IT HAS a full-size tennis court, a resident sommelier and rooms going for $15 million — and now the world’s biggest privately-owned cruise ship is headed to Australia’s humble shores.
Just shy of 200m long, the mammoth residential yacht, called The World, is in the midst of a non-stop journey around the globe.
The ship is home to about 130 families who generally only spend between three and six months on board.
Since launching in 2002, The World has taken its residents to more than 900 ports across 140 different countries, reaching speeds of up to 18.5 knots.
The ship’s itinerary is decided two years in advance, via a vote of those on board.
This week The World has been powering up the River Thames in London, preparing for the next leg of its round-the-world voyage that will take it to Australia, its last stop, towards the end of this year.
Once it leaves London it will sail to Belle-Île-en-Mer in France, before cruising onto Spain, the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
But forget the destination — it’s what’s on-board that is most impressive about The World.
The boat has 165 privately-owned rooms, which are priced between $1.14 million and $14.7 million for a suite.
It boasts six restaurants, as well as a deli and food store, and has a resident sommelier on board.
Spread out across its 12 decks are its boutique, showroom, billiards room and golf simulator.
It also has a number of pools, a 650 sq metre spa and fitness centre, and the only full-size tennis court at sea.
The rooms include three-bedroom flats and penthouse suites, though there’s a long waiting list for people interested in buying a property on-board.
Each room comes with internet access and residents pay annual ownership fees which are based on the floor size of their apartment.
There is a crew of 280 people on board, who visit each port for an average of two and a half days.
The World was the first ship of its size to burn marine diesel oil, rather than heavy bunker fuel, and in 2012 it became the biggest passenger boat to enter the Northwest Passage in the Arctic.