The ultimate in the ostentatious display of wealth, yachts allow the elite to tour and travel with luxurious belongings on deck, in a way like no other. Mega-yachts are talk of the town when it comes to billionaires trying to outdo the other in what has now become a battle to see whose is best.
The players? Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sultans and software billionaires. They are all secretly racing to beat the other, constructing behemoths of floating palaces that cater to their every whim; and while details of each mega-yacht are hard to come by, we have listed the top five based on extravagance, pricing, size and overall amenities.
5. Al Salamah
Due to its sheer size and design, many take one look and think this yacht is a cruise ship. Nothing could be further from the truth. At 456 long and eight decks high, this mega-yacht, owned by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is rumored to feature 80 rooms, several indoor swimming pools and an onboard hospital. Something for everyone and every kind of luxury you could hope for.
Few details have been publicly shared about his yacht, so what we know are really just rumors, at best. But imagine the adventures you could have being catered to by a 96-person crew.
4. Christina O
During its heyday, this was the most famous yacht in the world. It started as a Canadian naval frigate that saw its share of action on D-Day in World War II. Snatched up by Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, it was transformed into a floating playground for the world’s richest and powerful men, with a guest list including John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.
In 1998, the yacht was bought by another Greek shipping tycoon who renovated it back to match its original style. This renovation featured a dining hall that seats 40 and a spa with massage room and beauty salon. Décor throughout the ship features porcelain by Bernardaud of Limoges, Waterford crystal pieces by Rocha and original pieces by Renoir and Le Corbusier.
The most outrageous item on the yacht is a bronze-bordered pool with an inlaid mosaic fresco of ancient Crete. With a simple push of a button, the pool rises to deck level and transforms into a dance floor.
3. 3 A
Outrageous in looks, the 3 A is the result you get when you Google for “ugliest yacht in the world.” World-renowned designer Philippe Starck may have not put forth his best when he created “A,” but Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko feels differently.
While it features a reverse bow design and a staff of 35 whose outfits are a bit off, it also offers plenty in terms of lavish interiors and luxurious comforts. The 390-foot yacht is missing deck space, but makes up for this in how it caters to its owner. Andrey is not interested in entertaining, but rather, looks to a serene sail on his yacht where he is the center of attention. It is clear to see that this is his intent, after seeing the outrageously large master suite, sprawling a massive 2,583 square feet, surrounded by bulletproof glass, and accessible by a silver-plated staircase. By the way, access to the staircase is by fingerprint scanner.
2. Ocean Breeze / Qadisiyah Saddam
Now known as the Ocean Breeze, the Qadisiyah Saddam was originally built for its namesake, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
This yacht is rumored to be opulently lavished with several staterooms, sumptuous salons, solid gold adornments and fixtures, indoor pools and saunas, a helipad and bulletproof windows. Built in 1981, it was the center of controversy as the nation was in the midst of war with Iran, funds were low and this was considered one of Saddam’s several poor uses of government funds.
Saddam, being who he is, also had the yacht fitted with a missile launching system and a mini-submarine for those quick, James Bond style escapes. Yet, for all its extravagance and outrageousness, nothing beats the hypocrisy on board as the prayer room he had installed.
So much can be said about the Eclipse that make it the best yacht that money can buy.
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich built the vessel, costing $785 million, which started off with an agreed-to budget of $485 million. Builder Blohm & Vess ended up giving Abramovich $300 million worth of yacht for free. This is by far the most expensive yacht built to date.
Stretching 531.5 feet, it is also the biggest yacht in the world. It features several secret exits and underwater access via minisub, so the owner can come and go without being seen. The master suite trumps all, taking up 5,000 square feet of space, featuring amenities any luxurious suite could offer, in addition to a private indoor garden.
While most of us scramble to just pay rent, the playgrounds of the rich, famous and powerful are full of toys we can only close our eyes and dream about, or rent from places like Xclusive Yachts Rentals . If you so happen to strike it big and are ever in the market to consider a yacht, these are some of the top ones you will find, featuring amenities most of us would never imagine found on a sailing vessel, all making for very smooth sailing, and then some.