family life.  Some houseboats can reach over 70 feet in length.


Lobster Boat : originally built as a fishing vessel on the northeastern coast of the United States with the stern open so as to allow, for example, to easily access fishing nets or cages.  The bow of the boat was designed to tackle big waves as fishermen rarely have the luxury to wait for a calm day. Today, Hinckly for example, produce this type of boat in a more luxurious format.

Hinckley Picnic boat in Maine

There are also many other terms as the nautical vocabulary is quite elaborate and especially very adaptable. The same boat can be labeled differently and left up to not only the experience of the sales person but the clientele that the manufacturer is aiming.

Do not hesitate to contact the brokers at Ita Yachts Canada for any questions at 514-521-1221, we are at your disposal.

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difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

What’s the Difference Between a Cuddy and a Cruiser?

Recently, my family and I have been looking at upgrading our boat to either a Cuddy Cabin or a Cabin Cruiser, but we were not quite sure what the differences were between them.

Both have an enclosed cabin and similar profiles, but some had way more enhanced features and some were the bare bones basics.  Though they may look like cousins they are certainly very different boats altogether.

What’s the difference between a cuddy cabin and a cabin cruiser?  

Cuddy Cabins tend to meet basic needs and provide only a V-berth, a porta potty, and have minimal vertical space below deck.  Cabin Cruisers tend to surpass basic needs and have larger and more berths, a galley, a full marine head, plumbing, and lots of vertical space.

In the rest of this article, I’ll highlight the main differences that I’ve noticed along the way as we’ve shopped for the right boat for us, and hopefully it will save you some time!

Is there AC in Cuddy Cabins and Cabin Cruisers?

No, generally AC is reserved only for Cabin Cruisers.  Their layout below deck is designed to appeal to a relaxing experience and air conditioning is one of those features.

While the average adult can stand up inside the below deck of a Cabin Cruiser, Cuddy Cabins are vertically limited and there is barely enough room to sit up in bed once you’re below deck.  

From a design perspective, Cuddy Cabins were intended to function as storage areas that could also double as sleeping quarters with a little planning. The duration of staying overnight in one was intended to be limited.

Cabin Cruisers, on the other hand, are basically like a condensed basic hotel room below deck and the ability to comfortably overnight in them is mostly limited to your tolerance for sleeping in a watercraft.

Not all Cabin Cruisers come with AC, but there are plenty out there that do.  They are not difficult to find whatsoever. If you do find one with AC, you’ll need to know that they cannot be run with 12-volt power like that supplied by your marine batteries.  There is simply not enough energy.

You’ll need to run them off of 110AC power at the docks or bring a generator aboard with you.

Conventional generators can be obnoxiously loud, and if you’ve ever been on the water you know that sound seems to always carry and amplify across the surface.  Disturbing everyone on the water or docking area is not an option.

The quietest choice out there would be this  inverter generator seen here on Amazon.  Of course, be sure you check specs of your AC to see if they would be compatible, but these can generally run the AC units in RVs without an issue and are the most reliable ones on the market.

Cuddy Cabins can be outfitted with AC units in a DIY sort of way.  My research has mostly revealed household window units being used, but then there is the water dripping from the AC unit that becomes another issue.  

In general, I would leave the AC to the Cabin Cruisers and let the Cuddy Cabin serve its limited purpose.  

Both Cuddy Cabins and Cabin Cruisers have V-berths, right?  So what’s the difference?

It is true that both styles of boats will feature a V-berth (or for anyone new to boating – a V-shaped bed that contours along the narrowing of the bow).  However, a Cabin Cruiser will certainly have more room as it is generally a larger craft (25’-40’) than the Cuddy Cabin (18’-25’).

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

While Cuddies only have the single V-berth, it is not uncommon for Cruisers to have an aft berth (a bed in the back) as well.  You can easily have a family of 4-6 sleep overnight on a Cruiser, whereas a Cuddy will generally only take care of two adults overnight – assuming that no one decides to sleep above deck.

Both typically also have filler cushions that can be placed in the middle of the “V” for added width and sleeping room.  

The filler cushions on a Cuddy Cabin generally go on top of the porta potty which is situated right there in the bedding area.  Not the most pleasant of experiences and smells if there is an emergency “call of nature” in the middle of the night.

The filler cushions on board a Cabin Cruiser generally go on top of the table top insert and remain there throughout the night since there is an actual designated and enclosed marine head (bathroom) that is completely separate from the sleeping quarters.  

Do Cuddies and Cruisers both have a head (toilet) on board?

Like we just touched on, they do typically both have their own version of a head.  

Since Cuddy Cabins stick to the basics, they generally have only a portable toilet (porta potty) and it is located in the cuddy between the V-berth.  Generally, at the end of a trip, the waste tank must be manually removed and dumped on shore in a toilet.

difference between cabin cruiser and yacht

If you buy a Cuddy Cabin new, there is sometimes the option to have it fitted with dockside pump out for easier removal of waste at the dock or marina.  Keep in mind that this also limits your voyages to marinas that have such a station, whereas portable toilets have their advantage in that you can take them to any ol ’ toilet to empty them.

The head aboard a Cruiser is usually an enclosed head (has its own privacy door) and also has plumbing for dockside pump out.  You’ll sometimes find them with a sink inside, and a shower head that can be pulled out from the sink as well.

When it comes to envisioning the size of this head, I liken it to the size of a restroom on a basic camper.  Just enough room to get in and out, without much room to spare. Regardless, it’s enclosed, private, and separated from the sleeping quarters! If you’re looking for a nice-sized place to do your business, you can always upgrade to the Express Cruiser for a pretty penny!

Do Cuddy Cabins and Cabin Cruisers have Galleys?

I haven’t found a true Cuddy Cabin that has a galley in all of my research.  For anyone new to boating, a galley would basically be a small and very basic kitchenette.  The best I’ve seen on a cuddy is a small, freshwater sink.

Cabin Cruisers can sport variety of offers with their galleys and you’ll generally see Microwaves (110AC dock/generator power only), a stove top burner (alcohol for fuel), sink, a mini-fridge (12-volt or 110AC), countertop space, and storage cupboards.

What’s the Length Difference Between a Cuddy and Cruiser?

There is a little overlap, but generally, a true Cuddy will run 18’ to 25’, and a Cruiser will run from 25’ to 40’.  I have seen some nice Cruisers that were only 24’ and dwarfed a similar 24’ Cuddy in size when you looked below deck.

What is the Difference in Width between a Cuddy and Cruiser?

In nautical terms, the “beam” measurement is the width of the boat from port to starboard.

Generally, true Cuddy Cabins will fall under the 8’6″ threshold.  Many are 7’11” and 8’1″.  

Cabin Cruisers can also fall under the 8’6″ threshold as well, but as they increase in size from the smaller 24-25′ models, you can get a beam measurement of 11’+.  

The beam measurement is important for towing, since 47 states require a load permit if you exceed 8’6″ (a trailer wider than this counts as the same infraction).  States may also have laws regarding the widths when towing at night.  

What are the Weight Differences between a Cuddy and a Cruiser?

When looking at 24 different true Cuddy Cabins from 4 different brands between 18 and 25 feet, I saw weights as low as 1,990 lbs and as high as 4,175 lbs.  These were dry weights and included the engine but not the trailer.

generally, I’m not so much in the market for a Cabin Cruiser, but I did take notes on 8 of them that caught my eye in the 25 to 30 foot range and from 3 different brands.  They ranged anywhere from 3,640 up to 7,877 lbs. Again, these were dry weights with the engine included but not the trailer.

Beyond that, if you’re asking because of towing capacity, you’ll need to factor in fuel weight (6 lbs per gallon); water weight (8.34 lbs per gallon) of livewells , fresh water reserves, waste tanks; fishing tackle; tubing/skiing gear; the bimini; anchors; batteries; coolers (food and drink); electronics; safety gear; sleeping gear; cooking gear; etc.

With towing, you’ll also have to factor in the weight of a trailer and how additional axles mean additional weight.

  A trailer for a Cuddy will generally have 1 axle for boats 18-21′, and two axles for boats 21-24′.  Cruisers will have 2 axles on the short end but will likely have 3 for everything else on the spectrum.

If you’re wondering the weight for engine performance when you get in the water, you’ll also have to factor in the weight of each and every person and their personal effects that they bring on board.

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy cut-and-dry answer, but it’s safe to say that a Cabin Cruiser will weight more than a Cuddy Cabin, mostly due to the increased size and additional luxuries on board.

Robert Van Nuck

Robert lives in central Michigan and enjoys running, woodworking, fixing up small engines, and getting out on the water with family, of course! He is also the owner and author of homebatterybank.com.

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