Whether you’re an oil-rich sheikh, Silicon Valley billionaire, or Las Vegas high roller, owning a luxury yacht is now de rigeur among the elite, on par with owning a fleet of jets, a football club or a bizarre subterranean pleasure palace. When it comes to the ultra-wealthy and their floating palaces, there’s a lot more to it these days than just a spacious and speedy liner with a champagne bar on board.
The luxury yacht industry is absolutely exploding right now, as a global economic upswing has led to the world’s leading yacht companies posting all-time record high sales, up 26% last year, with the leading Plymouth-based British manufacturer Princess Yachts reporting a turnover of over $1 billion for the first time in history. Business is certainly booming, and that means that the industry is becoming ever more competitive to ensure that their yachts are the most luxurious, over-the-top, extra and catered to their gilded clients than ever before. Here’s our roundup of the most luxurious yachts in the world today.
This surreal looking vessel looks like something straight out of War of the Worlds, and definitely wins points for being one of the most unique yachts on the seas to day. The defining look of this sleek, minimalist ship is the unique, freestanding carbon fibre rotating masts which adorn the upper deck, which give it that distinct otherworldly look, alongside the Zaha Hadid-inspired curves and gun-metal grey exterior. This is a boat that means business and a bold expression of taste and luxury. According to Boat International, A handed over to uber-wealthy Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko in Monaco back in 2016, who was reportedly the client who made sure the imposing masts were taller than Big Ben in London (which they are, by about 2 metres).
A is undoubtedly a leader in luxury; the vessel boasts the longest piece of curved glass ever made (at 15 metres and 1.5 tons) which was used to create a surreal underwater lounge on the bottom of the ship, where passengers can sip on Crystal amongst the fishes and coral reefs. That’s some serious James Bond level glamour.
You just can’t have a yacht round-up without mentioning Azzam. At 180 metres, she’s the longest private yacht on the planet, owned by billionaire Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan since 2013. Azzam cost over $500 million, and it’s not hard to see why this eye-watering sum makes sense. Built by Germany’s Lursen Yachts, the cruise liner-sized vessel has 2 helipads, 2 swimming pools, a bullet-proof master suite, its own submarine and even a missile defence system.
She requires a staff of at least 50 just to stay seaborne, as well as to provide the dizzying luxury services that can be experienced on board. Guests can experience world-class art on board the private gallery, have a full spa day complete with mud baths and hot stone therapy, and dance the night away at the onboard nightclub. Azzam has set the standard for luxury seafaring since it was completed, and yacht enthusiasts still flock to whichever stretch of coastline they know she’ll next be visible from.
This one definitely takes the crown for having the best name of the bunch, with a title that appeals to any red-blooded man with a James Bond fantasy and a passion for gambling on the high seas. This 007 inspired yacht is a gamer’s paradise, with Betway Casino reporting a fully equipped gaming lounge on board, as well as a Jacuzzi sporting VIP lounge, 6 luxurious cabins, and of course a hefty $50 million price tag. The yacht is part of a series developed by industry leader Christensen as part of their Millennium Edition and was bought by U.S. yachter John Staluppi. Staluppi might not be as familiar a name as some other billionaires, but this one has been very successful too, working behind the scenes with Chevrolet, Honda and Hyundai before becoming the owner of the Atlantic Automotive Group, one of the top car dealerships in the United States.
The Eclipse is something of a classic, an epitome of decadent seafaring which brought the idea of ultra-luxury private boats into the wider public imagination. This $500 million beast was bought by eccentric Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich – owner of the Chelsea Football Club – back in 2011, and really kicked the standard of luxury up a notch or two. This vessel boasts three helipads and a helicopter hanger as well as a 15 metre pool on deck, a “spa and wellness zone” which is apparently gigantic, and an opulent interior designed to look like a Malibu beach house. This floating castle has seen its fair share of legendary parties, with A-listers, supermodels and politicians all having been seen letting loose on the deck of this iconic ship.
The Dubai is the aptly named superyacht belonging to the Ruler of Dubai and the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and is nothing short of insane. The main lounge is bigger than most hotel lobbies, with an iconic red sofa centrepiece which has become synonymous as the place where some of the biggest business deals in the region are agreed on.
The boat has enough space for up to 72 guests and boasts an intricate mosaic design throughout the interior intended to invoke a sense of the decadent days of old Arabia. It also can accommodate several helicopters and has a ballroom on board, as well as a spiral glass staircase which changes colour through the day. Basically a floating version of a seven-star Dubai hotel.
If you’re a yacht enthusiast and can think of any fabulously OTT boats which didn’t make the cut here, let us know in the comments!