World’s biggest superyacht envisaged with a $600m plan.

Bet on luxury demand superyacht with 220-metre-long vessel featuring residences from €9.5m.

World's biggest superyacht envisaged with a $600m plan.

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With prices starting at €9.5m, backers of what will be the world’s largest superyacht are offering 39 apartments for sale as they bet on resilient demand for exclusive luxury travel. The 220-meter vessel is due to launch in 2024 and will provide buyers with “the intimacy of a private yacht alongside the chance to network in a vibrant community of like-minded owners”, its investors said as they announced the €500m project on Monday.

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Some will be more than 40 meters longer than the current record holder Azzam, owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family. The project has been spearheaded by Carl Le Souef, a US millionaire who founded Private Formula International, a skincare company, and now runs Somnio Global, a sustainable technology group.

Cruise liners and residential ships were forced into a total shutdown in March 2020 after onboard coronavirus outbreaks prompted port officials to ban vessels from docking or quarantine them offshore. Protracted negotiations with governments over a restart, particularly in the US where health authorities have set rigorous requirements for cruise companies to resume operations, has meant ships have only recently begun to sail international itineraries.

World’s biggest superyacht

Carnival, the world’s largest cruise ship operator, said last week that just over half its fleet capacity was confirmed to sail by the end of its financial year in November as it reported a net loss of $2bn for the three months until the end of May. Residential vessels have been a feature of the cruise market since 2002 when the Norwegian shipping magnate Knut Kloster launched ResidenSea, the first company to build a liner where people owned apartments on board as they might a holiday rental.

Tony Peisley, an independent cruise industry analyst, said that although ResidenSea originally intended to build 10 ships, only The World was finished. In 2003, the company had to be refinanced with its apartment owners clubbing together to provide funding to ensure its survival. The vessel has 165 apartments, with penthouses selling for about €20m.

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“The business model carries high capital and operational costs and other failed start-ups all found that it was tough to find enough buyers willing to pay the millions required upfront,” Peisley said, adding that many of the super-rich preferred to own their own yachts. Construction has already started on Somnio, with revenues from off-plan sales helping finance the rest of the build.

According to BOAT International, the specialist superyacht media company, sales of private yachts hit an all-time high in May with 68 boats sold after steady growth throughout the pandemic as wealthy consumers hunted out ways to travel in spite of Covid-19 restrictions. Apartments onboard Somnio will cost upwards of €9.5m, with owners collectively deciding on an annual itinerary.

The yacht will have a 10,000-bottle capacity wine cellar and a beach club, as well as host talks by scientists using onboard equipment to study marine environments.

Shambhavi Singh

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