Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne, has notionally been leading a sweeping crackdown on corruption and self-enrichment. This has not stopped him from making some rather impressive purchases himself. Two years ago, the prince purchased, through intermediaries, Chateau Louis XIV, which has been described as “the world’s most expensive home,” for $300 million. Even more expensive, however, was his purchase of the superyacht Serene in 2015.
While vacationing in the south of France, the prince was apparently quite taken with the yacht Serene. He was apparently so impressed that he bought it on the spot from its Russian oligarch owner, Yuri Shefler, for a reported $500 million. At 134 meters (440′) and 8231 tonnes, Serene ranks among the world’s largest yachts. She was built at Fincantieri in 2011, with 12 guests cabins and 30 crew cabins. The yacht also features a helicopter, two helideck platforms, one heli-hangar, a five-person submarine, a spa with sauna, a climbing wall, and a multiple deck water slide. In 2014, Bill Gates reported chartered Serene for $5 million for one week.
Not all has gone serenely on Serene. In August of this year, the yacht ran aground in the Red Sea, 20 nautical miles east of the Egyptian resort, Sharm El Sheikh, doing significant damage to her bow and forward structure. The yacht was salvaged and was last reported underway in the North Sea off Belgium.