Refits of older megayachts often lead to significant changes in configuration and decor. So, you’d imagine, a 22-year-old megayacht would look radically different today compared to how she did at delivery. An exception—and exceptional one, at that—is Coral Ocean. Built as Coral Island by Lürssen, the 238-footer (72.55-meter) retains her original Jon Bannenberg-designed looks inside, as well as outside. In fact, the only changes made during her refit, by her builder, were done to comply with commercial (a.k.a. charter) codes. As much as you might expect to step into the past while stepping aboard, you actually enter a timeless, floating beach home. Bannenberg’s deft design skills are on display in every corner, as if they were just completed.
“This boat is where the tribal vibe began,” comments Dickie Bannenberg of Bannenberg & Rowell, who worked alongside his father for a number of years. Distinct masks and other ethnic artwork of African, Asian, and Polynesian origin adorn a variety of rooms. Tones of brown and cream set a neutral backdrop for the more colorful pieces, but also complement the shells, rough stone, driftwood, and other natural elements in abundance. “Jon wanted the antithesis of bling,” Dickie explains. Clearly, so did the original owner. So, too, do the current owners of Coral Ocean.
More impressive, Coral Ocean shows off a handful of features that were decades ahead of their time. A significant one is the spa. Containing a steam room and a gym, and accessible straight from the four below-deck guest staterooms, it was unheard of to see this in the 1990s. The spa additionally leads out to the swim platform, just as it did all those years ago.
Opening bulwarks and folding balconies are all the rage these days. Imagine, then, the initial conversation between the owner and Jon Bannenberg nearly 30 years ago. As Coral Island, Coral Ocean was the first yacht to feature flip-up bulkheads for a guest area, the saloon (below). As if the 42’8” (13.04-meter) beam wasn’t already impressive here, the sensation of space really stands out. Come nighttime, refreshing breezes can make cozy movie nights more enjoyable. The saloon contains a retractable screen and video projector.
Master suites more like penthouse apartments may seem like a modern trend, but Coral Ocean has one just as she did when first launched. The sleeping space boasts a significant-size skylight, plus views out wraparound windows. No neck-craning goes on to see the sunrise, though. The owners need only press a button, and the bed rises up electrically—pretty high, too. The owners’ suite occupies nearly the entire interior of the uppermost deck. Guests get nearly as nice of a royal treatment aboard. The VIP, on the upper deck, has an adjacent study that doubles as a TV lounge. The remaining four guest staterooms below decks have individual decor themes.
Charter guests have an abundance of areas to enjoy aboard Coral Ocean. The sundeck pool, with a counter-current flow, is the ideal place to spend a day. Kids, and kids at heart, will particularly like the porthole-like window in the side of the pool, facing a patio-like area a few steps below. With 27 crew aboard, Coral Ocean is as adaptable to big parties as she is intimate family travel. In fact, when the tenders are cleared from the main aft deck, 80 people can mix and mingle with ease.
Charter guests who cruise aboard Coral Ocean are in for an experience beyond compare. This is no hyperbole. In her original owner’s hands until recent years, she was cloaked in privacy. Furthermore, no photos shoots ever took place on or inside her decks, nor were media ever aboard. The new owners, who include principals at Lürssen, clearly are taking quite a different approach. (That approach already started, with tours, including media tours, at the recent Monaco Yacht Show.) Because there’s so much to make this megayacht worthy of attention, we’ve created an independent photo gallery of Coral Ocean.