AS a youngster, I thrilled to the underwater adventures of Captain Nemo as he dived deep below the waves in Jules Verne’s classic Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Seas.
His Nautilus submarine was a rare wonder, the conflicted captain a complex character, and the book, remarkably dating way back to 1870, helped spark a lifetime love of science fiction.
Fiction, of course, has long since become fact and I have been fortunate to dive in submarines in the Caribbean Cayman Islands, and to the bottom of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva.
But now, things have really come full circle with the design debut of a £22 million maritime marvel named Nautilus, which is part superyacht and part submarine.
Nautilus at anchor
Dutch boatbuilder U-Boat Worx describes her – sorry for casual sexism but boats will always be ‘her’ to me – as “the ultimate adventure vessel”, capable of diving to a depth of 150 metres.
What’s more, the look of the new vessel has been directly inspired by the submarine that captured my imagination on visits to the local library’s small science fiction section all those years ago.
Our first look at Nautilus came late last year when the boatbuilder unveiled initial CGI images of the exterior of the 37.7m long vessel, and now we have chance to look at the luxury inside, too.
Swirling design reflects ocean currents
Computer images of the interior reveal striking surrounds created by design studio Officina Armare, with both public and bedrooms boasting huge windows to make the most of underwater views.
Relaxing in the saloon lounge
In one great image, passengers can be seen lounging on stylish sofas, watching a Grand Prix F1 race on a television between two windows through which fish can be seen swimming around.
Much as I enjoy watching Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton & Co roaring round the track, I don’t think I’d be able to take my eyes off the underwater scenes playing out in the ocean outside!
Stylish up top, too
With a seagoing range of 3,200 nautical miles, Nautilus will be manned by seven crew members and accommodate as many as 10 guests, who can enjoy a luxurious life on, and below, the ocean waves.
Stateroom with a view
Spacious staterooms boast more of those amazing views with floor to ceiling windows, while public rooms include the saloon and a potentially show-stealing mezzanine observation lounge.
Mezzanine Observation Lounge
And there surely can’t be a bar boasting more sensational views!
Relaxing at the bar
Up on top, the deck lounges maintain design standards; the sundeck offers an al fresco lounge and hot tub – and did I mention that there’s a gym so that you can keep fit on your travels?
Powered by diesel-electric propulsion and a lithium battery system, Nautilus is still on the designers’ drawing board at the moment but U-Boat Worx say she could be delivered within 30 months.
Dining with a view
Chief executive Bert Houtman says: “The Nautilus embodies the ultimate combination of luxury and innovation. Our collaboration with Officina Armare has resulted in a truly exceptional vessel.
“Our goal has always been to share the wonders of the underwater world with people in the safest, most luxurious and comfortable way possible. The Nautilus is the realisation of that vision.”
Visit nautilus-submarine.com or more information. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the Verne book title, it was originally in the plural, first published as Vingt Mille Lieues Sous Les Mers.
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