Welcome to Mansions on the High Seas, a new Curbed summer series exploring the great, wide world of the megayacht. Stay tuned right here for jaw-dropping photos, backstories, and factoids about some of the most famous floating fortresses and trophy boats on Earth.
Launched in 1937, the 85-foot schooner Orianda is a sailing yacht fit for a king, which is appropriate, considering it was commissioned by King Christian of Denmark. Fully renovated—or refitted, in yachting terms—in 2010, Orianda now boasts modern conveniences like air conditioning, an integrated stereo system, and flat-screen televisions to go along with the yacht's classic lines, historic woodwork, and old-school rig. There's nothing old-timey about the charter pricing, which runs anywhere from $21,000 to $28,000 per week, but that price includes the services of three crew members and space for eight guests in four cabins. Based in Fuimicino, Italy, on the coast near Rome, the yacht can be delivered to charter guests anywhere from the French Riviera to Capri.
? The first steel-hulled yacht launched by the venerable German builder Abeking & Rasmussen, Talisman was designed in 1919 and completed in 1920. At 75-feet, it is far from the largest luxury yacht on earth, but the La Spezia, Italy-based vessel would be perfect for exploring the seaside villages of the Italian Riviera—most megayachts cannot fit inside tiny harbors like jet-set favorite Portofino. With room below for six guests and two crew, Talisman charters for $8,000 to $10,500 per week, a fraction of the price a giant motor yacht might command. Still, the affordability shouldn't get one thinking that this is a washed up old heap. The yacht was refinished in 2007, with "50% new hull and a complete interior refit."
? Sails too slow? Six guests too small? Try this 162-foot historic motor yacht, built for a San Francisco family in 1930 by Michigan's Defoe Boat and Motor Works, the same yard that produced John F. Kennedy's famous presidential yacht, the Honey Fitz. Now known as RS Eden, the impeccably updated boat has room for 11 guests in six cabins and space for 75 revelers. Altered substantially over her 83-year life on the water, RS Eden was most recently refitted in 2007. That reno added "state-of-the-art audiovisual systems and an extensive water sports toys collection," now maintained by a nine person crew. All this history and luxury doesn't come cheap. A week in high season starts at $120,000.
? Not yet large and expensive enough? The Talitha won't disappoint. Charging an eye-watering $416K per week for charters in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, this megayacht was completed in 1929 by the Krupp yacht yard in Germany—later infamous as a supplier of U-Boats to the Nazi's Kriegsmarine. The 263-foot Talitha, despite her immense size, accommodates just 12 guests in six cabins, with a crew of 18 to see to the guests' every whim. The classic look disguises some serious technology, including a satellite internet service that can provide guests with a convenient WiFi connection hundreds of miles from shore.
? She may not be the largest yacht on this list, but it is hard to beat the pedigree of the Grace, named for her frequent guest, Grace Kelly. The 145-foot boat was built in 1928 and passed through several owners before Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis gave the vessel to Prince Rainer of Monaco and Grace Kelly as a wedding present. Today, the Camper & Nicholsons-built yacht plies the waters of Ecuador's verdant Galapagos islands, with space for 16 guests for week-long voyages that cost upwards of $95,000.