After I had the opportunity to test the Premier 290 Grand Entertainer last year, I believed it had the coolest entertainment amenities of any pontoon. I was wrong. Why? I hadn't set foot aboard the optional 10 Wide version of this boat, which increases the beam from 8 feet, 6 inches to 10 feet, 2 inches. That extra width creates more wide-open space in the bow seating area. Kick back on the plush sofas to stretch out without knocking knees. The forward-facing reclining backrests were great for lounging.
Despite all that, the best seats on the boat have to be those surrounding the aft bar. With the wider beam, Premier added a fourth bar stool, increasing sociability. There are plenty of great features, including a bottle holder, refrigerator, stainless-steel stowage bins, a sink, paper-towel holders and more. Also new for 2013 is the Corian counter with colored inlay. The counter has stainless-steel cup holders and removable stemware holders to keep your drinks in place under way. The cabana sunshade keeps crew from baking.
Our tester boasted the PTX performance package with the 36-inch center tube. That tube has a 12-inch planing pad, and the outer tubes have lifting strakes that help it hit numbers more runabout than pontoon: 3.4 seconds to plane, hitting 30 mph in 8.4 seconds and topping out at almost 42 mph.