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First Drive – Sea-Doo Switch Cruise Limited

2024 Sea-Doo Switch Cruise Limited
The 2024 Sea-Doo Switch Cruise Limited

BRP’s new high-end Switch adds new features yet keeps all the fun

BRP made a heck of a splash when it unveiled its revolutionary Sea-Doo Switch pontoon boats in August of 2021. Appealing to young boating families with an innovative design and affordable retail price, the three-model Switch lineup raised eyebrows with thoughtful features like user-configurable seating and PWC-style handlebar steering.

The first generation Switch models were so distinctive that they left a clear gap between the top of the line Switch Cruise 21 and the entry-level models in BRP’s Manitou pontoon boat lineup. That gap has now been closed with the all-new Sea-Doo Switch Cruise Limited – a fun and playful pontoon that adds an unprecedented level of comfort and convenience.

Measuring 21 feet in overall length and powered by the same proven 230 horsepower Rotax engine that drives the original Switch Cruise, the new Limited edition stands out from its earlier sibling with a number of feature enhancements.

“One of the things we found among Switch buyers is that more than 65% of them were buying the Cruise model,” said Sea-Doo global product strategy manager, Christian Comtois. “We also found that more than half of all buyers were heavily accessorizing their boats, making it clear that the demand for a more fully featured Switch model was there.”

New amenities in the 2024 Cruise Limited include a fresh new glass dash built around a stunning 10.25-inch touchscreen display that presents a wide range of data beyond depth, navigation, speed and RPM in any light, even in direct mid-day sunshine, and even without blacking out when wearing polarized sunglasses.

Complementing the main display is a seven-inch Garmin touchscreen GPS on an adjustable mount that’s positioned to the starboard side of the main dash panel, where it’s clearly visible to the driver yet never obstructing the view ahead. Sea-Doo’s trademark handlebar steering includes a quick adjust lever just behind the left grip, allowing the handlebar to be raised or lowered as desired for greater comfort whether seated normally, using the bolster or driving from the standing position.

On that note, the Switch Cruise Limited also gets an all-new Captain’s chair at the helm. The new seat keeps the comfortable flip-up bolster of the original, adding fold-down arm rests for better ergonomics as well as an automotive-style sliding seat base to better accommodate drivers of different heights.

The Cruise Limited 230 gets some exterior updates as well, starting with a new, full-beam stern swim platform that represents a big upgrade from the abbreviated platform that came on the first-generation Switch models. Although stylish, the original platform came up short – literally – when boarding from the dock with a narrow step on the port side and none at all to starboard. The more conventional full-beam platform on the Switch Cruise Limited 230 just works better in every way – to the point Sea-Doo is going to offer it as a retrofit option for all existing Switch pontoons.

That other benefit of the larger swim platform is that it provides additional mounting options for LinQ accessories, including an all-new cooler. Given the degree to which Switch buyers like to accessorize their boat, the importance of this can’t really be overstated.

Integrated rope storage also comes standard on the Cruise Limited 230 – at least on the starboard side of the boat – making it a cinch to quickly deploy and stow the mooring lines. This is a great feature, but we would dearly love to see it included on both sides of the boat for those days when starboard-side docking just isn’t an option.

Switch Cruise limited buyers will definitely appreciate its JL Audio sound system. Sea-Doo made a lot of noise at the original Switch pontoon boat launch with its innovative corner tables with integrated speakers, and the Cruise Limited comes with three of them as standard equipment. The aft starboard corner remains open to maintain the functionality of the corner entry gate, but comes pre-wired so you can easily add an additional speaker if you want the full four-corner experience. In our early September test ride at Sea-Doo’s exclusive media event in Arkansas, we streamed everything from Bach to 50 Cent to Rush to Taylor Swift through the Cruise Limited’s audio system and were consistently impressed with the clarity of the highs and bone-jarring thump of the bass. Plenty of stereos are loud, but this one sounds good. It’s a big difference that wasn’t lost on any of the journalists there.

The other big upgrade that comes with the Cruise Limited is its standard lighting package, which includes LED docking lights and full RGB interior courtesy lighting. This doesn’t just make a statement by giving the boat undeniable added bling, it represents a legitimate safety and convenience upgrade that anyone can appreciate.

Visually, the Cruise Limiter further stands out with its unique colour scheme, with attractive sky blue side panels providing a little more visual interest over the standard white, tasteful Limited badging, and a distinctive interior décor package that picks up on the blue interior.

The upholstery work on the Cruise Limited is top shelf, and better than you expect for a boat that’s still priced to be affordable for young families. The cool weave fabric reflects heat to keep from getting hot in even direct sunlight, which was greatly appreciated on what turned out to be a hot sea trial day with clear sunny skies and temperatures approaching 35C. Even the dark blue upholstery remained pleasantly cool against bare skin, which was much appreciated by all onboard.

In terms of driving performance, the Switch Cruise Limited leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Like the first generation Cruise, the Limited model gets its get-up-and-go from the stellar Rotax 1630, generating 230 horsepower. To be straight up, you’re not going to set any aquatic speed records in the Switch Cruise Limited, but you’re not going to want for thrills either – the engine delivers smart acceleration and a top speed in the 30+ mph range. That’s just perfect for the young families it’s built for – quick enough to get where you’re going without delay, yet not so fast you need to strap down the kids and the dog. This is a family boat, not a racer.

Even so, the Switch Cruise Limited is a ton of fun to drive. With its unique handlebar steering, there’s still a strong PWC feel to this boat, and one that’s clearly augmented by Sea-Doo’s iBR intelligent brake and reverse system. Pin the throttle and it’s smiles all around, while low-speed handling remains easy and confident, and that’s not something you can say for all jet drives. Even to an old goat like me, the Cruise Limited is pure joy to drive, and that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

That seems to be the whole point to a lot of other people too, at least if Sea-Doo’s buyer research is correct. Where first-time buyers typically account for somewhere around 15% of all pontoon boat purchases, Sea-Doo is finding that new boaters represent more than one third of Switch buyers. That’s approaching personal watercraft territory, and just confirms that Sea-Doo really has hit it out of the park with its brilliant Switch pontoon boat. Now with the addition of the Switch Cruise Limited as its all-new flagship, it’s a sure bet those sales figures will only increase.

Sea-Doo dropped a lot of jaws in 2021 with the first generation Switch, and the all-new 2024 Cruise Limited is bulging eyeballs all over again by bringing new features, new comfort and new thrills to the water. Anyone looking for a boatload of fun without breaking the bank will find a lot to like here.

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