Dubai- the name embodies all things extravagant. It represents largess and glitz that’s anything but run-of-the-mill. Extraordinary is not a word enough to do justice to the pizzazz of the emirate or its namesake sailing on the Persian Gulf. The Dubai superyacht belonging to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai, was the largest yacht globally, being 532-feet long but was eventually replaced by Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse and Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Azzam. Much like other jaw-dropping attractions of the city, the luxury vessel is a city in itself with attractions that will blow the minds of yachting enthusiasts. Listed below is a detailed take on one of the most significant ships in the world:
The back story of the incredible Dubai megayacht:
Who doesn’t like a bit of a backstory? The Dubai yacht is a luxurious floating palace. Considering its grandeur, the story couldn’t have been as uncomplicated as shipyard to Sheikh. Before taking form as the magnificent Dubai motoryacht, the vessel was dubbed Panhandle, Platinum, and Golden Star. Interestingly, it wasn’t even commissioned for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum initially. Panhandle was commissioned to Blohm & Voss shipyard, Germany, in 1996 by Prince Jefri Bolkiah, the younger brother of the Sultan of Brunei. Work began at full pace in collaboration with Lürssen Yachts (who else?) until the Sultan intervened. To put a dent in his brother’s excessive spending habits, the construction of Panhandle was halted.
A bare steel hull and a superstructure were left abandoned for several years. It was purchased by the Dubai government, which assigned the project to Karam Sadikoglou in Turkey. Five years later, Platinum Yachts obtained the steel structure and a whopping 250 containers full of spare parts, and the fantastic Dubai megayacht was conceived. In 2001, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum roped in Andrew Winch, with interior design by Platinum Yachts, to make the $400 million vision a reality.
As dazzling as its namesake is the larger-than-life Dubai superyacht:
“The brief was simple: the owner wanted a floating Burj Al Arab – and he got it,” said Kostis Antonopoulos, the former managing director of Platinum Yachts, who oversaw the building of the Dubai yacht. The enormous 532-footer is longer than three football pitches and speckled with eight decks. With a gigantic ship like this one, one cannot ignore the tiniest details, such as traffic flow and entrances. From side doors to service doors, the megayacht has ample entrances and exits in addition to the staircase and the three lifts that ensure every deck and room can be reached without bothering guests.
The 10m pool with two Jacuzzis is a vision that incorporates a waterfall located aft of the main deck. Eye-catching hand-made mosaics decorate the pool area, matching the Persian Gulf’s scenic beauty where the ship sails. The $400 million luxury boat also flaunts a helipad, while interiors boast never-seen-before decor details using gold leaf, marble, onyx, lapis lazuli, and malachite. Needless to say, these pricey and premium materials yield the most impressive results. Touching on accommodation, the Dubai yacht has a designated crew area that can sleep 115 personnel.
The guest area includes a fabulous 50 suites, while the VIP area on the fifth deck features three suites. The highlight of the ship is undoubtedly the lavish owner’s area accessed via a private elevator, and it occupies the two top tiers completely. The owner’s suite also flaunts direct access to and from the helicopter pad. Dubai can reach a top speed of 26 kn, and she is powered by four MTU 20V 1163TB93 engines. With huge 1.2 million liter diesel tanks, Dubai can travel 8,500 nautical miles, as per Wikipedia.
Standout features of the stately $400 million motoryacht:
The Dubai yacht is divided into different zones- crew, guest, owner’s private decks, and a social area featuring various salons, including a traditional “Majilis” room. The dining room alone does complete justice to the social space by hosting as many as 90 guests at a time. The standout features of the palatial superyacht include a disco, squash court, and outstanding security features.
Keeping the VIP owner in mind, security was paramount. Boat International shared, “I asked a computer security firm to hack the yacht’s network. While we thought that we had a very secure ship, the guys hacked it in 30 minutes! Of course, we redesigned the security,” stated Antonopoulos. The lower decks did not have a clear GSM signal, so the ceilings were ripped apart to add repeaters.
About Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the owner of the Dubai yacht:
The current vice-president and prime minister of the UAE is a picture of extravagance and sheer luxury. From owning a dozen luxurious mansions, a fleet of private planes, and this $400 million superyacht, the billionaire generates most of his income from real estate. According to a 2021 analysis by The Guardian and Transparency International, Sheikh Mohammed is one of the largest landowners in the UK, owning more than 100,000 acres.
Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein
The absolute ruler of Dubai has a deep love for horses and owns 400 of them. No-expanse-spared royal vacations are a normal part of life, and the family once splurged $850,000 on a summer vacation in Italy. The hotel bill for their holiday in Greece was $311,000, and the world continues to rave about the unbelievable $3 million spent on strawberries in one summer alone. It is believed that Sheikh Mohammed owns assets worth $14 billion. In addition to the Dubai yacht, Sheikh Mohammed also owns another personal boat, 130-feet Alloya.