We humans have long been fascinated by big, bold things.
Way back in 70 AD, for example, the Romans started building the Colosseum. Still standing today, it measures 510 feet wide. Over in France, meanwhile, the Eiffel Tower opened in 1889, at a height of about 984 feet (not counting antennas). No wonder, then, that humanity’s attention soon turned toward making other big, bold things: Big planes, big trains, and yes, big boats. In fact, in terms of boats, they, like buildings, just kept getting bigger. “Boats” became “yachts,” then “megayachts.” Now we hear “megayacht,” “superyacht,” and even “gigayacht” to refer to the biggest yachts in the world.
Since each of those words is a modern term, you might assume that the 20 yachts included here are modern marvels, too. It’s interesting to note that more than half of them launched within this decade. Equally interesting, among those, two are about a year or less old. One of the two is close to delivery, in fact.
However, not all of the yachts on this list are contemporary craft.You’ll surely be surprised to learn that one particular yacht launched in (believe it or not) 1865.
These are some of the fascinating facts to keep in mind as you read through the 20 biggest yachts in the world. For starters, add the lengths of the first two yachts, and you’ll find they exceed the height of the Eiffel Tower. They do so with plenty of room to spare: by 147 feet.
In addition, the fifth-largest yacht contains 683 miles (yes, miles) of cabling. And, while one of the yachts may have masts (three of the largest masts ever manufactured, at that), she’s not technically a sailing yacht.
Hats off to these big, bold things and especially the people who dreamed of them, engineered them, and keep them floating on the world’s oceans.
Measuring just shy of 593 feet, Azzam is impressive for more than just her length. In fact, she’s capable of speeds exceeding 30 knots. She’s also one of several yachts on this list from Lürssen.
Fulk Al Salamah
While another super-size superyacht held the same name from the late 1980s through the early 2000s, this Fulk Al Salamah was delivered in 2006, by Italy’s Mariotti Yachts. She serves as a shadow boat to another superyacht (see #6). Strong secrecy surrounds her.
Abundant rumors swirl around Eclipse. A popular one is that she has anti-paparazzi lasers, rendering photography equipment useless. What’s true, however, is that this 533-footer has a private owner’s deck and volume exceeding 13,500 gross tons.
The ruler of Dubai owns this yacht, keeping her in home waters. He didn’t commission her, though. He acquired her after construction (jointly by Blohm+Voss and Lürssen, with completion later in the United Arab Emirates) stopped for Brunei royalty.
If guests aboard Dilbar don’t want to swim in the ocean, they can use her indoor pool. Said to be the largest aboard a yacht, it contains 47,551 gallons of water. The 512-footer also has a total of 107,639 square feet of faired and painted surfaces.
Kept in Oman, Al Said belongs to the Sultan of Oman, and has since delivery in 2008. That makes her the second yacht on this list under his ownership (see #2).
Currently in Germany for service work, this six-year-old has more than just the styling signature of designer Tim Heywood. Topaz measures 483 feet long and has remained confidential since delivery from (you guessed it) Lürssen.
Imagine reactions back in 1984, when Prince Abdulaziz was completed in Denmark. (The builder was a commercial yard, Helsingør Vaerft.) She’s belonged to Saudi royalty ever since. The late King Fahd was her original owner, who named her for one of his sons.
Egypt’s presidential yacht holds the distinction of being the oldest yacht on this list, at 153 years and counting. Used for military training drills for a period, she entertains international heads of state these days.
Sailing Yacht A
Despite her name, this 468’5” yacht, built by Nobiskrug, is actually sail-assisted. Therefore, she runs on engines primarily. Still, she’s an engineering feat in sailing. The main mast is more than 328 feet high.
During construction at ADM Shipyards, this nearly 463-footer was code named Swift 141, the latter being her LOA in meters. Completed in 2011, she’s built upon the hull of a naval frigate dating to 1978.
Her LOA of 459’3” makes Ocean Victory the largest yacht built in Italy (by Fincantieri, to be exact). Russian-owned, she features a floodable tender garage and multiple helicopter areas, including a hangar.
Al Salamah had one of the best code names ever during construction: Mipos, for “Mission Possible.” It’s because the Saudi owner of the 457-footer wanted delivery from Lürssen within two years’ time.
Commissioned by American billionaire Larry Ellison and currently belonging to fellow American businessman David Geffen, Rising Sun is 454 feet long. Among the last designs by the late Jon Bannenberg, she entertains Geffen’s Hollywood clients and friends.
Bearing a beam of 67 feet, Shu should see delivery from Lürssen quite soon. Only a few facts are public, such as her interior design being from Mark Berryman, who used a neutral color palette.
Known as Project Thunder during construction, Crescent is just shy of 443 feet. A striking feature is the multi-deck atrium, fitted with floor-to-ceiling glass. You can’t miss it in her profile.
Serene‘s original owner, who took delivery in 2011, requested she feature a snow room—with real snowfall. The famous Paradise Papers investigative report revealed that the 439-foot yacht sold in 2015 for $456 million.
In Qatari hands, Al Mirqab measures 436 feet. Her builder, Peters Schiffbau, is now known as Peters Werft. In the past several months, she’s been spotted in Monaco, Dubrovnik, Venice, and more recently amid the Greek isles.
Octopus remained in the hands of her original owner, American entrepreneur and philanthropist Paul Allen, from delivery by Lürssen in 2003 until he died in October. Allen threw parties aboard during the Cannes Film Festival, plus had Octopus assist in key scientific and historic expeditions.
Last but certainly not least in any sense of the word, Maryah measures 410 feet. She is a converted research vessel, which underwent a five-year transformation in Greece to become a private cruiser.