A combination of modern technology and master craftsmanship is producing a new era in yachts, with floating palaces the likes of which have never been seen before.

Yachts have been around since before Roman times, adding splendour and a mesmerising display of power for Phoenician princes, Venetian doges and European kings long before the concept of the modern yacht was born. These more classical ships were followed by the floating palaces and sports yachts of recent times, but today we stand on the threshold of a new era of opulence, with magnificent yacht concepts that are quite simply mind-blowing. From super sleek and fast Bugattis of the seas to palaces that really do float and what seems like entire resorts complete with beaches, driving ranges, docking bays, apartments and more than you could imagine, the super yacht is in a stellar class of its own. Here are some examples to raise your eyebrows and/or make your mouth water.

Project Fiji

The exotically named Project Fiji – now called Madsummer by shipyard Lürssen – features the design for a 95-metre long steel and aluminium yacht penned by Harrison Eidsgaard, with interior styling by Laura Sessa Design. The project by this London-based studio incorporates luxurious lounges, kitchens, dining areas, private suites, guest accommodation, pool decks, Jacuzzis and panoramic private terraces overlooking the expanse of sea or land view of your choosing.

Up to 20 guests can lounge in sumptuous opulence aboard this yacht, which stores a helicopter on the bow and can take you around the world as you luxuriate in the spa, or swim in the 12-metre long pool. A skylight adds spectacular night views, a cosy fireplace and its own beach club with terrace are other features that take this vessel into the realm of dreams.

Project Ragnar

Named after the famous Viking, this 68-metre long super yacht has been converted from the sturdy, robust functionality of an icebreaker to the extreme luxury of a floating villa. Set to be completed next year, it will be able to circumnavigate the world in complete comfort, and in its design the British-based studio Icon Yachts found inspiration both in classical yacht design and warship engineering. Once complete, the transformation will be extreme, but the Ragnar will have the advantage of combining the power and seaworthiness of a tough working ship with the supreme luxury of a super yacht.

Lexus Sport Yacht

Let’s start with this superbly sporty offering, whose 14-metre concept yacht is powered to exhilarating speeds by two five-litre, V8 Lexus engines. It features gorgeously slick styling in an open powerboat format and top-spec materials. The advanced carbon-fibre reinforced hull enables a lightweight construction that saves up to 1,000 kilogrammes, while the aerodynamics help to stabilise the vessel, so that it glides through the water at speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour.

To achieve this, each engine produces 440 horse power, controlled by the pilot with a racing steering wheel and touchscreen panel, top-end navigation and GPS system, digital charts, radar and sonar, and of course entertainment systems. These would not be complete without a state-of-the-art integrated audio-video system, while the vessel also harbours a fridge, cooking appliances and a shower – all top-range, of course – so that you can be comfortable while cruising the seas at high speed.

Feadship 814

It has taken five years to build, but this stunning vessel launched at the end of last year was well worth the wait, though its owner will have to be patient for a little longer as it is now being fitted out with a sumptuous interior and a very long list of amenities. These include luxurious suites with private panoramic balconies. Its interior finishing is being described as more akin to a jewellery box than a villa, so expect the very highest levels of opulence, including a two-deck IMAX cinema, sports facilities and a helipad, not to mention of course decks with sumptuous Jacuzzis.

The Ritz-Carlton Collection

Five-star deluxe resorts are also getting in on the act, offering the super yacht experience to a fortunate few. This is not a cruise ship as we know it, but a floating version of the most exquisite hotel you can imagine, and in so doing it resembles the quality of the Ritz-Carltons on terra firma. It is actually one of three such vessels, the first of which will start sailing in 2020, and offers short seven to ten-night voyages that are specially designed for the audience in question.

Each yacht has 149 suites, with private terrace, butler service and up to 298 guests enjoying fine dining cuisine and the best spa facilities. Naturally, the ship is available for private charter, as long as you can afford it, and while designed by Tillberg Design of Sweden it is built by Hijos de J. Barreras in none other than Spain. In addition to supreme luxury and elegant design, and with its own waterside deck and docking station for smaller vessels, it also features environmentally friendly design solutions.


Rumoured to also be worth over a billion dollars, this ship created for Roman Abramovich is so big it was built not by yacht builders but by famous German shipyard Blohm & Voss, normally known for cruise ships and naval vessels. At almost 280 metres long, it is more like a small cruise ship than a private yacht, and as such comes with 24 sumptuous guest cabins, two swimming pools, lots of Jacuzzis, a disco, three launch boats, two helicopter pads and a real-life mini-submarine that is, once again, straight out of a Bond movie.

The security systems, for instance, are state of the art, with armour plating, bulletproof windows, intruder detection sensors, laser scanners and it even has its own missile defence system! Like many a cruise liner and naval ship it has a large standing crew, in this case 70 strong. So for the ultimate in luxury with missile protection, try to hitch a ride aboard the surreally magnificent Eclipse.