Launch of superliner sees wealthy elite take social distancing to next level

Around the Block: Prices for the 39 condos on the Somnio yacht start from €9.45m

A computer-generated image of the Somnio, which is being billed as the world’s largest yacht, or ’yacht liner’.

A computer-generated image of the Somnio, which is being billed as the world’s largest yacht, or ’yacht liner’.

 

Want to truly escape the everyday? Now you can, if you happen to have about €10 million or more to spare. For this amount will buy a condominium aboard Somnio, a yacht so big it’s being billed as the world’s first yacht-liner.

But even the super rich can’t just rock up and lay down their money. They’re being contacted on an invitation-to-bid basis. That’s right. Even high-net-worth individuals are being vetted before they even set eyes on a brochure.

Yachting has always been the pursuit of the wealthier, a way to delineate and steer clear of the madding cruise crowds in favour of their own kind aboard their own private floating palaces.

Superyachting works on a refined form of the same principle. The vessels in this bracket measure from 12.2m (40ft) across and from 54m (180ft) in length. As a niche sector, it has boomed during the pandemic, giving privileged passengers the ability to social distance in more ways than one, and on a level that most of us can only dream about. This year alone some €1.17 billion will be spent on the sector, according to Boat International.

So now, property developers, never slow to spot an opportunity, are taking their sales pitch to the high seas selling luxury condos aboard the good ship Somnio, a big boat that will stretch to 222m (730ft), making it the world’s largest yacht by both length and volume.

Set over six decks and with an estimated €506 million ($600 million) construction cost, Somnio, which means “to dream” in Latin, is currently being built to a design by London-based Winch in collaboration with Swedish-based Tillberg, both of whom have extensive experience in this niche business.

With just 39 condos aboard, prices are starting from about €9.45 million ($11.2 million) per unit on the yacht which is due for launch in 2024. While further details are in short supply, the amenities on board are set to include a beach club, concierge service, numerous restaurants and a 10,000 bottle wine cellar and tasting room. Destinations for the Somnio meanwhile will include New York, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific and even Antarctica.

While the prices are certainly high, they do appear to be relatively good value when compared to what Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is rumoured to be spending on his 127m (417ft) superyacht, which is worth an estimated €421.5 million ($500 million), according to Bloomberg, and comes equipped with its own support craft, complete with helipad.

Closer to these shores, businessman Denis O’Brien dipped his toe in these waters too having purchased Nero, a 90m (295ft) craft around 2014 for about €40 million. Sleeping 12 it requires a crew of 20 to run it and is available to rent for about €422,000 ($500,000) per week.

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