Yachts with champagne showers tempt the world's super-rich to Germany

Fancy an ocean-going super yacht fitted with showers that spray champagne? Or perhaps a giant room-sized freezer so that guests can have snowball fights in the Bahamas? Germany now claims to be the best place to go shopping for such craft.

Forget the recession, the global super-yacht business is booming. According to evidence gleaned by Der Spiegel magazine, Germany has become the world's top provider of luxury motor vessels for the ultra-rich, outstripping rival concerns in the Netherlands and Italy.

With a handful of specialist shipyards in the port cities of Hamburg and Bremen, it caters to a variety of exclusive customers such as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Muammar Gaddafi's son, and the Russian owner of Chelsea FC, Roman Abramovich.

"We have an unusual situation," said Michael Breman, the head of sales at the super-yacht builders Lürssen in Bremen whose luxury vessels start at €50m (£43m). "Never has there been so much money available to spend on yachts."

Yacht builders say the demands of their super-rich customers are becoming increasingly eccentric. Clients demanded two helipads on one yacht, giant room-sized freezer compartments and even recording studios and operating theatres on others. "Nothing is unusual any more," Mr Breman said. "We see ourselves as part of the entertainment business. We will do anything so long as it is not illegal or nautically questionable," he added.

One of the latest luxury yacht fads is for "RainSky" shower units. They have shower heads the size of a car bonnet, consume 10 gallons of water a minute and cost €18,000. "Our clients finished with whirlpool baths a while back," said Matthias Voit whose company, Dornbach makes the units, "they now want special showers in which you can control the droplet size and the speed at which they fall."

Mr Voit said his latest order was from an unnamed Russian client who wanted a RainSky shower on his yacht capable of squirting either water or champagne on demand. "We'll manage that," Mr Voit said. "The only unresolved question is whether the champagne should be warm or cold," he added.

However the German industry has mixed feelings about its most outstanding product to date – the 536ft motor yacht, Eclipse, which was completed by the Hamburg yard, Blohm + Voss last year for Roman Abramovich.

The yacht has nine decks, a crew of 70, a cinema, discotheque and its own miniature submarine which enables the owner to leave the ship undetected. Maintenance costs are estimated to run at some €20,000 a day. Mr Abramovich insisted on having RainSky shower rooms and 3D televisions.

Blohm + Voss landed the contract for the Eclipse six years ago. The yard agreed to build the yacht for €340m and have it ready for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. But they fell behind on the order as building costs spiralled. When the yacht finally set sail from Hamburg last December the total cost was estimated at €800m. Mr Abramovich is believed to have paid something between the two figures leaving the shipyard to write off the remainder as a loss.

One of the Russian's main goals was to be the owner of the world's longest luxury yacht. At 536ft, the Eclipse beat the previous record holder by 1ft 8in. But it won't be long before it's eclipsed. The Lürssen yard is building a 590ft yacht for an Arab customer, with another 656ft craft on the books.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power