Best Cruisers – Unbiased Review

Best Cruisers of 2017

The market for new Cruisers has been devastated since the “Great Recession” of 2008/2009. Part of the reason is the price but another contributing factor is the growth of the pontoon market. Pontoons can hold as many or more people than a typical cruiser and have many of the same creature comforts – all for a much more affordable price.

But, there are certain situations where a Cruiser is still the best choice. If you intend to boat on a large body of water such as the Great Lakes or in the ocean, then a cruiser makes much more sense. A pontoon simply wouldn’t hold up well in really high rollers. Another situation is if you intend to take your boat on extended trips with overnight stays. A cruiser allows you to carry your hotel room with you – much like a RV. Finally, if things like an onboard head are important to you, then a large bowrider or cruiser may be just the ticket. While pontoons often have porta-pottys (typically tucked into the changing room), they don’t afford much privacy and therefore are rarely used.

If the above conditions pertain to you and you are in the market for a Cruiser, then we can help you with your search of boat brands. We surveyed 28* current Cruiser owners to find out which three brands they would most likely consider if shopping for a new boat. Below is a recap of the favorite brands selected.

BEST CRUISERS

Q. Based on what you know today, and considering your needs and budget, please indicate which brands you would most likely consider purchasing (choose up to 3)

CRUISERSTOP BRANDS CONSIDERED
SEA RAY61%
REGAL36%
RINKER25%
CARVER21%
FORMULA18%
FOUR WINNS18%
CHAPARRAL14%
CRUISERS11%
HATTERAS11%
LARSON11%
MONTEREY11%

REASONS FOR SELECTING FAVORITES

SEA RAY

Probably the strongest name in ALL pleasure boats is Sea Ray. And Cruisers have historically been the company’s “bread and butter”. However, that all changed with the collapse of the cruiser market. And, I suspect Sea Ray is not expecting it to rebound anytime soon. Brunswick recently announced that it intends to sell the Sea Ray brand. Regardless, the Sea Ray name remains very strong and is synonymous with quality and customer service. Something that I don’t anticipate changing – no matter where the brand eventually ends up.

“Quality built and good service from the dealer.”

Dick S., Joplin, MO
  • “Quality built and good service from the dealer.” (Dick S., Joplin, MO)
  • “I’ve had one before and liked it. Easy to get parts.” (George K., Massapequa Park, NY)
  • “Quality.” (Ted C., Marietta, Georgia)
  • “Quality, Amenities, Propulsion.” (Tom R., Charleston, SC)
  • “Overall quality and price.” (Steven A., Lithia, FL)
  • “Manufacturer support.” (PAUL B., Sanford, FL)

REGAL

In contrast to Sea Ray, Regal is a smaller, family run business and has always been so since its founding in 1969. The Regal brand likewise enjoys a reputation for quality (which, is really a prerequisite for this type of boat) but is perhaps considered a little more affordable than a Sea Ray.

  • “Overall Regal fulfills all my needs with my current budget.” (Karen S., Roscommon, MI)
  • “Styling and price point.” (anonymous)
  • “Because I currently own a Regal with my husband and I absolutely love it!” (Patty N., Longmeadow, MA)
  • “Design and layout.” (anonymous)

RINKER

Rounding out the top 3 is Rinker, a more value-oriented brand that still offers respectable quality. If price is a major consideration, then Rinker is a brand to consider.

In many ways, buying a cruiser is much like buying a house. Not only can there be big differences in quality, but the layout can vary considerably from brand to brand. Therefore, it is important to explore many brands to find the one that suits your taste and budget. The list of eleven brands above is a great place to start and you can find out more about each of these brands by checking out our comprehensive directory of cruiser manufacturers.

* A sample size of 28 is less than desired but is partially a function of the small size of the cruiser market. If you have friends who own cruisers, please invite them to join the boaterinput community to enable us to provide more detailed information in future studies.

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