In 1884, real estate magnate John Jacob Astor IV purchased what was then the largest yacht in the world. He named it Nourmahal—shortened to Norma—after the heroine in a Thomas Moore poem; he eventually passed it down to his son, and later it was loaned to the U.S. Navy during World War I. In honor of that legendary vessel, the St. Regis (which was founded by Astor) has launched a new ship as glamorous as its 19th-century inspiration.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort’s new Azimut Flybridge 66 is both the first Azimut model to be specially-commissioned by a hotel, and one of the world’s most technologically advanced ships, making it the ultimate choice for navigating the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Norma’s three cabins are outfitted with elevated furnishings and hotel room–style touches, while shared spaces include cushy indoor and outdoor lounging and dining areas.
The sleek yacht can host up to eight guests for day trips, and sleeps six for overnight sailings. Day excursions might include journeys to top spots for snorkeling, diving, or sealife spotting, or sunset cruises to enjoy the stunning colors of the region, paired with drinks and light bites. Overnight trips are ideal for families and small groups, or as a romantic couple’s getaway, and include all meals and a Champagne sabering ceremony at sunset on the day of boarding.
Meals and staff are on par with what guests enjoy at the St. Regis Maldives resort, where the stunning suite and villa options include the largest three-bedroom overwater villa in the Maldives—named (of course) the John Jacob Astor Estate.
The Norma is available for bookings by the hour, with a minimum of 4 hours (typically including 2 hours sailing time, and 2 hours to explore the waters). Hourly rates range from $1,950 to $2,500, depending on the season. Daily charters are available for up to 8 hours (with a minimum of 4 hours sailing time), and range from $14,000 to $18,000. Overnight stays start at $25,000.