Savarona (Ex-Gunes Dil)
LENGTH: 440ft. (134m)
SHIPYARD: Blohm+ Voss, Germany
A New York Times journalist writing about Savarona in 1931 described it as being the “size of a small ocean liner.” Only the British royal yacht Victoria and Albert and the Italian royal yacht Savoia exceeded the yacht’s length at the time. While the yacht’s design has sometimes been attributed to Cox & Stephens, her design was the work of prominent naval architect William Francis Gibbs (who indeed joined Cox in 1929). Philadelphia socialite Emily Roebling Cadwalader (granddaughter of the man who created the Brooklyn Bridge) and her husband commissioned this great yacht in Germany. While they cruised on the yacht, the couple rarely—if ever—brought her to US shores. The vessel’s next owner was the Turkish government, which presented the yacht to President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the revered founder of modern Turkey. He only enjoyed her for a short while. Sometime after his death, the Turkish Navy started using the vessel for training. After a severe 1979 fire nearly destroyed her, Savarona, known then as Gunes Dil, languished in a state of disrepair. Kahraman Sadikoglu, a prominent Turkish businessman, decided to rescue the grand dame, which had become part of Turkey’s history. The president of Tuzla Shipyard and owner of a wreck and salvage company, Sadikoglu embarked on a massive project in 1989. After signing a 49-year lease with the Turkish government, he set out to restore the yacht, enlisting designer Donald Starkey to recreate her original splendor. Diana Yacht Design did the yacht’s electrical and air conditioning engineering. The three-year restoration project included a new interior, designed to recall the gilded age during which she cruised, and the installation of new diesel-electric engines. Today, guests ascend a stunning sweeping staircase with ornate bronze banister, a replica of the original, and relax in the yacht’s Turkish bath or one of 17 individually themed and spacious suites. She has a helicopter pad, gymnasium and medical facility. When she started sailing again in May 1992, tour operator Travcoa offered sold a cruise for $26,900 per person, including three nights in Monaco Carlo and three nights in a British estate at the end of the cruise. Savarona is available for private charters. She stays around Istanbul during winter month and cruises the Mediterranean in summer.
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