Really, if we’re being honest, the word “big” doesn’t actually cut it. Trying to describe the five largest yachts in the world requires the kinds of superlatives usually reserved for skyscrapers or spaceships. These hulls are jaw-dropping in any harbour - if they can even get into the harbour, a feat that’s sometimes impossible because of their sheer length and girth. When you start measuring crew by the dozens, you know you’ve entered a whole new realm. Here's our list of the five largest yachts in the world, according to overall length (LOA).

World's largest yachts: Azzam

Azzam, measuring 180.6m

Azzam: 180.6m

The name Azzam is fitting, since this yacht was built for a purpose: to be the biggest and the best. In Arabic, Azzam is a baby name that means determined - as in determined to dwarf the competition. When this behemoth launched from the Lürssen shipyard in 2013, she literally eclipsed the next-largest private yacht afloat, Eclipse. Azzam’s owner was pretty darn determined, having built a yacht that one-ups the idea of the moon blocking out the sun.

Not much is known about Azzam, but it’s rumoured that she can top 31 knots, which is quite a feat given that she’s well longer than a whole football field.

For more information, visit Lürssen.

World's largest yachts: Eclipse

Eclipse, measuring 162.5m. Photo: Giovanni Romero/TheYachtPhoto

Eclipse: 162.5m

Blohm+Voss launched Eclipse in 2010, and for a few years, until the birth of Azzam, she was the largest private yacht in the world, with an amazing 92-strong crew.

Eclipse is designed inside and out by Terence Disdale, who gave her a 52-foot-long swimming pool with a floor that rises up to convert to a dance floor. To get everybody on board for the party - including all 36 guests who can stay overnight in Eclipse’s 18 staterooms - the yacht can have three helicopters aboard at a time. There’s also a beauty salon on board, in case anybody’s hairstyle needs retouching after the on-deck landing.

Fore more information, visit Blohm+Voss.

World's largest yachts: Dubai-photo-by-Ralf-Grabbert-TheYachtPhoto-1

Dubai, measuring 162m. Photo: Ralf Grabbert/TheYachtPhoto.

Dubai: 162m

Blohm+Voss and Lürssen collaborated on the original build of Dubai. She launched in 2003 after years of sitting half-built while awaiting a new owner, and then got a whole new interior from Platinum Yachts in the United Arab Emirates just three years later, in 2006.

One of the unique features about Dubai is that all of her 24 guests have staterooms with open balconies, thanks to a layout that differs from traditional superyachts (which have at least some guest staterooms belowdecks). It’s rumoured that the steps in the main stairwell are made of glass and change colour; one can only imagine what the light show must look like inside the onboard discotheque.

With staff on board, Dubai reportedly carries 115 souls - including any extra staff that guests bring along, in addition to the yacht’s regular crew.

World's largest yachts: Dilbar

Dilbar, measuring 156m.

Dilbar: 156m

Oh, does size matter... Dilbar, launched from the Lürssen shipyard in 2016, is not the biggest yacht in the world when the comparison is made by length, but if you want to talk displacement, this 156m dwarfs the 180m Azzam. Dilbar has a total displacement of 14,440 tonnes, well more than Azzam’s 11,917 - meaning that Dilbar’s owner can rightfully claim that the world’s fourth-longest yacht simply feels bigger.

There’s also a nifty way of measuring her swimming pool, which is often compared to the 16 metre-long pool aboard Eclipse. Dilbar’s pool consumes more than 180 cubic metres of water, making it about 250 times the size of an average hot tub.

That might be enough room for all 24 of her guests, with as many as 96 crew on board to offer them cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

World's largest yachts: Al Said

Al Saïd, measuring 155m.

Al Saïd: 155m

Yet another giga-size build from Lürssen, Al Saïd launched in 2008 - and has pretty much remained shrouded in secrecy ever since.

Rumors are that she has accommodation for 65 or 70 guests, with a concert hall on board to entertain them by way of a 50-performer orchestra. The yacht’s helipad is visible in photographs, and she apparently has a cinema aboard as well, plus accommodation for what sounds like (if it’s true) a staggering 150 crew.

Not much more is known about Al Saïd except that her owner, for a while, claimed she was the largest yacht in the world. At 14379 tonnes, she had a higher displacement than longer superyachts - only to be overshadowed when  Dilbar was delivered in 2016.

Written by: Kim Kavin
Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who specializes in marine travel. She is the author of 10 books including Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Vacations, and is editor of the online yacht vacation magazine