The (soon to be) World’s Largest Yacht

File this one under the post-that-became-a-rant

There’s a ‘yacht’ currently under construction at Vard Holdings yard in Tulcea, Romania (same builders as Hapag-Lloyds and Ponant’s luxury exploration vessels are constructed). It’s being referred to as REV Ocean. The background on this is Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke who made his fortune in the marine industry (having even served as chairman of Aker ASA, the parent company of Aker Yards that built cruise ships at Aker Yards Turku and Aker Yards France) ordered the vessel and wanted to use is as a personal research vessel to survey marine areas as well as fisheries and other oceanography ventures.

She’s actually poised to be the largest ‘yacht’ at 600ft. Currently the largest yacht is the Azzam at 590ft. The REV Ocean can carry up to 90 persons (including all crew and guests).

Well now it was just announced that he intends to sail her on expedition cruises whereby 30 paying passengers will sail alongside 24 scientists. They’ll even have V.Ships Leisure manage these trips.

So that begs the question of what exactly is this ship? Is she a yacht, expedition cruise vessel, or a research vessel? I know true yachties will never consider her to be a yacht as she doesn’t fit the typical profile of one. They’ll argue that the Azzam is the true holder.

In addition to the arguments that she will conduct cruises, one can also argue that since a significant portion of the REV Ocean’s stern will be used as a working deck for her research operations, this also voids her status a true yacht.

Here’s how Kjell describes this venture:

REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge. I would like to welcome researchers, environmental groups, and other institutions on board, to acquire new skills to evolve innovative solutions to address challenges and opportunities connected to the seas.

(can you see my eyeroll from over here 🙄)