Top 5 luxury yachts in the world


There are several marinas is Palma de Mallorca and the net worth of the yachts and super yachts moored there on a typical day must run into trillions of Euros. It’s fascinating to walk along the Paseo Maritimo and gawp at the sheer scale and luxury of some of the boats. There are usually teams of deck hands buffing the chrome, swabbing the decks and polishing the glass. They certainly like to keep them spic and span. I guess if you’ve spent multiple millions you’d want things ship shape.

Occasionally you see a super yacht that dwarfs even the largest of the luxury yachts. I’m not sure it’s correct to call these behemoths yachts at all. They probably qualify to be called ships. The price of these floating villages is eye watering and only the very wealthiest people on the planet can possibly afford to commission the design and building of such vast vessels.

Each year, international super yacht builders from around the word launch and deliver new, and ever larger, yachts to owners around the globe. The below list changes a little every year, but some of these vessels have remained in the top 5 for years. To put the sheer size of these beasts into perspective the length of a soccer pitch must be between 90m and 120m. Here are the top 5 largest yachts in the world to date.

1 Azzam (180m) Lürssen

It’s not surprising that the world’s longest yacht came from a builder with nine out of the 20 top builds in the superyacht arena. Unfortunately, Lürssen could never really boast about Azzam after its launch in 2013 because of the owner’s penchant for privacy.

Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi directed a team of designers and engineers who started with the bare concept, worked through the technical challenges of what might be the most complex super yacht ever, and finished with an unusually large vessel that can top the 30-knot mark. Nauta Design’s exterior features a long, sleek forward area, with well-proportioned tiers moving up to the skydeck. Lürssen describes the interior by Christophe Leoni as “sophisticated, with luxurious decor inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century,” but is otherwise short on details. Its gas turbines connected to water jets push Azzam to more than 30 knots.

2. Eclipse (162m) Blohm + Voss

The stately Eclipse, delivered to billionaire Roman Abramovich, took five years to design and build. When it left the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg in 2010, it was the world’s largest yacht. The interior has 17 staterooms and a palatial master suite, with the capacity to carry 85 crew.

The Terence Disdale exterior has a proportional profile, with tiered decks that sweep upward and bend ever so slightly at the aft ends. Eclipse has a 185-foot-long owner’s deck and, at the time of its launch, the largest swimming pool on any super yacht (the bottom raises and converts to a dance floor). Other features reflecting its stature: the capacity to hold three helicopters, including one in its belowdecks hangar, a sophisticated stabilisation system, and an enormous spa, gym, and beach club. Hybrid diesel-electric engines are connected to Azipod drives that give Eclipse a top-end speed of 21 knots, with a range of 6,000 nautical miles.

3. Dubai (162m), Platinum Yachts

This Andrew Winch design was originally commissioned for Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei as a joint project between Blohm + Voss and Lürssen, before it was halted in 1998 with just a bare hull and skeletal superstructure.

The hull was sold to the government of Dubai, and, under the direction of the country’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, work on the 531-footer began again, though this time by Platinum Yachts. ‘Dubai’ is now the sheikh’s royal yacht, with accommodations for 24 guests and quarters for 88 crew. It has an impressive 70-foot-wide atrium, landing pad for a Black Hawk helicopter, submarine garage, disco, and cinema. Full certification was obtained from Lloyd’s Register in October 2006.

4. Dilbar (156m), Lürssen

The 2016 launch of Dilbar gave Lürssen the distinction of not only building the longest yacht ever (Azzam), but also the largest in terms of volume.

Espen Øino did the exterior, creating a full-bodied superstructure of long, flowing decks, along with two helicopter pads. Dilbar also has an 82-foot swimming pool that, according to Lürssen, is the world’s longest on a yacht. The interior by Winch Design is defined by its “rare and exclusive luxury materials,” says the builder, declining to go into detail. Lürssen added that the world’s largest motor yacht was one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built, because of its dimensions and technology. Despite Dilbar’s volume, the designers did a masterful job making the yacht look relatively svelte, with no obvious bulges along the length of the hull.

5. A (141m) Nobiskrug

As it stands at the moment Yacht ‘A’ comes in at the ninth largest in the world but I’ve included it here because of all the very largest yachts ‘A’ is the most futuristic and the most original.

The futuristic look of sailing yacht A includes smooth, silver-metallic surfaces and windows that look nearly invisible, three composite masts that bend slightly, and a deck hidden by high bulwarks. The Philippe Starck design is a wild fantasy yacht of the future. The 141m sailing yacht is a technical victory for German yard Nobiskrug, which developed composite fashion plates to create the unusual shapes, without any compromises in strength or fluidity. It has the tallest freestanding composite masts on any sailing vessel. The boat also reportedly has an underwater viewing platform in the keel. “Sailing yacht A is undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects Nobiskrug has ever been involved in,” says Holger Kahl, the firm’s managing director. Starck’s interior remains a secret. The yard reports the yacht has a top speed of 21 knots.

Danny Frith is Director at SkiBoutique. SkiBoutique is a luxury ski chalet agency based in Switzerland.

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Comments (14)

  1. Jack says:

    Size isn’t always everything but when it comes to super yachts it certainly counts for a lot when you’ve got to pack in all that luxury.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Not to mention the space for upwards of 80 crew members. Almost like a floating village.

  2. Wow these are beautiful and Im sure Ive seen a few of them around on my travels!

    • Dan Frith says:

      Yacht A is my favourite. Even though size wise in only just sneaks into the Top Ten, i had to include it here. It’s such a beautiful design.

  3. Roger says:

    How much do these huge yachts bring to the world’s economy?

    Peoples’ eyes must light up when they see one of these yachts sailing into harbour. They must be a real boon with the purchasing of fuel and supplies as well as all those crew spending money when they get shore leave.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Roger,

      Just a short voyage in these Super Yachts costs an arm or a leg in fuel alone. And I can vouch that peoples eyes do indeed light up, even at the sight of a yacht significantly smaller than these giants.

  4. Stephen says:

    Many people think that super yachts are vast extravagances. I think that you can apply the Moon Shot thinking to yachts as well. NASA’s programme pushed science along at a great rate and there were a number of developments that may well not have happened otherwise. Would we have got Velcro without the Apollo Moon Landings?

    It is probably the same with yacht design at the highest level. There must be huge budgets for Research and Development just to get minimal incremental improvements in the yachts.

    • Graham says:

      The experimentation and futuristic design of Yacht A is a good example of how the wealthy are prepared to provide patronage for designers to play and try things. It was ever thus.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Stephen.

      A very good point. I’d not thought of this aspect.

      Graham,

      It certainly was ever thus. Through banking and commerce, the Medicis rose to become one of the most important houses in Florence, without whom the world could possibly have been robbed of the artistry of Michael Angelo. To a large extent he depended on their patronage.

  5. Sam says:

    I’ve never actually been on a yacht but it’s interesting to see just how big and luxurious they can be. The Nobiskrug is certainly very different – I can imagine that Philippe Starck design getting a few awards for its visionary, futuristic creativity.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Sam,

      I agree, the Philipe Starck design is a thing of beauty. The interior must be something special too but sadly it’s a well kept secret and no public images exist.

  6. Chris H says:

    I have always liked the idea of a yacht because it gives you freedom. The idea of just setting sail for a new destination is very appealing.

    But do you get the same degree of freedom with these huge yachts? I can imagine that they are too big for many harbours – you can’t go island hopping through the Med as you like.

    Also with so many crew there must be quite a lot of planning for shore leave etc.

    Then again as money is no object I expect that the billionaires could always hire a smaller yacht to go off sailing from the big mother ship.

    • Dan Frith says:

      Chris,

      Obviously with vessels this size you’re restricted to where you can drop anchor, or rather, stay stationary with the aid of GPS. Automatic positioning systems that use propulsion to hold a boat on station at the push of button have been on the market for a few years now. A yacht this size can house a smaller boat that can explore the coast line at closer quarters, so in that sense you’re free to go where you please. Yachts this size could possibly have a crew of more than 80. Shore leave? That would depend on the owners and the contracts.
      Dan.

  7. Travis says:

    Years ago, I have always thought of luxury yachts as boring because you’re just in a moving boat for hours on end and you really won’t expect what’s gonna happen next. Maybe you are just one step away from having sea sickness but I was very young then, and admittedly wrong. I was able to board one and it was an amazing experience. It’s not one of these yachts though, but all the same, these yachts are very relaxing and stress relieving because of the great company and services that they offer, and that makes any cruise even better.

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