In the early 1990s, Tom Carroll, now President and CEO of Princess Yachts America, frequently traveled to Europe to explore new opportunities as Executive Vice President of Viking Yacht Company. On one of his trips to the Cannes boat show, Tom was intrigued by an impressive line of motor yachts built by a company named Marine Projects (Marine Projects would later become Princess Yachts Limited). Taken with the quality, style, and design concept of the Princess Yachts he saw, it wasn't long before Tom had met with the company principals and was invited to tour their manufacturing facilities in Plymouth, England. During his time spent in Plymouth, Tom discovered many similarities between this European company and Viking. Managed since its inception by founder David King, Marine Projects was a vertically integrated company that manufactured a majority of components in house and had a hands-on approach to design and manufacturing. Yet, it was a ride in the less than friendly waters of the English Channel that proved to be the convincing factor for Tom that these boats had a future in America if the right partnership could be created.
In 1995, the exclusive relationship between Viking and Princess Yachts Limited of Plymouth, England was forged and Viking Sport Cruisers was founded with the goal of bringing this exceptional class of luxury cruising yachts to the American market. Yachts sold as part of this unique strategic alliance carried the Viking Sport Cruisers brand, which was done initially to reinforce that the product was backed by the same solid foundation of customer service and attention to detail for which the Viking Yacht Company had come to be known. Beyond the brand, both Viking and Princess recognized early on that significant changes to design, engineering, systems, and even interior decor were needed to develop a yacht that would appeal to the American market. This meant redesigning interiors with more spacious accommodations. Appliances that carried a brand recognized for service and quality in America were shipped to Plymouth for installation on yachts in build. Interior decorators were hired to create an ambiance that American buyers would favor. Refrigeration was increased to accommodate extended cruising and air conditioning and generator system specifications were upgraded to counter the hotter climates of Florida and the Caribbean. Engine rooms were reconfigured to accept more horsepower to satisfy the performance requirements and speeds expected in what was becoming an emerging market for European styled cruising yachts in America. Electrical systems were designed from the ground up for 120/240V 60 Hz service to ensure each yacht could handle the increased loads required for safe operation of all systems and components installed on board.
A lot has changed since the first yacht built for Viking Sport Cruisers was produced in 1996. Models that have been introduced since then have not been simply redesigned or modified to meet the needs of the American market, rather, they have been designed from the start to incorporate the wants and desires of our growing customer base. Princess Yachts Limited has continued to make significant investments in new facilities, engineering, design, materials, and production techniques in order to continue to improve quality and consistency in each yacht they produce while allowing new models to be introduced to the market more frequently. This continual reinvestment has helped Princess develop a solid companywide infrastructure, expanding capabilities to build a worldwide reputation firmly founded on quality, craftsmanship, and technological advancement with an unparalleled focus on efficiency to deliver remarkable value in every yacht produced. In 2008, Princess became part of the exquisite LVMH family of luxury brands, which includes over 60 of the world's pinnacle companies best known for uncompromising quality. Some of these brands include Louis Vuitton, De Beers, Fendi, Moet Hennessy, and the Feadship Yacht brand acquired by LVMH later in 2008. In addition, the introduction in 2009 of the M Class range of yachts with initial offerings in the 32 meter (105') and 40 meter (132') range moved Princess into a new market with world-renowned super yacht builders.
In 2010, Viking Sport Cruisers and Princess Yachts Limited announced that, beginning with the 2011 model year, yachts built for North America, Central America, and the Caribbean would be branded as Princess, with Viking Sport Cruisers continuing as the sole distributor for these markets and providing the critical sales and service support for customers through its extensive network of dealers while maintaining the same high level of spare parts inventory in its New Gretna, New Jersey facility. This decision was made with a mutual recognition of the benefits of both companies working together to build a global brand, while acknowledging the foundation of success of
Viking Sport Cruisers in its approach to unparalleled support behind the product.
As part of our continued commitment to the Princess brand and our partnership, in 2013 Viking Sport Cruisers made the strategic decision to be recognized as Princess Yachts America in the market, and today we continue to bring an unparalleled level of customer care and service to every Princess yacht sold, delivered, and serviced in the United States, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and Venezuela. As we look forward to the future and continue to grow our Princess family in these markets, we remain focused on our goal of delivering an exceptional level of ownership comfort by providing quality support when needed to enhance the value of the yacht ownership experience to our customers.