Recent quarters have seen the concept of explorer yachts trickling down to a set of smaller yachts. Initially, however, explorers come from the megayacht world and the 115-meter Luna has become almost eponymous with what an explorer yacht should be.

Refreshened through a €50 million refit that came following a change in ownership, Luna was delivered in 2010. Currently the 3rd largest explorer in the world, her open aft deck and swimming pool have set a standard for the yachting industry.



Built for Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich, Luna was originally intended as a more sleek version of her owner's existing explorer, the 113-meter Le Grand Bleu. At the time of her launch, the swimming pool installed on Luna was the largest that anyone had ever seen onboard a superyacht.

Luna's current owner, which Forbes names as Farkhad Akhmedov, purchased the yacht from Abramovich in 2014. The man, valued at $1,3 billion by the magazine, later initiated a 14-month refit in Germany that gave the yacht a sleek exterior look and implemented several improvements on one of the world's most iconic yachts.



One of the largest jobs undertaken during the refit was the fairing of Luna's hull. Under Abramovich's ownership, the 115 meter had been left unfaired to reflect the strength and power of the yacht by making a show of her welds.  Luna's new owner, however, faired the yacht in order to give it a sleeker look.

Nearly 80 painters and eight months were required to fill and fair the over 2,000 square meters of Luna's hull, whilst also applying a new finish to her superstructure. The result is a complete mirror finish, which perfectly reflects the sea as Luna sails on her world travels.



Luna's exterior refit was led by Newcruise, a German design studio that undertook the project as it's first major one with a motor yacht. Across all proposals that were reviewed during planning, the main idea was to create a very open deck. This led to the project team focusing on style rather than the toy storage one would find on other explorers.



In fact, the aft area of the main and lower deck was amongst the most affected by Luna's recent refit. One of the main attributes of the yacht, in addition to her main deck pool, is her extensive beach club area on the lower deck. Whilst two tender garages sit to port side, two foldable platforms open the beach club onto the sea on starboard.



The beach club is completed by a wave-shaped sauna, plunge pool, steam bath as well as a fully equipped gym. New equipment was installed during the refit including mirrored panels that let Luna's guests open the 12-meter foldable doors and getting a sea view without anyone seeing guests exercise from the outside.



A relatively rare feature onboard superyachts a decade ago, beach clubs have become a must have onboard new yachts of even a smaller scale. Popular options, both for charter guests and owners, include lounging areas, wet bars, saunas, hot tubs, plunge pools and gyms. All of which Luna was already built to accommodate.



Other improvements to the area during the refit include a new mosaic on the walls of the steam room, an updated audio visual system, a pantry area to facilitate service and a new arrangement of couches. Over 80 TVs are found onboard Luna, however, none of them were placed in the beach club for it to be a place to enjoy the sea.



Safe from the beach club, the remainder of Luna's lower deck is dedicated to crew and operations. In addition to the engine room and technical spaces, most crew accommodation can be found on the lower deck. Seven generators produce an output of 15,000hp that goes on to power electric motors. According to her manufacturers, it would be enough to power a town of up to 25,000 people.



Luna's original interior designer was Donald Starkey who joined the project when the yacht was already 70% built at Lloyd Werft. Modifications imposed by the designer included an increased headroom as well as a new dinning room, which wasn't on the initial layout. This was achieved by dividing the upper deck lounge into two by a fireplace that can be enjoyed from both sides of a newly installed wall.



Starkey's theme of light fabrics coupled with darker wood and light that filters from the 115 meter's large windows can be found throughout Luna. Modern oak was in fact used around the yacht and then aged to create the effect of 17th century antique beams.



One of Luna's highlights is, without a doubt, the private, forward-facing terrace that comes as part of the owner's private suite. With a glass panel located directly on top of the master bed, a private terrace in front lets Luna's owner explore the world with her.



Another newly improved area on the 115-meter explorer is Luna's observational lounge. Meant as an area where guests can socialise and take in the view, its panoramic view faces forward and is often found to be a guest favourite location when entering a new marina or anchorage spot.



Whereas the master suit benefits from one of yachting's best views, guests on Luna get to access one of its main locations much quicker from the main deck. Through a straight line corridor, guests can find their way to the pool in a matter of seconds without having to climb up flights of stairs.



Luna's swimming pool area also benefits from a new feature installed during her recent refit. A raised section, which can be covered by a massive tent or opened to the sun, was put in towards the aft of the deck. It features both a dinning table for casual, outdoor dinning, as well as coffee tables and a sofa.



From a technical standpoint, Luna is powered by a diesel electric set up that lets her be both more efficient and flexible when cruising. The explorer can in fact get up to a top speed of 21 knots and even nudge through shallow ice.


Photo by Ron Raffety

Located underneath Luna's master bedroom, her bridge sits forward of the explorer's upper deck. Allowing easy access to anchoring gear and crew areas, keeping all crew operations on the upper deck also frees up higher decks for the guests' relaxation.



One of the most well known figures in the yachting industry, Roman Abramovich currently sits as the world's 139th richest man according to Forbes, with a net worth of $10,3 billion. In the business community he's most well known as the owner of the Chelsea FC as well as for selling his stake in Sibneft to Gazprom.

In yachting, however, Abramovich is synonymous with his 162-meter Eclipse, formerly the largest yacht in the world. Whereas Eclipse was overshadowed by the 180-meter Azzam, the Russian billionaire's exploits in yachting remain on everyone's mind to this day.


Photo by Nicholas Canepa

Other than Eclipse and Luna, the 51 year-old has owned an unequaled fleet of yachts, which have included the 115-meter Pelorus, which he purchased in build from a Saudi businessman in 2003 before reselling it to Dreamworks co-founder, David Geffen in 2011.

Prior to Pelorus, Abramovich also had the 113-meter explorer/support yacht Le Grand Bleu. Carrying a plethora of toys, onboard Le Grand Bleu could be found a Dubois sailing yacht as well as a 21-meter Sunseeker. He later reportedly sold the yacht to Eugene Schvidler.



Born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1955, Farkhad Akhmedov is the 67th richest man in Russia according to Forbes. After moving to London in 1986 and starting out in fur trading, he started his own company in 1987 to supply equipment to Russian gas companies. In 2012, he sold his stake in Russian gas company, Nortgas to Novatek.

Photos by Guillaume Plisson

Latest News

Russian billionaire to lose his $500 million 114-metre megayacht Luna in divorce battle
Luna is a 114.2-metre superyacht built by Lloyd Werft and delivered to Roman Abramovich in 2010. In 2014 the yacht was sold to Azerbaijani billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov for €240,000,000. In 2015-2016 Luna had a €50,000,000 refit. Works included a new paint job, fairing of the hull for the first time, 2 meter lengthening to improve the balance of the yacht. The spa area and beach club were also refitted, larger windows were added for more light coming in. All the engines were overhauled, plus all the tenders were replaced. In February 2016 Luna left Bremerhaven, with first destination Norway. In the winter of 2017/2018 Luna was sent to Dubai for additional works. Previously, 114-metre half-billion megayacht Luna seized in Dubai.Luna is the second largest expedition yacht in the world and has an anti-missile system, a mini-submarine and a 20-metre swimming pool.A court in London ruled the arrest of a half-billion dollars yacht Luna owned by a Russian billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, as a result the divorce payout between him and his ex-wife. The court ruled that businessman should transfer ownership of the 114-meter Luna, currently seized and stored in a dry dock in Dubai, UAE to his ex-wife, Tatiana Akhmedova. Judge said that Akhmedov tried to cover up his ownership of the Luna behind a scheme with a group companies and relocated the ship to Dubai.Judges in London courts generally splits the assets 50/50 in high-stakes divorce cases, giving equal weight to the work of a wealth creator and a homemaker. In the final days of the court procedures, the billionaire changed his ownership of the Luna to another of his companies. The transactions were done to cover up billionaire’s assets in a web of offshore companies and defeat Akhmedova. According to the judgement, Luna has a value of £346 million."Any idea that the yacht can be sold or handed over to Mrs. Akhmedova is fanciful," Akhmedov said. "For that to happen - by the time all legal procedures were exhausted - would take years. By then the yacht could have depreciated." Akhmedov, who refused to take part in the UK trial and moved back to Russia, has allegedly moved his modern art collection valued at £90.5 million to Lichtenstein. The judge said that they needed to move quickly to enforce the order over the boat. Akhmedov "has over the past 18 months repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to take rapid and multifarious steps to evade enforcement at every turn."
190-metre ultra-luxury cruise ship by Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel has announced itineraries and shore excursions for its Luxury Yacht Collection. Three luxury cruising yachts are scheduled to sail in 2020. Ritz-Carlton will start taking reservation from May 21 from its loyalty members and those of its parent company Marriott International. The very first voyage will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Feb. 1, 2020, for a 8-night cruise in the Caribbean. The yacht will travel to Bimini, Bahamas, and Key West, Florida, before returning to Fort Lauderdale.In its inaugural season, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer 40 different voyages, most ranging from 7 to 10 nights. Number of experiences will be available, such as visiting a renowned winery in Bordeaux, France, learning how baby oysters are grown in a private farm in Sete, France or even emeeting with a spiritual shaman in the Grenadines. The shore excursions will be grouped into five categories: Iconic Sights (art and culture); Stirring the Senses (wellness); Cultural Connections (wild life); Active Explorations; and Epicurean Experiences. The trips “illustrate our commitment to providing rare opportunities to today’s luxury traveler,” said Lisa Holladay, global brand leader for The Ritz-Carlton, in a statement.The unique designed yachts will measure 190 meters, with 149 suites accommodating up to 298 passengers, which is more like superyacht than an actual cruise ship. Each stateroom has its own private terrace. The yachts will also feature two 158-square-meter penthouses, each with its own private whirlpool, modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden. Prices have not yet been released.
U.S. blocked from seizing $250 million 91.5-metre superyacht Equanimity
Equanimity is 91.5-metre yacht built by Oceanco and delivered in 2014. Her owner is Malaysian financier, Jho Low. Previously, Equanimity was seized by the request of the US Government and then was in the spotlight of the US Government. Recently, an Indonesian court blocked U.S. efforts control a $250 million yacht connected to fraud scandal, on the basis that its arrest off the resort island of Bali was invalid and saying the vessel should be returned to its owner. The U.S. Justice Department contends that the Equanimity was acquired with money stolen in fraudulent schemes linked to the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The Indonesian judge said that the seizure of the yacht in Bali by Indonesian police acting at the request of U.S. authorities was “invalid and legally baseless.” The judge ruled the seizure was invalid on a technicality. He said the U.S. request didn’t follow a 2006 law on mutual legal assistance because it didn’t go to the Justice Ministry, but directly to police. The ruling can’t be appealed.Equanimity is owned by a trust that is controlled by a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, who the Justice Department alleges is a central player in a $4.5 billion fraud that involved siphoning money from 1MDB. The fund was set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 and is the focus of investigations in half a dozen countries. Both 1MDB and Mr. Najib have denied wrongdoing and said they would cooperate with any lawful international investigation. Multiple investigations in Malaysia into 1MDB closed without finding wrongdoing. Indonesian police said they accept the verdict and will soon turn over the 300-foot, Cayman Islands-flagged vessel to its owner, Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta referred queries to the Justice Department. The department didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a statement to Yacht Harbour, a spokeswoman for Equanimity's owner said:"Claimants, the owners of Equanimity, welcome the Indonesian court's ruling, which upholds the rule of law and confirms that the FBI-instigated seizure of the vessel was improper and unlawful. The incident is yet another example of the unjustified global overreach by the U.S. Government, which has gone to extreme and improper lengths to seize assets around the world while steadfastly avoiding having to prove that there are any merits to its case."Indonesian police came aboard the Equanimity in Bali on Feb. 28 after the vessel had cruised Southeast Asian waters for months. FBI agents and Indonesian police searched the vessel and its computers and interrogated crew members. The boat has stayed in Bali with a crew on board while the case moved through the courts. Lawyers for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. said that the seizure didn’t follow Indonesian law on providing mutual assistance to foreign law-enforcement agencies. The U.S. has sought via civil lawsuits in California, since mid-2016, to seize almost $2 billion in assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB, including mansions, a Bombardier jet and royalties from the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The Equanimity is the largest single asset. The U.S. has asserted in court filings that U.S. laws were broken in the larger 1MDB case, and that gives it rights to those assets. The Justice Department had hoped to quickly transport the boat to the U.S. to sell. In the U.S., the government has filed a civil asset forfeiture case against the Equanimity, which means that the asset cannot be sold until the case is resolved. To take possession of the boat, the government has to prove it was bought with stolen money. All asset forfeitures tied to the 1MDB case are technically on hold, because the government asked for a temporary stay on all 17 cases while it completes a parallel criminal investigation into 1MDB affair and all dealings related.
23.47-metre military-designed Tactical 77 yacht project sold
Tactical 77 is 23.47-metre new-build project recently sold to American client by Canadian yard Tactical Custom Boats. With unique hull shape design, aggressive pseudo-military exterior styling and luxurious accommodations inside by American studio Bill Prince Yacht Design, this go-anywhere all-aluminium yacht will be built at Tactical’s shipyard in British Columbia, focusing on speed and comfort. Key features will include gyroscopic stabilisers, a folding transom that allows superyacht water toys launch without the davit crane, the most modern electronics and lightweight carbon fibre in the interior. Tactical Custom Boats is a brand of Platinum Marine and Crescent Custom Yachts, specializing in high performance aluminum boats designed for speed, comfort, and safety in all operating conditions . Tactical 77 is due to be delivered in 2019.
114-metre half-billion megayacht Luna seized in Dubai
Luna is a 114.2-metre superyacht built by Lloyd Werft and delivered to Roman Abramovich in 2010. In 2014 the yacht was sold to Azerbaijani billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov for €240,000,000. In 2015-2016 Luna had a €50,000,000 refit. Works included a new paint job, fairing of the hull for the first time, 2 meter lengthening to improve the balance of the yacht. The spa area and beach club were also refitted, larger windows were added for more light coming in. All the engines were overhauled, plus all the tenders were replaced. In February 2016 Luna left Bremerhaven, with first destination Norway. In the winter of 2017/2018 Luna was sent to Dubai for additional works. Recently, Luna has been impounded in the Dubai, United Arab Emirates by the authorities as billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova are fighting for control of the asset. It follows a British court ruling that Akhmedov owes his ex-spouse $567 million and as she seeks his global assets to get her share of the settlement. She claims that he has been hiding his money to avoid paying her. Forbes says the net worth of Akhmedov, who started his business career selling sable furs, was $1.4 billion which he made after he sold shares in the Russian company ZAO Northgas in 2012. He was included last year on the U.S. Treasury blacklist of Russian businessmen and companies that had close links to Vladimir Putin.However, Straight Establishment, which is the family trust for Akhmedov, is appealing for the vessel to be released after a ruling by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, Reuters reported on Thursday. Akhmedova’s lawyer, Dakis Hagen Q.C., said the yacht had its flag transferred to the Cayman Islands and then to a Panamanian company in 2014. The previous year, the couple’s marriage had broken down.Luna has the world’s largest swimming pool on a superyacht as well as two helipads. It can host 18 guests and 50 crew. Luna’s seven generators output a total of 15,000hp and the power electric motors are coupled to each shaft. There are more than 80 TVs on board. She can cut through ice on speed of 21 knots and has such generators power that they can run a town of 25,000 people.