POWER PROFILE: 2015 Premier 290 Grand Entertainer

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The Entertainer is designed to be a floating party.

By Steven Bull

As the pontoon market continues to grow, traditional boat makers are jumping on board to get a piece of the action. Then there’s Premier. Pontoons are all they’ve ever done, and they’ve been doing it well for more than 20 years –especially when it comes to luxury.

In the aptly named Grand line of Premier pontoons is the Grand Entertainer, along with the Grand Isle and Grand View.

The Entertainer is, just that, and is designed to be a floating party. As a former bartender I can confidently say the bar set up at the stern of the 29-foot boat is the real deal.

The four adjustable bar stools feature a stainless steel low backrest that is as much style as it is function. The cabana top and cup holders integrated into the bar itself are all LED-light accented.

I’m always a fan of a foot-rail at a bar and the Grand Entertainer has one. It also has cleverly designed hooks for purses or bags under the bar that fold flush when not needed. You’ll never have to leave them on the floor or, worse still, clutter the cocktail-ready to bar.

On the business side of the bar, you’ll find a small refrigerator/ice maker, sink, multi-sized bottle slots, paper towel holder, and plenty of room for condiments and entertaining paraphernalia.

Not only is there room for prep and presentation of cocktails and food, there’s a stereo control here too so DJ Bartender can run it all.

Whoever tends this bar could easily do with the honorific of “Grand Entertainer” themselves. Not only is there room for prep and presentation of cocktails and food, there’s a stereo control here too so DJ Bartender can run it all.

When it’s time to clean up, you can take the cutting board out of the sink – where it’s designed to fit for secure use or storage – and, on the glass fold-up cover slide a small dish rack into place for drying. Again, never cluttering the bar.

Throughout the boat is SeaGrass flooring with foam padding underneath, providing a luxurious balance of comfort and function. It feels a little like standing on one of those cushy shop floor mats, but you can hose it down easily.

The seating away from the bar, should you be able to wrest yourself away, is even cushier than the floor. A swiveling, reclining high-back bucket seat greets the captain, and with its twin directly opposite, your first mate can also travel in style.

At the bow are standard-style benches on both bow and starboard with a removable centre section should you want to access the forward gate. Here too is the expected storage under all seats and canvas privacy room with pump-out head option, but what Premier does differently is their hinging system. It allows the cushions to fold out and down, lying flush against the seat base with the cushy-side out. That means unobstructed access from the top and something soft but sturdy for your shins to press against as you load your gear.

And while this boat will serve nicely as a floating party pad or dock-extension, it’s a high performance machine, powered by twin 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2’s.

Yes. This is a 600-horsepower bar.

You’ll want your bottles and drinks secured in those holders because when you put the throttle down, you’re off. Remarkably fast, too.

In a centre console camera boat we could not keep up with the acceleration when shooting for BoatTest.ca and had to get a running start before the Grand Entertainer could punch it.

Quick acceleration and clever handling with the triple logs in the PTX performance package, along with lifting strakes, banking nicely while cornering. The centre log also features another uniquely useful Premier-design: the steps cut into the log that go deep into the water that also have a telescoping swim ladder at the bottom. They’ve managed to make getting out of the water luxurious.

And, as if not good enough, when you get back to the dock you can put this big boat exactly where you want it with the joystick controls.

If I could say one word to Premier about their 290 Grand Entertainer’s excellent design, impressive performance and stellar bar set-up it would simply be: Cheers!

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Steven Bull is an Associate Producer and Host of PowerBoat Television. He grew up boating on runabouts and PWCs on the lakes around Huntsville, while his wife grew up on cruisers. It only took months after getting married for Steve to adopt that lifestyle. Together, they purchased a Sea Ray 380 Sundancer they keep at the Toronto Islands. A graduate of the University of Windsor’s business school, Steve worked in the front office of OHL and CFL teams before moving to Europe and working as a Ski Guide in the French Alps. He returned to Canada get a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University (formerly UWO). Steve’s broadcast experience ranges from the BBC World Service in England, to business reporter with NTV in Kenya, and from 2010-2014 as a multi-platform reporter and host with CBC News. In 2014, Steve combined his passion for boating with his skills as a broadcaster by joining Lifestyle Integrated where he contributes to Boats&Places Magazine, BoatTest.ca, BoaterNews.ca, and of course, PowerBoat Television.

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