Many dream of a life on the water, and the only way to make that dream even better is to bring the ones you love. When choosing a catamaran for you and your family, you’ll want to look for something with large living areas. that is very safe and well suited for your type of sailing. But where do you begin?
The 16 best cruising catamarans for a family are:
- Bali 4.1
- Catana 50
- Fountaine Pajot Astrea 42
- Fountaine Pajot Helia 44
- Gunboat 68
- Hudson Powercat 56
- Lagoon 440
- Lagoon Sixty7
- Leopard 53 Powercat
- Manta 42
- Nautitech 47 Power
- Outremer 5X
- Privilege Signature 510
- Prout 50
- Seawind 1600
- Fountaine Pajot Victoria 67
In the rest of this article, I will give you details on each of the best brands and models of family-sized catamarans and discuss why each one is ideal for family cruising. In addition, I will discuss what to look for in a family catamaran and what factors to consider before buying a cruising boat.
Best Catamarans for Family Cruising: Buyer’s Guide
Catamarans are motor or wind-powered boats set apart by their build structure: they have two hulls instead of one. This design choice makes the boats more stable and secure in windy and rough conditions and reduces the boat’s rocking.
Great for long or short cruises with your family, and the best catamarans all have one thing in common: the quality of the build. Each of the brands on this list has mastered the art of building durable and safe catamarans that stand up to years on the water.
Below, I’ll go over a few key points that will make all the difference to you and your family for cruising in comfort.
What To Look For in a Family Catamaran
If you’re looking at a catamaran specifically for cruising with your family, be prepared to do a lot of research. It’s a significant investment, and to ensure you buy a boat that fits your family’s specific needs, try and consider all of the factors that change with each brand and make of catamaran.
As you look around, be sure to pay extra attention to:
- The number of cabins
- The overall size and space available
- The price, including any extras
The Number of Cabins
The amount of cabins in a catamaran is a vital part of sailing as a family. Most cats offer at least four cabins, but if you have a larger family and everyone needs their own room, you might want to buy a larger boat with up to six cabins.
Many catamarans also offer the “Maestro” option, where one hull consists of the master suite and the rest of the cabins are together on the other side. This provides an added level of privacy in what is usually a smaller space than your average holiday home.
Cabin layout is also crucial for a family sailing together. Some catamarans have multiple cabins and a loft, but most are just a set amount of rooms.
Where they are in relation to the galley and lounge areas is essential to know and varies based on brand and model.
The Overall Size and Space Available
Ideally, you want enough space to house and feed everyone comfortably on your journey. This will vary depending on the size of your family, which size catamaran you buy, and how that brand prioritizes cargo and living space over other things.
When traveling with family for longer cruises, having ample space will necessitate a comfortable trip – too small a space might lead to cabin fever and friction amongst the crew (a.k.a. familymembers).
Payload is also vital to pay attention to – if you overload a catamaran, it will ride lower in the water and won’t be as fuel or sail-efficient. Plan carefully what you will bring and how much space your particular boat will have available – and remember that there will be people on board as well!
The Price, Including Any Extras
A catamaran is a considerable investment, and the price can be daunting. However, as long as you’re purchasing a yacht of good quality, you can go for a cheaper option. Many cats hold their resale value better than most other vessels, meaning you can expect to recoup most of your money should you choose to sell later.
You can also reduce the upfront cost by opting out of certain luxuries. Though these additions may seem exciting and like must-haves, they soon add up. It’s up to you to decide on whether or not you can survive without TVs in every cabin.
And remember that everything thats on a boat will sooner or later either break or need maintenance so calculate that in your budget.
While catamarans will always be pretty expensive, you can reduce your up-front costs by buying a used boat. If you do buy a used catamaran, remember that the refit history of the ship is more important than the age or size. A smaller, older boat without many huge refits will be better than a larger, newer one with multiple issues.
16 Best Catamarans for Family Cruising
Below you’ll find my recommendations for the 16 best cruising catamarans for a family. Although there are many technical aspects to each of these catamarans, there’s not enough time to discuss them all in detail here.
Instead of talking too much about the sailing technicalities, I’ll focus on practicals, touching on the overall features of each catamaran and what makes them ideal for cruising with a family.
Although Bali cruisers are more often used for charter boats, they have thrived in the hands of private owners. The helm and lack of a full flybridge lead to greater visibility and stability, making it easier to sail the boat in rougher conditions. There is also a platform running between the two hulls for extra accessibility.
The Bali 4.1 is a relatively small ship for sailing with a family but still offers three to four cabins and a remarkably spacious master cabin.
It has the extra interior volume and a spacious galley and saloon. This ship is created to sail in comfort while handling adverse weather conditions safely.
From $395 000
At fifty feet (15.24 meters), the Catana 50 is an amazingly spacious catamaran. The cabins are large, and the showers are tall, a feature hard to find on any cruising boat.
There’s enough space for everyone to have some storage and a bunk, and the Catana 50 can be sailed individually or with a crew.
This catamaran was made for long distances, with its size and speed making the boat ideal for traveling through choppy or windy conditions. If you’re traveling with a family, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable and powerful combination than the Catana 50.
Fountaine Pajot is represented twice on this list, and for a good reason. They are one of the best brands in sailing boats and specialize in making catamarans for cruising and family life.
The Astrea 42 was designed with a family in mind – the layout maximizes living and cargo space, even in a small boat.
On the Astrea 42, the lounge is the heart of the boat, and windows surround the living space for fantastic ocean views.
The cabins also have impressive space, with options for a master cabin suite on one hull and two smaller rooms on the other or four regular-sized cabins split between the hulls.
Fountaine Pajot Helia 44
Another Fountaine Pajot ship, the Helia 44, was made for long-distance journeying in comfort. There are several customizable options in this boat, including the number of cabins and the size of the galley.
The version with the owner’s suite includes a separate shower and toilet, as well as laundry (a must for any family traveling long distances on a small boat).
The Helia 44 is larger than the Astrea but more on par with its sister ship, the Fountaine Pajot Elba 45. The saloon is bigger than previous models, and the steerability of this yacht continues to impress. Fountaine Pajot’s dedication to quality comes through with the Helia 44.
If you want to take your family on a trip in style and with speed, look no further than a Gunboat catamaran.
Gunboat is famous for its fast boats and spacious cabins while not compromising on power and performance. With a Gunboat 68, you can take your entire family around the world comfortably.
The Gunboat 68 is one of the newest members of the Gunboat lineup and is a large catamaran while still being lightweight. You have the option of anywhere from four to six cabins, all of which have been ergonomically and practically designed for comfort.
The galley and lounge areas are also spacious, making this boat ideal for family living.
The Hudson Powercat 56 is one of the few catamaran cruisers with as many outdoor living spaces as there are interior. There are multiple decks to relax on while sailing, including the large outdoor dining area on the boat’s flybridge, and you can choose between a completely covered, hardtop, or open flybridge and helm.
Inside, the Hudson Powercat gives a sense of more space, with a standard of four cabins and a large galley. The galley features a full-size refrigerator and an excellent setup for cooking.
This is an excellent power option for a family that likes the catamaran setup but are not as interested in the actual sailing.
The Lagoon brand of Catamarans is perfect for beginner sailors because each Lagoon boat is built with sophisticated technology to make it easy to pick up and sail.
The Lagoon 440 has all the space a family could need, and most are also equipped with the newest electrical motor to power the boat without burning diesel.
Lagoon is starting to offer more electric-powered boats, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The dual battery system works just as well as a diesel engine without an enormous carbon footprint.
This catamaran is easy to use and incredibly eco-friendly, so you can take your family on long cruises without worrying about the adverse environmental effects.
Lagoon Sixty7 Power or Seventy7 Sail
If you want a lagoon cruiser with even more space and luxury, the Lagoon features a luxury cabin setup and multiple smaller cabins for the kids.
It has the same ease of use as the Lagoon 440, with almost twenty feet more living space. If you buy a new Lagoon, you can even customize your design style.
The most exciting feature of the Lagoon is the cockpit lounge and access to the flybridge. The cockpit is entirely reversible, so you can face the sea or the lounge while sailing. It’s also effortless and safe to get to the flybridge from the cockpit, especially when you’re at sea.
The Leopard 53 Powercat is one of the few power cruisers that are also (somewhat) environmentally friendly. Because of the design of the ship, it’s able to save fuel and travel longer distances.
The three-cabin layout offers a master cabin with a full walk-around bed and extra storage space.
The galley features domestic-sized equipment and a large dinette. You can eat inside or outside because the flybridge also has seating.
This double-deck design makes for amazing views and lots of entertaining options. There’s plenty of space and comfort on board the Leopard 53 Powercat.
The Manta 42 consistently comes up as one of the best catamarans available.
It’s slightly smaller than the other catamarans on this list but has spacious cabins (enormous thanks to the galley being in the saloon instead of the hulls). The layout of the Manta is ideal for family cruising, despite its smaller size.
Another benefit of buying a Manta 42 is that you will almost certainly be able to buy it used. As long as you ensure that the boat’s refitting history is good, you can buy a sturdy ship with all of the previous owners’ upgrades. This process will save you money and get you an excellent cruiser!
Nautitech is an excellent cruiser brand, and its power line delivers some of the fastest and most potent catamarans in the business. While these yachts are not as energy-efficient as some of their counterparts, they can make a journey shorter and more enjoyable with their speeds and engine capabilities.
The saloon on the Nautitech 47 Power has a 360-degree view from large windows, and with four cabins and extra-large living spaces, you’ll be able to fit your entire family into this boat and still have room.
Outremer is a catamaran brand known for speed, as well as the comfort of life.
The Outremer 5X is a huge boat measuring almost 60 feet (18.29 meters) long, with options for three or four cabins. The rest of the space is used for the lounge and living areas, the galley, and ample storage space.
The Outremer 5X is an excellent boat for longer cruises with a smaller family or shorter trips with many people. The amount of deck space is perfect for outdoor dining and parties.
Despite its size, the Outremer 5X is remarkably easy to handle and can easily be short handed.
Made for long-distance traveling, the Privilege Signature 510 boasts a centered owner’s cabin for extra space and views from the master bedroom. There are also two hull cabins and a smaller crew cabin on board for the kids, which is ideal if you want some space between the primary and master cabins.
This catamaran is one of the larger in its class, built for comfort and livability. The main living areas focus on space and light, making them ideal for family living. If you’re planning on living on a boat with your family, you can do no better than the Privilege Signature 510 for luxury and space.
Prout catamarans are known for their sturdy and dependable frames. The company has built boats for long-distance cruising for years and is an expert in sailing ships’ comfort and safety.
The Prout 50 is one of the lighter ships on the line and adds speed and seaworthiness to its dependability. Designed for sailing long distances, the Prout 50 offers excellent visibility and the option to sail single-handedly.
It boasts four cabins and an enormous saloon with high-quality furniture. There’s a lot of space on this boat for a party, a short family outing, or to live in!
The Seawind brand is known for its safety precautions and simple boats. While catamarans are very unlikely to capsize, Seawinds are exceptionally sturdy due to their mast configuration.
These boats are incredibly easy to control and work well for new sailors, and the Seawind 1600 is no exception to this rule.
At 52 feet (15.85 meters) long, this boat has lots of space for a family to live and sail. There is an option for three or four cabins, with the fourth held as storage on a three-cabin boat.
The sleeping quarters take up most of the hull, leaving the galley and lounge areas in the ship’s center.
Another large catamaran, the Victoria 67, will have plenty of space for long cruises with a family. Users are impressed by the amount of space and comfort available in this yacht, as well as the functionality for a boat of this size.
The Victoria 67 features simple wiring and solar panels on deck to help maintain energy levels, and the flybridge and cabin options are massive – there are four extra double bed cabins on board with an owner’s suite.
For ultimate comfort for a crowd, look no further than the massive and spacious Victoria 67.
If you’re ready to leave land behind and hit the seas with your family, a catamaran is an excellent and safe choice of vessel.
In any of these luxury yachts, you’ll be able to sail long distances with ample living space. Whichever one you choose, use it to get out there and enjoy the open seas!