Originating from the Dutch word jacht (meaning “hunt”), these sleek ships were once defined as light sailing vessels, used specifically by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates. However, their purpose adopted an entirely new level of propriety once wealthy individuals began building their own “jachts” to sail out and greet their returning ships. Upon chartering Charles II of England from Britain to Holland for his 1660 restoration, “jachts” were cemented as vessels simply perfect for pleasure trips. The 20th century saw the rise of none other than the ‘luxury yacht,’ where today, folks with bills to burn invest in personal fleets ranging from sleek and sporty, to outlandish and over-the-top.
For the rest of us, being land bound definitely has its perks. Stability, for one. Security. Accessibility. After all, while on dry land, one’s generally within a reasonable distance to everything that could potentially be needed or wanted.
That said, there’s something to be said for millionaires and their absolutely astounding flotation devices. Stocked with necessities from any neighboring port, when these ships set sail, they set a new standard of water-bound luxury. We’re talking much more than your stereotypical boating bits and pieces here. Forget cramped quarters or bunker-type bedding. Think whole wings, and make-shift bungalows, entire levels dedicated to keeping boat-owners and their guests calm, cool, comfortable.
Extravagant layouts, excessive décor. Italian marble and fine china. Leather furnishes and freshly polished crystal are also many perks in having such a high class yacht. These yachts hold quarters that could house a small army, and enough provisions to provide for weeklong voyages. These yachts offer living space for crews two to three times larger than the parties on board. Equipped with everything from indoor pools to private theatres, helicopter landing pads to laser shields, the bling that embodies these boats would blow every deluxe kayak or canoe out of the water.
10 Al Mirqab: $250 Million
Belonging to Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, this beast was fashioned in Germany—under the architectural instruction of Tim Heywood. 133 meters long and tipping the scales with a deadweight of 1,440 DWT, this steel beauty can haul it at 18.7 knots (maxing out at 20.3 knots). 23 of the owner’s finest friends can set up shop afloat the Al Mirquab. With 10 guest suites and two VIP suites (each featuring bathrooms, living rooms and double bedrooms), the 55-strong crew are comfortably contained within their own sizable rooms. En route perks include a cinema, numerous outside bars, an indoor pool and a helicopter pad.
9 Dilbar: $263 Million
Russia’s richest, Alisher Usmanov, purchased this pretty piece for an easy $263 million back in 2012. The Dilbar, named after Alisher’s own mother, promises a good time for up to 20 guests and accommodates 47 crewmembers. Alongside its impressive length of 360 feet, the superyacht features a formal dining room, swimming pool and helicopter pad—should anyone need to fly out for more supplies.
8 Radiant: $286 Million
Yet another buoyant beauty, the Radiant was commissioned by oligarch Boris Berezovsky, and passed off to Abdulla Al Futtiam, a high-end car dealer from the United Arab Emirates. Classic on the outside, this superyacht contains seriously contemporary gadgets that would stun any modern-day spy. Included onboard: sonic guns that would burst the eardrums of any attackers, water cannons that could sink approaching threats (up to 100 yards away), and a smaller speedboat—on hand for any last-minute attempts at escape.
7 Al Said: $300 Million
Here’s a luxury yacht fit for a king—literally. The Al Said, owned by the Sultan Qaboos of Oman, was ordered in 2006, and launched by the Lurssen shipyard in September of 2007. At the time, deemed the world’s second longest yacht, Al Said can comfortably house up 65 guests, 140 staff members and a 50-person orchestra. As is understandable for royalty, those who manage to board the Al Said are among the Gulf region’s absolute elite.
6 Dubai: $300 Million
Commissioned in 2001 by Shiekh Mohammd bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, the Dubai was once reared as the largest, most expensive mega-yacht known to man. Often called ‘the floating city,’ this incredible charter carries with it: a spacious formal dining area, a class staircase connecting VIP suites and guest rooms, elevators (for its multiple floors), saloons and—of course—a helipad. As it often trolls the Gulf’s warmer waters, AC is available at all times, ensuring those onboard both look and keep their cool.
5 Pelorus: $300 Million
Purched from Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich by David Geffen in 2011, the Pelorus (meaning “keeping on course” in Latin) offers two helicopter pads, two swimming pools, and an array of other (smaller) onboard boating vessels. With a maximum speed of 19 knots, this yacht is said to withhold an entire garage of ‘toys’ such as jet skis. Able to contain a full-time crew of up to 46 people, the boat also offers provisions for the nearly always present team of security. Perhaps reserved for true guests of honor, one suit features a wall that lowers—transforming the space into a super-secluded, private veranda.
4 Superyacht A: $323 Million
Property of proud Russian oligarch Andrey Melnichenko, this Philippe Starck-designed megayacht oozes absolute elegance. Fashioned and furnished with no budget in mind, amenities onboard stem from $40,000 faucets to $60,000 banisters. Its provocative styling has evoked comparisons with both submarines and stealth warships, and it has often been referred to as “the most loved and loathed ship on the sea.” To cap off its controversial sex appeal, ‘A’ offers digitally controlled beds, which rotate for picture-perfect views of sunrise and sunset.
3 Serene: $330 Million
440-feet long and boasting sleek neon turquoise lights, the Serene cost Russian vodka distributor Yuri Scheffler quite the pretty penny. Its seven different decks are part of 48,000 total square feet of space, and the boat in it’s entirety stretches longer than a football field. Called a ‘floating palace’ for good reason, the Serene features additional ‘perks’ such as an indoor and outdoor pool, seven hot tubs, a steam room, elevators and spiral staircases, 12 staterooms and an outdoor screening room.
2 Eclipse: $485 Million
Hold on to your seats, the Eclipse sets an entirely new standard of exclusiveness. Equipped with two helipads, 24 guest rooms, enough stretching space for a crew of 70 and a mini submarine, this yacht sits as the private property of Russian billionaire Roman Abromovich. To discourage the harassment of any onboard A-Listers, the Eclipse features an entire intruder detecting system, a means of tracking nearby cameras, and an anti-paparazzi laser shield.
1 Azzam: $627 Million
Larger that some commercial cruise ships, the Azzam is the Queen Bee of luxury yachts. Stretching an astonishing 590 feet and officially deemed the priciest yacht in the world, this impressive boat belongs to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates. Rumored to contain up to 50 private suites, the Azzam took German shipbuilders over four years to construct.
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