While members of Abu Dhabi’s royal family await their chance to fly into space aboard Sir Richard Branson’s SpaceShipTwo, they have found a new travel diversion to keep them occupied.
Specifically, the world’s largest yacht — by quite a lot.
Abu Dhabi Emir and United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nayan is the proud owner of the Azzam, a 590-foot (180-meter) long floating palace with six bridges, a 6,000-square foot (550-square meter) lounge, a crew of 50, and a top speed of at least 30 knots (55.6 km/h).
The UAE leader takes over the top spot from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, whose yacht measures a mere 536 feet (162.5 meters).
The yacht, which was delivered earlier this year, cost an estimated $400 million to $600 million to build. Nauta Yachts designed the monster ship, which was built by Lürssen of Germany.
That amount is in the range of $390 million Abu Dhabi’s royal family has invested in Virgin Galactic through Aabar Investments. That figure includes $280 million for a 37.8 percent equity share in the company and $110 million into Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne small satellite rocket.