What we think: Making the move into a cruiser can be intimidating, especially when the boat is too beamy to trailer without permits and the general size becomes daunting at the dock. Doral makes the transition more natural with the new Venezia. By designing an expansive feel into the cabin space, they’ve created a vacation boat without a broad size that takes such skilled management.
Stepping belowdecks we walked into an open circular lounge in the forward section of the cabin; this replaces the traditional V-berth dinette found in most 26 footers when not being used for sleeping. It felt like we could easily move about, even with another person in the cabin. The aft cabin with privacy curtain can sleep two smaller passengers or one adult. The Venezia uses a Corian cover plate over the electric stove to make the galley large enough for unencumbered food prep, with storage areas above and below. The head has a built-in shower with a curtain and enough room for most passengers to stand up and freshen up.
We spent the other half of our test at the twin helm seat, which has a convertible backrest to form a rear-facing seat to join the L-shaped lounge. We felt no slippage or cavitation through a series of maneuvers. Our test boat came with a 5.7-liter Volvo, topping out in the low 40s after a long run up to plane. Serious buyers should look to spend more money for more power, as much for economical fuel burn at 35 mph as for top speed. Fewer stops at the gas dock would further lessen the intimidation from a step into the cruiser category.
Who should buy it: This should be a strong consideration for boaters moving into the cruiser category for the first time, or for those moving down in size to simplify boat management. The interior layout and accruements are high on the scale.
Vital Stats * Length Overall: 26’5″ * Beam: 9’4″ * Dry Weight: 7,000 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 75 gal. * Water Capacity: 30 gal. * Max HP: 380 * MSRP: (w/ Volvo 5.7 GXi DP): $113,510
* MerCruiser MX 6.2 MPI Seacore, Bravo 3 — $123,822
* Twin Cummins-MerCruiser 2.0 QSD, Bravo 3 — $155,379
* Twin Volvo D3-190 DP — $166,837
Also consider …
Moving up to the Intrigue gives buyers sleeping for six people and a big cockpit to entertain more than that at the marina.
Length (w/ platform): 37’6″
This model is set up for longer-range cruising for liveaboard owners or vacationers – it requires a larger investment and some form of marina storage.
- Round dinette in cabin: presented a much larger feel to the cabin, easy to access seating around dinette.
- Teak designed carpet: looked rich and different than plain colored carpet.
- Grab rail behind cockpit lounge seat for security of people standing on the swim platform.
- Murano glass shade on swivel light in cabin; very upscale looking.
- One level cockpit area.
Test Drive * Test Engine: Volvo 5.7 GXI DP 300 hp * Test Prop: F4 * Test Load: People (450 lb.), Fuel (40 gal.) * Top Speed: 42.4 mph @ 4,900 rpm * Time to Plane: 8.7 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 17 sec.