Top 10 largest explorer yachts in the world

Helipads. Dive centres. Ice-breaking hulls. Submersibles. What makes an explorer yacht? True to their name, explorer yachts are well equipped to take on adventurous journeys to the most far-flung places in the world. Equipped with a long-range and vast storage capacity for food, fuel and water to enable weeks at sea, expedition yachts are increasingly popular with owners wanting to leave behind the popular Mediterranean and Caribbean cruising grounds for more challenging adventures. We round up the top 10 largest explorer yachts in the world, revealing Solaris as a new entrant. Launched this year, the 140m superyacht is now the largest explorer yacht in the world. However, it won’t have time to enjoy the top spot for long. The 182.9m expedition yacht REV Ocean is looming on the horizon.

Solaris | 139.7m

Built in 2021 ,Germany
Dr Duu

Freshly launched and currently undertaking sea trials, the 139.7 metre super explorer yacht Solaris travelled to the top of this coveted list of expedition yachts earlier this year. The highly secretive project, which is due for final delivery later this year, is built by Lloyd Werft, which also delivered the 115m explorer Luna in 2010, the fourth largest explorer yacht in the world. Spread across an impressive eight decks, Solaris was designed by Australian designer Marc Newson and hit the water for the first time at the German yard in February 2021. While nothing has been made public about the project, images of the superyacht show a large helipad, sun deck and spacious beach club aft.

  • Builder: Lloyd Werft
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:2021
  • Length Overall: 139.7 m
  • Beam:22 m
  • Gross Tonnage11011 t

Octopus | 126.18m

Built in 2003 ,Germany
Klaus Jordan

Originally built yacht for the late Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft, Octopus is one of the most famous explorer yachts in the world and is currently listed for sale with Burgess and Fraser. The yacht has the capacity for two helicopters at the same time, with landing pads on the aft deck and foredeck. The helipad on the aft deck also has a hangar to store the helicopter away in big seas.

Octopus also has an internal dock, which is perfect for storing the toys that every explorer yacht should have. When the dock is filled with water a 20 metre submarine and a tender of similar size are able to float in and out of their chocks. Once they are secure the water is pumped out before the yacht gets underway.

Paul Allen and the crew of Octopus used the yacht as part of an eight year search for a sunken ship. In 2015, they discovered the long-lost wreck of Japanese ship Musashi, which sunk during the Second World War.

  • Builder: Lurssen
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:2003
  • Length Overall: 126.2 m
  • Beam:21.01 m
  • Gross Tonnage9932 t

Ulysses | 116.15m

Built in 2018 ,Norway
Marin Teknikk

After four years in construction, Ulysses first hit the water in summer 2018. The explorer yacht is almost 10 metres longer than her predecessor, the 107 metre Andromeda (formerly Ulysses), which was commissioned by the same owner, New Zealand's richest man Graeme Hart. Kleven finished the yacht's technical build in Norway in December 2016, after which Ulysses was  sent to Bremerhaven for interior and external completion under the project management of Dörries Maritime.

Ulysses is equipped with a heli-hangar on the top deck, a Bell 429 helicopter, and a fleet of high-speed and day-cruising tenders including a 21 metre Princess 68 stowed inside the well deck. Inside, her huge 18 metre beam is able to accommodate up to 66 guests.

  • Builder: Kleven
  • Country of build:Norway
  • Delivery year:2018
  • Length Overall: 116.15 m
  • Beam:18 m
  • Gross Tonnage6862 t

Luna | 115m

Built in 2010 ,Germany
Lloyd Werft

Delivered in 2010, Luna was built for Roman Abramovich as an upgraded replacement for his former exploration yacht Le Grand Bleu.

The yacht was later sold to Roman Abramovich's close friend, Farkhad Akhmedov in April 2014. The new owner sent her to the yard in Germany for an extensive 14-month refit costing €50 million and including around 130 jobs. Sporting exterior design by Frank Neubelt, Luna is famous for a low aft deck that sacrificed interior volume in favour of more space for sunbathing. The swimming pool takes centre stage and made headlines for being the largest ever seen on a superyacht at the time of delivery. Elsewhere, the yacht features two tender garages, a gym and an expansive beach club wrapping around a spa, with a steam bath, plunge pool and sauna. Two helipads sit on the upper deck while the entire lower deck is dedicated to the crew. Luna is ice-classed and built to the highest possible standards, allowing her to travel to the far reaches of the world's oceans.

  • Builder: Lloyd Werft
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:2010
  • Length Overall: 115 m
  • Beam:20 m
  • Gross Tonnage5655 t

Le Grand Bleu | 112.8m

Built in 2000 ,Germany
Kusch Yachts

Le Grand Bleu was built for US telecommunications tycoon John McCaw who subsequently sold the yacht to the Russian businessman Roman Abramovich who had Le Grand Bleu refitted to his own specifications. The main addition was the 4.8 metre swim platform. Le Grand Bleu is now reportedly owned by Ambramovich's friend and business associate Eugene Shvidler.

The yacht has many features that make her ideal for exploration, including a large tender garage with storage for two sports boats as well as a landing craft capable of carrying a 4x4 Land Rover for excursions ashore. Le Grand Bleu even has a 22 metre sailing yacht and a 21 metre Sunseeker motor yacht stored on the aft deck. The yacht is operated by a massive crew of 65 staff.

  • Builder: Bremer Vulkan
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:2000
  • Length Overall: 112.8 m
  • Beam:17.68 m
  • Gross Tonnage5496 t

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