The all-new Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe was designed both for entertaining underway and at anchor, as well as to be a comfortable, stylish family cruising yacht. The manufacturer’s goal was to achieve more main deck space and functionality for all sorts of uses -- and, provide more space than any boat on the market in class.
One of the advantages of being the newest design in class is the opportunity to survey everything on the market and do them one better. With a main deck living and entertaining space of 157 sq. ft. (14.58 sq. m), a seating scheme that can be rearranged depending on the occasion, full standing headroom at the helm and a sleek, very Euro hardtop profile, the Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe has a lot to offer. Clever innovations make the boat quite versatile -- much more so than traditional express designs.
- Large cockpit/aft deck
- Moveable on-deck dinette seating module
- Sleek hardtop with large standard sunroof
- Forward cabin salon for maximum seating
- Sterndrive or IPS pod drive propulsion
- Sleeps 6 in two cabins
- Full beam master with love seat
- Large in-hull windows throughout
- Large engine room
Innovative Main Deck
The most distinguishing feature of the new Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe is her cockpit/afterdeck. This is where boaters spend most of their time, so this is where the yacht's designers decided to create something remarkably large and functional. There is truly nothing quite like it on the market.
Living Large. The 390 Express Coupe's 157 sq. ft. cockpit/afterdeck was made possible by means of several design decisions. First, the hardtop's windshield was moved forward 3'6" (1.06 m). By doing this the designers could give the boat full standing headroom at the helm and have far better visibility forward than we find on many Euro designs.
Second, instead of running the side decks outside of the afterdeck, it went full-beam with the space available between the gunwales and moved the steps to the side decks forward, just abaft the hardtop enclosure.
Thirdly, afterdeck seating has been moved all the way to the rear of the main deck and has eliminated the traditional transom bulwarks that inevitably push seating forward.
Two easy steps up from the swim platform, the main deck is all one level from the transom gate to the companionway steps. With the expansive, one-piece windshield pushed so far forward, this space feels bigger than its actual measurement. Open the sunroof and it seems ever bigger. The flow of the space is comfortable and can be easily rearranged at the aft seating area.
Two Decks in One
Unique is a word hard to apply to yachts, but we can honestly use it when describing the 390 Express Coupe's afterdeck. Because the port side L-shaped settee can be moved athwartships to create a huge U-shaped banquette with a passage way to the stern on the port side -- or, be moved outboard to the port bulwarks with the passage way aft on the centerline, this space has versatility we have never seen before on an express cruiser this size.
How it Works. By the lifting of one locking pin at the deck, on the port side seat, the entire L-shaped assembly effortlessly glides to the center of the cockpit to meet up with the starboard side seating. Once in place, the locking pin engages into the deck and now a U-shaped seating arrangement has been formed, in seconds. There is no visible track or rail in the deck to trip over or get fouled with water and debris. In either position the afterdeck looks as if it were designed that way as nothing looks temporary or improvised.
Dual Entertainment Modes. With both L-shaped settees pushed out to the yacht’s bulwarks, the afterdeck is entered through low transom gates on the center line. For a cocktail party, the table to starboard can be lowered. Some guests will enjoy sitting there with their drinks easy at hand. Others will prefer sitting to port where they can get up and move around more easily to mingle.
The wet bar counter is polyethylene faux wood that eliminates maintenance and looks remarkably good due to the realistic grain pattern. This console can be optioned-out to fit each owner’s individual life style or entertaining needs.
Al Fresco Dining. Anyone who has been to waterfront marinas in the Mediterranean knows that Europeans love to have dinner with a large number of friends and family on the aft deck of their yacht with the stern facing the quay. In this way, they can keep an eye out for passing friends and be seen as well by passersby. There, it is a sundown ritual that adds great value to the European boating experience because of the fellowship and bonhomie that good food and wine engender aboard an elegant yacht.
The Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe was made for just his sort of evening-dining scenario. By moving the port L-shaped settee to starboard, and opening the leaf on the all-weather table and the addition of two folding chairs, 8 people can comfortable sit on the afterdeck.
Port Side Access. Access from the stern is to port between the seating and port bulwark. This makes it convenient for guests to board without interrupting those who have already seated themselves. Typically, it would take a boat at least 50’ (15.24m) LOA to seat these many people on the aft deck in comfort for dinner.
A Moveable Feast. Depending on the formality of the occasion, fresh fish or burgers can be prepared on the optional grill under the wet bar counter, or dinner might come from the full galley below -- or catered, for that matter. Families will like the versatility of the arrangement as well. Perhaps the starboard side seats and table will be used for a light breakfast and coffee in the morning. Lunch may be served picnic-style at anchor or underway in either configuration depending on the number of people aboard. Dinner can be served here or below, depending on weather or whim.
Sun Bathing Fortissimo
The seatbacks of the two settees can be electrically powered down horizontally to create a huge sun bathing pad. With the addition of a filler cushion, when the two seating modules are together, one giant sun bathing playpen can be created to rival anything available in the Mediterranean no matter what size the boat.
The Bow Pad. Everyone should get a healthy dose of vitamin D aboard the 390 Express Coupe and not just on the stern sun pad. Like most boats in class, the 390 can be equipped for sunning on the foredeck when at anchor and access there is easy from the aft deck. But, there’s more…
Largest Sunroof in Class: The hardtop comes standard with a canvas sunroof operated by a control toggle at the helm. At 42 sq. ft. (3.90 sq. m.), it baths the helm deck in sunshine. The sunroof sits in a channel in the hardtop frame and is retracted by a motorized system that neatly folds the canvas and stows it in the aft section of the hardtop.
When the top is opened, it gives the feeling that the entire top has been retracted, like a convertible top on a car, because it goes so far to the edge of the coupe roof. The builder tells us that this is the largest sunroof in class.
The portside companion seat is made for sunning as well as lounging in the shade or facing forward. It is fully under the open sun roof and a sun worshiper can sit facing forward or aft. When not in sunning mode, this seat can handle two people comfortably underway – one seated upright facing forward and one in the chaise position facing aft, or sitting upright facing the captain.
The Hardtop Design
The Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe is built for the world market, not just the U.S. For that reason her design, styling and functionality must be accepted all over the planet -- and be perceived as attractive by boaters with different cultural backgrounds. Europeans prefer a sleek profile with a windshield approaching the 17-degree rake of the famous Lamborghini Gallardo. While Cruisers Yachts hasn’t gone quite that far, the rake of her windshield is about 20-degrees, noticeably less than most American boats her size.
Standing Headroom. Many boaters all over the world like to stand at the helm of their express cruiser, as well as sit, and for that reason it became imperative that the 390 Express Coupe have both full-standing headroom at the helm with excellent visibility forward while standing. The builder accomplished this feat by moving the windshield 3.5’ (1.06 m) forward. In that way, the hardtop of the 390 could have both a sleek profile and full standing headroom.
Cockpit Enclosure. Optional canvas and isinglass enclosure is easily installed and removed from the track system that encompasses the whole super structure from the windshield area, aft. When all buttoned up the forward cockpit area can be completely climate controlled. Cruisers Yachts uses durable plastic channels both on the side isinglass windows and on the after curtains as well. We like this system because it makes it easy and quick to install and minimizes the number of snaps. We particularly like the sliding aft isinglass door.
Placement of Foredeck Access Steps. The foredeck access steps have been moved forward, to midships, allowing for a full beam cockpit seating and entertaining area. Transitioning from the cockpit to foredeck is made easy with side decks that measure 10” (25 cm) wide on deck. However, because the cabin sides are angled in as they rise to the coach roof and the safety rails are angled out, there is plenty of hip room for even portly men to pass along this deck. The bow rails are 25" (63 cm) high.
The Helm Deck
Helm Seating. The helm is designed for both the operator and a companion and has a double, richly upholstered seat, with attractive, contrasting stitching. The soft seat slides fore and aft. A foot rest flips down from the seat base and extends a few inches off the deck. Forward in the helm console there is an angled foot rest. All of this makes the helm seating comfortable and practical for both the operator and a companion.
The helm console itself is ergonomically designed with both the throttle and joystick easy at hand whether facing forward or aft. A raised instrument console has room for two navigation screens and is richly detailed in dark , simulated leather vinyl which has classy stitching. The steering wheel itself is stainless steel wrapped in leather and is a work of art. Perhaps most important, the console for the navigation screens is not so high as to impede forward visibility for a short person.
Full-Front, One-Piece Windshield. One of the critical areas of yacht construction on an express design such as the 390 Express Coupe is joined where the roof structure meets the upper edge of the windshield. When underway and going through wakes, we kept an eye on the fixed frame and hardtop super structure to see if it would sway or shimmy a bit when encountering some rough water. That never happened. The hardtop is strong and well designed with the supports in the right places and most important, not particularly intrusive in the line of sight for the operator.
For years, Cruisers Yachts has built aft decks with moveable seating modules. With the new 390 Express Coupe we think they have finally perfected the concept in the largest moving seat module ever. From the perspective of the stern it looks attractive and natural whether the seats modules are in the port passageway or center-opening position.
The height of the swim platform is close to that of most floating docks, and with the platform extending beyond the bulwarks it is easy to step aboard. Likewise, the two low step risers makes entrance to the aft deck easy for both kids and grandparents. A shower wand is concealed in the port gunwale away from the shore power connector which is in the starboard dunnage box.
Faux Teak. As noted in the photo above we were particularly taken by the faux teak treatment on the stern storage boxes which is made by SeaDek. The material is Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) which has excellent resistance to UV radiation, in addition to having stress-crack resistance, and a remarkably pleasing texture and feel. Not surprisingly, it costs 25% more than standard vinyl decking, but it seems certainly worth it.
We tested the Cruisers Yachts 390 Express Coupe on a sunny day with a 10 knot breeze out of the west and a slight chop in semi-protected fresh water at an altitude of 577' (176 m). The 390 Express Coupe has a 39' (11.9 m) LOA, with a 12'8" (3.9 m) beam, a 16-degree deadrise at the transom, and a total tested weight of 21,365 lbs. (9,691 kgs.).
WOT Speed. The boat was powered by twin 430-hp MerCruiser 8.2 L Big Block gasoline engines driving through Bravo III sterndrives. The boat was equipped with the Mercury Axius joystick. At wide open throttle we were turning 4800 rpm and we recorded a top speed of 42.3 mph, burning 73.12 gph.
Best Cruise was found at 3500 rpm where we traveled at 27.8 mph and burned 35.7 gph for a range of 161 statute miles. In the test conditions we had we could let her rip because the ride was so comfortable. At 4500 RPM she went 39.0 mph. Range at best cruise is 161 statute miles which means the 390 was intended for local cruising.
Conversely, for those who like to smell the roses, at 1500 RPM she went 8.6 mph and burned 7.5 gph. That gives her a range of 236 statute miles.
The twin MerCruiser 8.2 MAG, Big Blocks had no problem getting the 390 Express Coupe up and on her way when we opened the throttles wide. When getting on plane we were surprised that she only had a bow rise between 8 and 9 degrees. When firmly on plane she had a running angle of 5-degrees and a small amount of trim to the drives got her settled into the groove.
Waves Bow-On. She was responsive to the controls and stable when maneuvering at speed. We took advantage of our camera boat’s wake a few times to see how she would handle the waves. The camera boat was the Cruiser Yachts Cantius 54 45 Cantius and she throws a hefty wake when hooked up and we put the 390 Express Coupe into the wake at a few different angles. Taking the wake on the bow was smooth as the 390 sliced right through them without any jarring.
When we took the wake on the beam, she was stable and well seated in the water, without much roll. When we took her through some confused seas in a tight turn at speed, she quickly settled down, providing a stable experience.
A solid Feeling. While it does not really come under the heading of "handling", one of the things that we particularly noticed when we were trying to get her to pound was how solid she felt -- and sounded. In some boats this size going 39 mph there can be a definite "crash" even in seas as low as two feet, but we did not hear or feel any such thing when we were driving through the photo boat's wake. The windshield stayed dry at all times.
Hull Design. The hull was designed by Donald L. Blount and Associates, which is one of the most respected naval architects in the recreational boating business. Blount and Associates have designed thousands of hulls from 20' all the way up to superyachts. In fact, some of the fastest large yachts ever built have been Blount designs.
This naval architectural firm has also been on the forefront of designed hulls for IPS pod drive boats. While the 390 Express Coupe we tested had sterndrives, diesel Volvo Penta IPS pod drives are available as an option and the hull has been specially designed for them.
16-Degree Deadrise. As noted above the bottom has a 16-degree deadrise at the transom. This is an important number as its not as deep as some in class which means that she should be more stable at rest and be more fuel efficient and, perhaps, slightly faster. Remember, the 390 is not an ocean racing powerboat which will be coming completely out of the water, so for that reason she does not need a deep-V in the stern. This is a detail consumers should understand when buying a yacht of this size and type.
Standard: Gas: Twin; Volvo Penta V8-380CE, 380-hp, DuoProp, EVC, with Joystick Control.
Optional: Gas: Twin; MerCruiser 8.2 MAG, 380 hp, Bravo 3X stern drives, Axius Joystick Control, SeaCore Anti-Corrosion System
Virtually all express coupes in this size range have permanent island berths forward, and a mid cabin above the companionway and a galley and settee with table, galley and head in between. The only question is whether the settee is to port or starboard. Cruisers Yachts has another solution, and after seeing it, we wonder why this hasn't been created more often in this size express.
Entertaining Below. Bearing in mind that one of the primary missions of this boat is entertaining, this builder quite rightly decided that a lower settee with table that seats three comfortably was not very functional, in addition to me just more me-too. What it has done was to simply banish the concept of an island berth -- which in this size range is often high, narrow, and impractical -- from the boat.
A banquette seating booth around a faux wood table that creates a convivial atmosphere, or a romantic venue, or whatever the occasion demands. Think Russian Tea Room, Sardi's, the Brown Derby, or a local waterside snuggery with low light and high times. Putting the salon in the bow of a boat is not a new concept, and it has been done for years in smaller powerboats and in sailboats this size quite effectively. So, the concept has already been proved. Now, Cruisers Yachts will prove it in a 39-footer express coupe.
There are several things going on in the bow that add utility that are worth mentioning. First, the seating is comfortable with inclined back rests rather than straight ones. Second, The banquette seating includes a comfort seat on the centerline in the bow making it possible for five or six people to have lunch or dinner here with adequate elbow room.
In the hull sides there are four safety glass windows that are remarkably large. This is one of the distinguishing features of the boat. In our test boat they were half obscured because of the Pullman berth arrangement, but without that option they are huge and -- make sitting below while underway a whole new experience. One of our crew sat below while running out to the testing grounds and was amazed at the amount of visibility forward.
Windows on the World. Imagine sitting there for dinner in an anchorage and being able to watch the latest arrival, and the anchoring fire drill while munching on lunch or dinner, or sitting there curled up with a good book during a summer rain shower.
Our test boat had all walnut joiner work, doors and bulkheads. This dark wood gives the interior an elegant look and feel. Above the windows were walnut cabinets port and starboard which put the bow flare to good use. The deck in the test boat had walnut Amteco vinyl decking which is used these days by many of the top quality boat builders. It is much easier to maintain and less costly to repair than real wood.
The table, just like the one on the afterdeck is made of a specially-made hard resin that has wood grain that is difficult to tell from the real thing. The whole boat is intended to be low maintenance and it starts right with the faux "wood" tables.
Of course, this table lowers in order to make a large V-shaped bed. Our test boat was fitted with port and starboard optional Pullman berths. The bed platform are the seat backs which swing up. It is in this configuration that a family, or even an extended family can do some fun summer cruising. For example, mom and dad can sleep in the mid cabin, and the four kids, or two kids and their friends can all sleep forward.
An alternative scenario is a 390 Express Coupe owned by the grandparents. Four grandchildren, or children and grandchildren can sleep forward as the baby boomer grandparents sleep aft. We like all of the possibilities the Pullmans provide, with the only downside being they partially cover the forward windows.
Mid Cabin Master Stateroom
Our test boat had the optional aft bulkhead installed which gives privacy to those in the mid cabin. However, we can understand why a cruising couple or a young family might want the whole boat open below. In this case the companionway stairs will be a “lilly pad” design that keeps the boat open, making it appear larger.
The Master Stateroom
On the test boat the mid cabin had its own optional bulkhead and privacy door. Upon entering we found full standing headroom by the door (6'10"/2.1 m) and 6'1" (1.85 m) in front of the love seat on the port side. Beside the bed the headroom drops down to 51" (1.30 m) which should not be a problem since changing clothes will be done in front of the love seat.
Queen Bed. Once again the builder has made use of the large windows in this full beam master cabin, and again the space is filled with light. But now the owner and companion can prop themselves up in bed (the overhead is 34.5"/ .87 m) and look out the windows to the outside seascape. The bed itself is a full-size queen, 60" x 80".
The port side galley has a two-burner glass stove top with a refrigerator below and a microwave oven above. Forward the counter lowers slightly and there is a round, deep stainless steel sink with trash container below. Above the counter are relatively deep cabinets, all finished in the same dark walnut.
All of the doors and joiner work had a satin matt finish that was remarkably executed. The reason is that the doors and panels are not only sanded and carefully varnished, but they are then placed in a special oven where they are cured. This is one of the techniques that make Cruisers Yachts joinery so attractive.
Across from the galley is the head with full standing headroom. It has two main features rarely seen in 39’ (11.9 m) boats –1) A remarkably large window just above the on counter wash basin; and, 2) a separate shower stall with bi-fold glass doors and top-grade stainless steel hardware.
The solid surface counter is white and the cabinet joinery work is of the same walnut that we see throughout the boat.
The engine room is reached through a hatch in the afterdeck and an inclined ladder that is easy to negotiate. As we entered the engine room the first thing that we noticed was how much extra room there was. Our test boat was equipped by twin MerCruiser 8.2 L sterndrives, so the engines were up against the transom. Because the boat has been designed to also handle Volvo Penta IPS pod drives which require that the engines be placed farther forward, that extra space was now available for other things.
Engine fluid checks were handy and fills as well as filters were at the front of the engine within easy reach. The optional Kohler "Ultra-Low CO" 7.3 kW generator was mounted under the ladder. This is a catalyzed generator and therefore is safe from carbon monixide. All battery switches are also at the bottom of the ladder.
When it comes to entertaining, the 390 Express Coupe has a compelling story both in terms of versatile seating for cocktail parties and dinner both on deck and below. When it comes to sunning, she is without peer. The seats on the stern will be a welcome place for adults to sit when children or grandchildren are swimming off the stern. Everyone will like the sunroof, even if it is only to close it up for shade.
Below, the 390 Express Coupe is about as commodious as they come in this size. We particularly like all of the large windows as it makes being below so much more fun. The separate shower stall, the love seat in the master, and its considerable headroom are all a bonus in a 39-footer.
For those with big families the Pullmans are a wonderful sleeping solution. Grandparents should consider this option as kids will love it. Otherwise, we could do without them in favor of getting full benefit of the four large forward-facing windows.
Her Performance Speaks for Itself. The joystick plus the performance numbers make a compelling case for the gas sterndrive engine options. Most Europeans, of course, will want diesel, but the boat won't go as fast with them.
Overall we think that Cruisers Yachts has succeeded in building a 39’ (11.9 m) express cruiser that is big and has a lot of utility. In fact, we think that most people will need nothing bigger for day boating and local cruising.
Click on the below image to view the video review by Boat Test.