July 3rd 2013. By Jeanne Craig.

MARQUIS 720 Portofino Edition

When Carver Yachts created the Marquis line, their goal was to produce an American boat that could compete throughout the world with the sexiest builds coming from Europe. And they met this goal with their most recent introduction, the 720 Portofino Edition.

If you’ve been following the boat business for a while, you might remember when Carver Yachts of Wisconsin decided to offer something bigger, something that could truly be called a yacht, and Marquis Yachts came into being. But instead of offering a larger boat that looked like, say, a Carver 34, or even a Carver 54 Voyager, the company went in another direction. It created a completely new line of yachts designed by a firm in Venice, Italy. The firm, Nuvolari Lenard, had worked with such Italian builders as CRN, Mochi Craft and Cantieri di Sarnico. The latest result is the Marquis 720.


Like its siblings (there are 11 models in the Marquis line) the 720 Portofino Edition looks like she’s come from the other side of the Atlantic. Those who are familiar with the brand also will notice she looks like another yacht in the family series, the 720 Flybridge Motor Yacht. But this is a different boat. Although it’s based on that design, it has unique features of its own, many of which were engineered to showcase another approach to allocating interior space.


A key change is the new single-level floor plan on the main deck, which allows passengers to walk from the cockpit, through the salon, into the galley and dining area, and then forward to the pilothouse without navigating a step. According to Marquis, the Portofino Edition is the only yacht in its class with a single-level main deck. But don’t get so focused on your footing that you forget to take in all of the upscale details here. The interior is a traffic-stopper with cherry hardwoods and premium wall coverings and fabrics. To take it up a notch, consider the optional interior package created by Valentina Zannier, lead designer Nuvolari-Lenard, which includes oak cabinetry, hand-laid Brazilian cherry flooring, handmade Italian leather furniture, and a crystal coffee table.


In the galley, just forward of the salon, granite flooring and countertops are combined with cherry cabinets to create a space that looks too good to cook in. But cook you will, as this open space has everything from a full-size range to a two-basin sink and Jenn Air refrigerator with full-size French door. An optional serving bar with sink and stowage can be located opposite the galley, on the starboard side.


Opposite the galley is the dining area with an ultraleather lounge and wood table that can seat up to eight adults. And there’s room for dinner guests to get comfortable, too. The space is roomy, and that could be because the Portofino Edition doesn’t have the interior staircase we saw on early versions of 720 Fly Bridge Motor Yacht. The absence of the stairs makes for an entertaining area that looks and feels more open. For access to the bridge, use the stairs in the cockpit.


The lower helm is an option, and a good one for those who want a protected place from which to run the boat in any conditions. It’s stylish, with premium Ralph Lauren carpet, an ultraleather helm seat, and a steering wheel with brushed aluminum rim and hub. From here, the captain controls the standard propulsion: twin 1,360-hp MTU 10V 2000 M84 inboards. Caterpillars are available also, and max-rated horsepower is 1,600. While there’s a good deal of standard equipment–including the patented Marquis Docking System with bow and stern thrusters that provide 507 pounds of thrust –there are some nice options too, including the SeaKey satellite-based security and concierge system, and Raymarine SportPilot autopilot with wireless remote control.


With three private cabins on the accommodations level, the Portofino Edition sleeps six, with the owner most comfortable in a full-beam master stateroom located amidships. In addition to the berth, there’s a sofa lounge, two walk-in closets and fixed hull windows, one with a 12-inch opening port. There’s an en suite head, as well, in which cleaning up after a long day of swimming and snorkeling will never feel so good. There’s a huge walk-in shower stall tiled in Spanish Emerador marble on the walls and floor.


In addition to the master stateroom and a VIP suite at the bow, there’s a third guest cabin located between the two (shown here). If you’re traveling with crew, Marquis offers crew quarters at the stern, and the space is well-planned and functional with a double berth, private stall shower and office area.


Up on the command bridge, there’s an ultraleather lounge for eight with table, a wet bar, and a standard electronics arch (a hard top with soft enclosure is an option). But we most like the helm because it’s offset to starboard so the captain has a better feel when nudging this yacht up against a piling. The big, wraparound dash is sized for a full suite of electronics, and the windscreen is stainless-framed and stout.


Another new feature on this model is the foredeck seating area that comes with a handcrafted teak table. It’s a good place to be when tied up at the dock, on the hook, or underway. When the sun sets, LED lights create a mellow mood. Access to the foredeck is from two wide sidedecks with bulwarks and rails for safety.


The Pilothouse Edition has looks that can hold their own when the boat rubs rails with European builds in international ports, but the 720 is built to be as stout as it is stylish. The fiberglass hull utilizes U.S. Navy-style construction with hull and deck plates forming an integrated structural element. It features a fiberglass-encapsulated high-density foam core below the waterline and end-grain balsa core above it. The hull bottom is molded with Knytex substrates and sandblasted in preparation for bottom paint, to ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish.

To some, Carver’s ambitious plans seemed like a pipe dream years ago. But here we are in 2013, and that series of yachts now boasts solid sales in the United States, Europe and even China. Marquis isn’t resting on its laurels, though. Throttling ahead with its plan to beat the Europeans at their own game, they continue to expand the line and debut new models, like the 720 Portofino.

SPECIFICATIONS: LOA: 72’5” • Beam: 19’1” • Draft: 4’11” • Displacement: 105,000 lbs. • Fuel capacity: 1,300 gal. • Water capacity: 200 gal.

For more information, visit Marquis Yachts.

View a list of Marquis yachts available for sale

Jeanne Craig
Jeanne Craig has been covering powerboats since 1988. She spent ten years as a senior editor at Boating magazine and ten more as executive editor at Motor Boating. She’s now an independent writer based in Rowayton, Connecticut, where she’s close to the cruising grounds she most enjoys.