YachtCharterFleet discovers at the Monaco Yacht Show why the 73m/238ft Lurssen superyacht ‘Coral Ocean’ is still the leading lady 22 years after her launch.
Delivered in 1994, Coral Ocean is one of the defining masterpieces of the late and legendary yacht designer Jon Bannenberg, so her arrival onto the charter scene in summer 2016 inevitably generated much excitement among the industry.
Over the past two decades, the iconic silhouette of superyacht ‘Coral Ocean’ has been the subject of much admiration, whereas her expansive interior has remained somewhat under the radar, with Lurssen CEO, Peter Lurssen, claiming it to be ‘one of the best kept secrets in the industry’.
Yet, following her move onto the charter market, YachtCharterFleet was exclusively invited aboard by the shipyard and can now reveal what was previously shrouded in much mystery. Indeed, although Coral Ocean has spent time at the German yard’s refit facilities, the only changes to note are updates to ensure she complies with today’s charter regulations.
Her living areas and deck spaces remain very much as they were on the day of her launch, and this is testament to the high-quality Lurssen craftsmanship, Jon Bannenberg’s forward-thinking design, and the exceptional level of care and maintenance she has received from both her previous Owner and the shipyard.
Lined up in Port Hercules at the Monaco Yacht Show, Coral Ocean shared the limelight with some of the best superyacht launches of the year, but her clean lines, unique cream coloured hull and magnificent signature staircase continues to cut a strikingly modern figure on the water, and she stood out among her younger counterparts for all the right reasons.
When stepping aboard, it’s immediately obvious that she doesn’t comply with the typical layout of a superyacht. Usually reserved for an alfresco lounge, the main deck aft is actually utilised as a storage place for two of the tenders – one of which is a specially built 8.6m limousine offering - and two jet skis, with word that the space can be cleared to host parties for up to 80 guests.
An entrance hall forward of the tenders leads into the interior where guests can experience the outstanding design work of Bannenberg. Uniform throughout, the living areas are decorated in natural materials such as wood, rough marble and shells, and superbly enhanced with an extensive collection of African and Polynesian art acquired by the original Owner in a New York auction.
Setting these colourful artworks alongside a neutral colour palette of brown woods and pale soft furnishings feels incredibly organic, and the overall look is reminiscent of a luxury African safari lodge as well as the beach house-style décor that is so popular among new launches today.
Setting these colourful artworks alongside a neutral colour palette of brown woods and pale soft furnishings feels incredibly organic
With walls of tree bark, silver leaf and burl birch, the welcoming main salon makes up an aft portion of the main deck. White sofas and armchairs form two cosy seating areas each with its own hand-made coffee table topped with a combination of fractured and polished glass.
A side shell to starboard lifts up overhead along the length of the room to create a balcony overlooking the sea, which was an extremely innovative feature at the time of Coral Ocean’s delivery and has been widely imitated since.
Also noticeable are the video projector and retractable screen, and the hand-tufted virgin wool carpets underfoot. Sourced from New Zealand, they depict waves breaking on the ocean’s surface and are a constant feature throughout the guest areas.
The styling continues into the separate dining room forward, where two circular, glass-topped tables surrounded by white high back chairs can be connected by inserting a piece of the wall panelling to form one large table.
The forward section of a main deck is usually dedicated to the master suite, yet in another deviation from the norm, the galley and other crew areas spread across this space on board Coral Ocean, with the master suite located in a prime position on the top deck forward.
An electronically adjustable bed at the centre of the full-beam sleeping quarters can be elevated to offer magnificent views out through the forward wraparound windows and a huge, circular skylight ensures the space is not short of natural light.
A widescreen television rises from a bureau opposite the bed, and two semi-circular sofas on raised plinths form cosy lounging snugs to port and starboard.
Exotic woods continue to be present in the furniture, with charming touches such as the use of pearlescent shells as drawer handles on the bedside cabinets and decorative feathers from the ancient Inca period gracing the walls.
Completing the suite are his and hers bathrooms, and a large dressing room. Plus, private access is also possible to a suite below, which can serve as either an extension to the master or as a separate VIP suite.
Formed of three distinct but flowing sections, the VIP stateroom sees an en suite and dressing room to port and sleeping quarters to starboard, which extend into a private study aft. A sumptuous U-shaped sofa and wide-screen television ensure this third area can also serve as a comfortable salon.
Along the starboard side of the suite are floor-to-ceiling windows, offering spectacular ocean views and allowing ample natural light to flood inside and highlight the incredible use of wood and artworks, a particular favourite being the two kissing heads supported on a decorative plinth at the end of the double bed.
A burr birch bed frame and wall panels complement the oak parquet floor, while graceful, handmade mahogany chairs pair with the glass-topped desk and the AV furniture is crafted from drift wood by an English artisan.
The remainder of the guest cabins span off a circular central lobby on the lower deck, which is an attraction in itself. Light filters through a circular skylight above, illuminating a fantastic, tiered fountain made from colourful precious stones and pearlescent shell.
Taking design cues from the master and VIP, two double cabins are situated forward, with two twin cabins aft. Despite the reoccurrence of burr birch, the cabins all exert their own individuality thanks to the use of different artworks from the collection.
A corridor leads forward off the central lobby to a staircase up to the main deck entrance hall, while an aft-leading corridor provides access to a gym and spa complex. Although a standard feature today, in 1994 these facilities were considered to a sensation, pointing once again to the innovative forces behind Coral Ocean.
Decorated in vibrant turquoise tiles, the steam room remains in pristine condition and the area leads further aft to a spacious swim platform via a small set of steps.
Light filters through a circular skylight, illuminating a fantastic, tiered fountain made from colourful precious stones and pearlescent shell
Sharing the upper deck with the VIP suite is a skylounge. Located aft of the main staircase, the salon is more informal than the main salon below and much brighter thanks to the continuation of the floor-to-ceiling windows seen in the neighbouring stateroom.
A mirror image to port and starboard, two semi-circular sofas in white upholstery and a scattering of deep armchairs face granite tables custom-made with driftwood and concrete, and upping the entertainment options is a wide-screen television to port.
Sliding, glass doors open to reveal an expansive deck area, busy with three separate seating areas, which can be connected to form one large dining table for up to 12 guests. Side windows can be slid into place to protect the deck from windy weather and allow for extensive use of the area.
Ascend up a level via the iconic exterior staircase and arrive on the top deck. Where the deck below is more suited to formal dining, this space is perfect for casual get-togethers. Twelve bar stools surround a central island where cocktails can be sipped and freshly grilled snacks from the barbecue enjoyed.
A sun lover’s dream, two protuding aft sections to port and starboard form pockets of oversized sun pads, and comfortable deck chairs are scattered around, ensuring there are multiple options for socialising with a small group of close family and friends or taking some quality time out by yourself to unwind.
The sundeck above also makes for a brilliant daytime hub and is accessed via an interior entryway. In another example of Coral Ocean's delightful touches, the lobby here is home to an old slot machine with specially-made coins.
Exiting the hallway forward then leads to a hidden patio area just aft of the master suite, with a port hole into the sun deck's recessed swimming pool. A stairway curves its way around the turquoise-tiled pool, with unimpeded ocean views awaiting at the top.
Equipped with a counter current, guests can take a dip here before drying off in a small alfresco lounge situated under the radar arch. Forward views from here remain unobstructed as the pool is cleverly submerged below the deck’s surface and the remainder of the deck is an uncluttered expanse of teak.
Although newer superyachts are equipped with bigger and better swimming pools, Coral Ocean was one of the first to pioneer the trend and such a feature is now considered a mainstay of a yacht of over 70 metres. This is not to diminish Coral Ocean, however, as her offering is still provides a delightful setting in which to take a refreshing dip.
Her clean lines, unique cream coloured hull and magnificent signature staircase continues to cut a strikingly modern figure on the water
In the words of Peter Lurssen, Coral Ocean is ‘proof that a quality yacht can keep her value, even after so many years’ and there could be no truer words. A contributing factor to her longevity is, of course, Lurssen’s remarkable build quality, reflected in the comparative ease of converting the yacht to comply with today’s charter regulations as well as the general maintenance executed by the yard at regular intervals over the past two decades.
Combine this craftsmanship with the design pedigree of Jon Bannenberg and, as proved by Coral Ocean, you are onto a winner. There is an underlying timelessness to her magnificent interior, as absent of a precedent, it forges its own inimitable style.
Add to this ground-breaking features such as the removable side shell in the main salon, the gym and spa complex, and the sundeck swimming pool, which are all staple components of the latest new builds, and you have Coral Ocean: a true classic, standing the test of time.
Bannenberg & Rowell
Bannenberg & Rowell