With prices starting at €9.5 million, backers of what will be the world’s largest luxury yacht are offering 39 apartments for sale as they bet on resilient demand for exclusive luxury travel.
The 220-meter vessel is scheduled to launch in 2024 and will offer buyers “the intimacy of a private yacht combined with the opportunity to network in a vibrant community of like-minded owners,” the investors said when announcing the €500 million project on Monday.
Somnio will be more than 40 meters taller than current record holder Azzam, who is owned by the Abu Dhabi royal family. The project was led by Carl Le Souef, the American millionaire who founded one of Australia’s largest skincare companies, Private Formula International, and now runs Somnio Global, the sustainable technology group.
Cruise ships and residential ships were forced to close completely in March 2020 after the outbreak of the Corona virus on board prompted port officials to ban ships from docking or isolate them Navy.
Lengthy negotiations with governments over restarting, particularly in the United States where health authorities have set stringent requirements for cruise companies to resume operations, mean that ships have only recently She began navigating international flight paths.
Carnival, the world’s largest operator of cruise ships, said last week that just over half of its fleet capacity had been confirmed sailing by the end of the fiscal year in November, announcing a net loss of $2 billion for the three months through the end of May. .
Residential ships have been a feature of the cruise market since 2002 when Norwegian shipping tycoon Knut Kloster launched ResidenSea, the first company to build a ship where people own apartments on board because it could be a vacation rental.
Tony Beasley, an independent cruise industry analyst, said that although ResidenSea originally intended to build 10 ships, only The World had been completed. In 2003, the company had to be refinanced with apartment owners clustered together to provide financing to ensure its survival. The complex contains 165 apartments, with a penthouse selling for around 20 million euros.
“The business model carries high capital and operating costs, and other failed startups have found it difficult to find enough buyers willing to pay the required millions up front,” Beasley said, adding that many ultra-rich people would rather own their own yachts.
Construction has already begun on Somnio, with proceeds from off-plan sales helping to fund the remainder of construction.
According to BOAT International, the premium yacht media company, private yacht sales hit an all-time high in May, with 68 boats sold after steady growth throughout the pandemic, as affluent consumers look for ways to travel despite Covid-19 restrictions.
Apartments on board the Somnio cost upwards of 9.5 million euros, with owners collectively deciding on the annual itinerary. The yacht will contain a 10,000-bottle wine cellar and a beach club, as well as host talks by scientists using equipment on board the yacht to study marine environments.