The new Cruisers Yachts 34GLS is the latest iteration of the popular GLS series from Cruisers Yachts, which persists in claiming that GLS stands for Grand Luxury Sport. But I like to think it stands for Great Little Ship. This yacht defines family fun—if you look up “family fun” in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of the 34GLS. Well, not really, but you get the idea.
The 34GLS is aimed at day outings and occasional overnight adventures, and it has enough speed (45 mph) with twin Mercury Verado outboards to satisfy all the towed water-toy needs.
Outboards generally preclude a usable transom platform, but the 34GLS has two “wings” extending alongside the engines as well as a comfortably wide walkway forward of the outboards, with all the plumbing and connections hidden so no one will trip. Like the rest of the cockpit, the area is covered with SeaDek for a cushy nonslip surface.
Interior and Accessories
The cockpit seating is offset to allow a rear-facing seat to port, the outdoor galley console, and a settee with a back that flips to become either a companion seat or aft-facing lounge. To starboard is an L-shaped settee, also with a flipping back for facing aft or forming a sun pad when folded flat. Cruisers gets credit not just for two perfectly finished tables (standard), but also for providing dedicated stowage (in a bag for varnish protection).
The mini galley includes a sink, but be sure to order the optional grill, fridge or ice maker for serious outings, and maybe even the fridge drawer under the helm seat. A standard fiberglass hardtop covers the cockpit, and our boat had both the optional SureShade to stretch the sun protection and an opening sunroof.
The skipper gets a well-arranged throne with a bench seat (adult-plus-kid size), and a Simrad electronics package with twin 9-inch displays in an eyebrowed dash to prevent reflections.
The bow seating is via a passage to port, with a closing windshield and wind door to protect the cockpit. This is an area where parents worry, but Cruisers made the coamings high at 33 inches. The cockpit is even deeper at about 40 inches for safety.
There’s nothing unusual forward, with wraparound seats, a pedestal table that becomes a sun pad, and a 48-quart cooler. The forward-facing seats have flip-down armrests with beverage holders. The windlass ($7,355) tucks under a flush foredeck hatch, with push-button controls at the helm and at the bow.
Going below, I was impressed by the sliding screen door and usual fiberglass door. One night of dodging no-see-ums and you’ll also appreciate them. Cruisers managed to jigsaw all the important things into the living area, with a pair of settees that convert to a 77-by-48-inch double berth using the dining table, and our test boat had the optional fridge and microwave for morning coffee. A second cabin is just aft, with a single 6-by-3-foot berth tucked athwartships—perfect for a kid or mother-in-law.
A strong selling point for the 34GLS is the enclosed head with a Dometic electric flush toilet, and a counter with a vessel sink and Euro faucet. It’s a wet head with a wraparound shower curtain, a shower wand, and an opening port to vent the steam.
Cruisers also gets points for paying attention to details, such as the fully finished lockers. Lift a hatch and you find all the plumbing carefully secured and labeled in a white-finished bilge for easy cleaning. A sump handles the shower and sink so soapy water doesn’t go into the bilge, and Cruisers doesn’t cut any corners on construction with the 34GLS. The all-fiberglass hull is reinforced with rot-free foam and glass stringers, plus numerous molded sections for monocoque strength. I was also impressed by the deep gutters in the deck hatches, which should easily handle enthusiastic washdowns or downpours without water leaking belowdecks.
Our test boat had the standard Merc 300 Verados with Joystick Piloting, but you can up the ante to 350, 400 or even 450R outboards if you have a need for speed. For the Great Lakes, the 34GLS can also be fitted with Volvo Penta or MerCruiser sterndrives up to 350 hp each, but you’d lose the immense utility room under the cockpit sole. With outboards, that cavern can handle a 5 kW Kohler diesel generator, although our 34 boasted the inverter ($6,740) that can power the air conditioning ($6,235) for up to six hours.
The 34GLS has hydraulic trim tabs as standard, but the boat came up flat and fast during our test without needing a nudge from the tabs to get onto plane. Because we ran flat at speed, I suspect the tabs are there to balance the boat when Aunt Edna parks to one side.
The bottom was designed by Ocean Five naval architects, a growing force in production boats, and it sliced neatly through wakes and chop with its 21-degree transom deadrise without throwing spray everywhere. The 34GLS is fun to drive too, and the skipper is going to have people lined up saying, “My turn, my turn!”
If you’re looking around, check out the Scout 350LXZ ($551,000), which is a foot shorter but offers triple outboards.
Whether you’re entertaining a bunch of friends or getting away for a lazy weekend, the Cruisers 34GLS fulfills the promise of grand luxury sport; even better, it’s also a great little ship.
How We Tested
- Engine: Twin 300 hp Mercury Verado V-8s
- Drive/Prop: Outboard/16″ x 16.5″ Enertia 3-blade stainless steel
- Gear Ratio: 1.85:1 Fuel Load: 200 gal. Water on Board: 0 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb
- Immense finished stowage throughout, including for large items such as fenders.
- Clearly labeled and user-friendly dash, with shifter and throttles, joystick, and trim-tab controls in the armrest.
- Wide walkway to the bow from the cockpit with high coamings.
- Deep hatch gutters with rubber seals and double drains.
- Needs more handrails for moving around the cockpit safely, and the strange knee-high rails on the seats are too low.
- Getting into the aft cabin past the stairs requires a bit of wiggling.
Pricing and Specs
|$505,840 (with test power)
|Max Cabin Headroom:
|Mercury outboards to 450 hp, MerCruiser or Volvo Penta sterndrives to 700 hp total
Speed, Efficiency, Operation
Cruisers Yachts – Oconto, Wisconsin; 800-743-3478; cruisersyachts.com