The rich and the famous are distinctive in their choice of transport on land, in the air and especially at sea. The ocean—nature’s great untamed expanse – holds many treasures, not the least of which are the many gorgeous yachts that belong to some of the most talked-about celebrities today. This countdown of the five most luxurious celebrity yachts includes vessels belonging to a globetrotting media magnate, two world-renowned musicians, America’s wealthiest record executive and one of the world’s richest businessmen.
Rich and powerful men from around the world express their power and affluence with the fastest and most impressive leisure craft to ever sail the seven seas. Starting at about $18 million, this list traces a maritime display of wealth that is worth over $1.8 billion. Whether docked in the Cayman Islands or in New York, these sleek vessels are weekend getaways for their owners and in some cases, an additional source of wealth because of their high-status charter prices. Needless to say, the title of “most expensive yacht in the world” is greatly coveted with some of the world’s richest men—oil magnates, royalty, businessmen, stars of track and the silver screen—pushing the limits of shipbuilders and designers to create the largest, fastest and most decadently luxurious yachts ever built.
These vessels represent the new age of the ‘super yacht,’ vessels that exceed 175 feet in length and offer the smoothest cruising experience through the use of anti-rolling stabilizers and satellite navigation. The last couple of years have seen a great demand for convertible deck features such as swimming pools that can transform into basketball courts and sun decks being turned into lounge extensions. Designers from around the world create super-vessels that show off the glamour and opulence of their owners while competing to create iconic works of art that are instantly recognizable anywhere on the water. Let us start counting down the list of the most expensive celebrity yachts.
5. Richard Branson’s Necker Belle: $18 Million
Richard Branson may say that “Ridiculous yachts and private planes and big limousines won’t make people enjoy life more,” but the multi-billionaire magnate’s super catamaran makes 20 knots in fair weather and has four staterooms and convertible double cabins. At a price of $8.8 million, the Necker Belle didn’t cost Branson much, but speculations about the refitting and interiors on the yacht has been in the region of $10 million. The Necker Belle is a refit of a 2003 Azzura Marine classic catamaran and is believed to be one of the fastest boats in its class, outpacing most other vessels when engine-powered or with its sails. The boat is also home to the Necker Nymph— a hydrodynamic open-top submarine that seats a pilot and two passengers. The submersible craft allows for brief underwater expeditions up to 30 meters and may be chartered as part of an exotic vacation in the Virgin Islands—also owned by Branson. The Necker Belle is the adventurer’s vessel, built to experience the open water, just like Richard Branson would like it.
4. Bono’s The Cyan: $50 Million
Owned by Bono, the iconic frontman of rock band U2, The Cyan is 147 feet of pristine cruising pleasure that the vocalist vacationed on in 2007. He then bought the Codecasa-built 1997 superyacht for $25 million. The philanthropist rocker and his family have spent another $25 million refitting The Cyan as a stylish seaborne paradise, even restoring the yacht’s deep blue exterior to its original pearly white. Bono’s penchant for cruises and his hectic international schedule make The Cyan a perfect offshore getaway when the singer is on work or on holiday. Six double cabins feature limed oak paneling and mahogany furniture. Each room has its own media center with High Definition plasma screens and satellite television. The Cyan is also equipped with a good selection of deck toys including a deck Jacuzzi and wave riders and cuts through the open ocean at a brisk 19 knots. The vessel is available as a charter yacht for $250,000.
3. Sean Combs’ Maraya: $65 Million
Coming in at a pricey third spot on our list, the $65-million Maraya is a study in stately and tasteful elegance. This comes as no surprise, considering that designer Claude Misser is responsible for the clean, elegant minimalism that makes P-Diddy’s yacht an eye-catcher out on the open sea. When it was built in Ancona, Italy back in 2008, Maraya was one of the larger yachts in existence at the time, at over 175 feet in length and a 33-foot beam. P-Diddy’s lavish parties aboard the Maraya regularly feature as magazine headlines. The rapper’s legendary ‘yacht party’ is a regular feature at the Cannes Film Festival. The vessel does not scrimp on cabin room with four double cabins and two twin suites as well as a retractable state room balcony terrace. The Maraya is available for charter with a full staff of 10. The vessel is capable of a comfortable 14 knots and is ideal for the calm, summer waters of the Caribbean.
2. David Geffen’s Rising Sun: $250 Million
David Geffen’s yacht reflects the multi-billionaire’s taste for opulence and fine things. The Rising Sun’sprice tag of a cool $250 million includes over 85,000 square feet of floor space, 82 stylish cabins with personal Jacuzzis, a deck swimming pool and a 36,000-square foot burnished teak deck as well as a convertible helipad. Geffen’s transcontinental travel itinerary keeps the Lürssen-built yacht docked in its home port of Georgetown, Guyana for a large part of the year. When you’re the most sought-after executive in the recording industry, 453 feet of sheer elegance moving at a blinding 28 knots may be just enough to keep up with the pace of life Geffen is famous for. His other acquisitions include the 377-foot Pelorus from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
1. Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse: $1.5 Billion
The owner of the most expensive celebrity yacht in the world, Roman Abramovich gains his celebrity status from being the owner of the Chelsea football club and one of the richest men in the world. While the rest of the world was reeling under the global financial crisis of 2008, Abramovich was able to maintain his lifestyle and flaunt his wealth and apparent immunity to the slowdown by spending over $1.1 billion on the Eclipse, the final word in sea travel. At 536 feet, the Eclipse is the second largest privately owned yacht in the world and is rumored to be the most expensive yacht ever built.
Abramovich is believed to have spent an additional $400,000 on the vessel, placing its final cost at $1.5 billion dollars, making it the most expensive yacht afloat. The vessel is second only to a military ship in its defensive capabilities including an anti-paparazzi laser net that automatically prevents photography, bulletproof windows, three launches and a submarine with a diving depth of 50 meters. The boat is believed to have a top speed of over 20 knots and is equipped with the comforts that only Abramovich’s billions can buy: 15 ultra-luxury cabins, two helipads, a 16-meter swimming pool and interior design by award-winning designer Terrence Disdale.
With some of the world’s best chefs, wines, entertainment and every creature comfort that the mind can conjure up, these vessels are closer to the idea of a floating palace in their grandeur and opulence. Each one of them is a fitting tribute to what money and power can create and both work and play equally enjoyable.