Superyachts: Palaces of the Sea

Discover the five largest superyachts in the world...

A look out over the bay of Monaco reveals an impressive sight indeed; tens if not hundreds of yachts, all year round are invariably arrayed around the marina or cruising the water. However, with so many examples of this extreme symbol of luxury, in order to stand out from the crowd yacht owners need something extraordinary. For many owners this means size.

Yachts have been steadily growing bigger, and thanks to advances in technology what seemed gargantuan a decade ago pales in comparison to the latest creations. With newer, larger yachts venturing out onto the open seas each year, it’s hard to keep track of precisely which are the largest. Fortunately,’s Live 100, sponsored by charter and sales broker Y.CO addresses this issue allowing us to reveal, definitively, which are the five largest yachts in the world.

5 – Topaz

Being tied in length with the Prince Abdulaziz at 147 meters, it is the width of the Topaz, a substantial 21.5 meters, which allows it to inch into the top five. One of the most elegant looking superyachts in the world, the outer styling was done by multi award-winning yacht design studio Tim Heywood Design. Boasting the same interior designer as Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse and from one of the most renowned shipyards in the world, Lurssen, who developed the yacht’s engine especially, Topaz has all the makings of a masterpiece of engineering.

Inside, a lift allows easy travel between the eight floors, from the jacuzzi and helicopter pad on top to the tender garage below. Somewhere in the middle sit a fitness hall, conference room and private cinema, with accommodation for a huge number of guests.

4 – Al Said

Though it may be fourth on the list in size, Al Said is still a vast vessel which actually displaces more water than any other- 15,850 tons to be precise. It is also the most powerful, meaning that what it lacks in overall length it more than makes up for in other areas, not exactly what was expected of a build codenamed ‘Project Sunflower.’

Commissioned by the Sultan of Oman from Lurssen and christened with his family name, Qaboos bin Said al Said was understandably pleased with the result. After all, he had good reason to be – six spacious decks, each adorned in palatial luxury presented the 65 guests the yacht can accommodate with ample,, while an on-board concert hall was designed to hold a fifty piece orchestra. With a staff and crew of 140 people, the Al Said has seen the most important individuals in the UAE cross her decks, in a style befitting of one of the wealthiest rulers in the world.

3 – Dubai

To name a superyacht after one of the most exclusive cities in the world is something of a statement. Fortunately, Dubai lives up to the discerning eye of His Highness Sheik Mohammed Rashid al-Maktoum, for whom she was constructed in 2006. Her massive size is complimented by the elegant lines of her steel hull and aluminium superstructure, created by renowned designer Andrew Winch. Yet more impressive however is her interior.

Reminiscent of a Middle-Eastern palace, the design blends bold colours, sumptuous fabrics and handmade mosaics in a fashion befitting a throne room. A spectacular, colour-changing glass staircase forms the central feature, allowing the 72 guests she can hold to reach the mosaic-floored swimming pool on the uppermost of the seven decks with ease. While not the largest in the world, Dubai certainly makes the most of her substantial charms.

2 – Eclipse

This yacht owned by Roman Abramovich is arguably the most famous in the world, having gained notoriety through the endless media attention surrounding her owner. The Russian billionaire had demanded the largest yacht in the world at the time, something which shipbuilder Blohm + Voss were more than happy to tackle.

The result was a 162.5 meter long pleasure palace, whose armada of lavish extras includes two swimming pools, a three-man submarine and opulent accommodation for 36 guests and 70 members of staff. Should, for some reason, guests desire to leave, the fleet of six tenders and three helicopters is more than adequate. Few would have thought however that at this time the ship that would steal its crown was already under construction.

1 – Azzam

Onto the number one, the monolithic megayacht that takes the much fought-over crown of largest in the world. At a gargantuan 180 meters in length, 16 more than Eclipse, Azzam is a sheer giant and, despite her weighty proportions, is also extremely nimble, able to reach impressive top speeds of over 30 knots. She is also notable for a lot more than her size.

The timeless shape and innovative design of the exterior was developed by renowned designer and CEO of Nauta Yachts, Mario Pedol. Even from the first designs he knew they were onto something impressive- “The design had strength of character and sense of purpose, yet also had timeless elegance, even while incorporating elements of visionary contemporary modern design.”

The sumptuous interiors were created by French designer Christophe Leoni, whose turn of the century empirical style can be found throughout. This combination of the traditional and contemporary gives the Azzam a fine balance between the technologically advanced and old-world luxury that is one of the most sought after characteristics of modern superyachts.

Project managed by luxury yacht experts Burgess, Azzam set yet another record in her build time. A vessel of her size and complexity would normally have taken many years to build yet in this instance with the combined expertise of Burgess and Lurssen, the shipyard that built her, she took just three years to construct. Technologically impressive, superlatively luxurious and epic in size and scope, Azzam is the largest in the world – for now. However, due to her success it may not be too long before the next queen of yachts appears...

For the full rundown of the largest 100 superyachts in the world, click here.


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