Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai, has finally unveiled the largest yacht in the world. Formerly known as Project Panhandle / Golden Star, the 531-ft. Dubai (above) was originally commissioned by Prince Jefri of Brunei. Al-Maktoum purchased the partly-constructed behemoth in 2006, and had it transported from Blohm & Voss in Hamburg to the the newly formed Platinum Yachts shipyard in Dubai for completion (renamed then Project Platinum), at a total cost of about $350 million. With eight decks, the Dubai can accommodate 115 people including a crew of 88. In addition to the swimming pool, Jacuzzis, helipad and multiple dining areas, saloons, guest and VIP suites, the yacht features two owner's suites on the sixth and seventh decks and two heli-observations rooms on the seventh and eighth decks, Superyacht Times reports.
The interior is garish in the extreme, a floating Las Vegas casino by way of the UAE. She has a maximum speed of 26 knots and a cruising speed of 25 knots with a range of 8,500 nautical miles. The Dubai may not hold its world's largest yacht title for long, however; as we reported back in October, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich commissioned an even larger yacht, the $355 million, 555-ft. Eclipse. It remains to be seen whether the economic downturn, in which Abramovich lost several billion dollars, will hamper completion of the yacht which includes a military-grade missile defense system. The Eclipse is also being equipped with armor plating surrounding the bridge and Abramovich's master suite, as well as bullet-proof windows.