The following is an excerpt from an article published by CNN;
Before luxury yachting was the preserve of Russian tycoons and Silicon Valley moguls, it was only the world's wealthiest royals who built palaces on the sea.
There have been and continue to be a fleet of imperial yachts used to transport royals, from Russian czars to princes of Monaco, in the opulent fashion to which they are accustomed.
If you thought that Abramovich and his fellow billionaires were the first of their countrymen to build ultra-ostentatious pleasure boats, then think again.
The Russian imperial yacht "Shtandart," built according to the specifications of Emperor Alexander III and his son Nicholas, was the largest imperial yacht on the oceans during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Completed in 1895, the opulent vessel was 401 feet long -- about the length of a soccer pitch -- colossal even by today's immodest standards.
Indeed, "Shtandart" was a veritable floating palace, adorned with mahogany-paneled drawing rooms, formal salons with polished floors, brass fittings, crystal chandeliers and velvet drapes.
The czar's private study was furnished in dark leather and elegant wooden furniture, while the czarina's drawing room and boudoir were bedecked in her favorite English chintz. The imperial yacht even had its own chapel for the private use of the family.
However, Russia's largest royal yacht was also her last. After the revolution in 1917, the ship was stripped of all its elegance, renamed "Vosemnadtsate Martza" and refitted as a drab, gray minelayer for service in the Soviet Navy. The boat was scrapped at Tallinn in Estonia in 1963.
© CNN. 10 March, 2011