Orient Express Heads to the Seas, Unveils World’s Largest Sailing Ship

One-hundred forty years after the launch of its first luxury trains, Orient Express has unveiled plans to launch the world's largest sailing ship, Orient Express Silenseas. The ship will be created in partnership between Orient Express’ owner Accor and leading shipbuilding company Chantiers de l'Atlantique. It is expected to set sail in 2026.

The announcement comes as a slew of luxury hotel brands are setting to the seas. Last fall, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection made its long-awaited debut, after years of delays. Around the same time, Four Seasons announced a partnership with luxury cruise industry veteran Larry Pimentel to launch Four Seasons Yachts. It also marks a period of growth for the Orient Express brand, which was only revitalized by Accor in 2017. The company has plans to operate 10 hotels in the brand by 2030.

This project, however, has been in the works since 2018. Guests can expect an ultra-modern sailing ship that’s inspired by the “Golden Age of the French Riviera.”

A 720-foot-long ship, Orient Express Silenseas will have just 54 suites measuring on average 751 square feet, including a massive 15,230-square-foot Presidential Suite (which includes its 5,700-square-foot private terrace). There will also be, two swimming pools (including a lap pool), two restaurants and a speakeasy bar.

Orient Express Silenseas rendering

Guests can also enjoy shows at the ship’s Amphitheatre-Cabaret and make use of the private recording studio. On the wellness side, spa treatments and meditation sessions will be available, while stopover explorations to discover cultural treasures allow guests to further unplug.

Orient Express Silenseas will sail with a technological design known as “SolidSail”—three rigid sails with a surface area of 16,000 feet each will be hoisted on a balestron rig, with three tilting masts reaching 330 feet high, able to ensure up to 100 percent of the propulsion in suitable weather conditions. This hybrid propulsion formula will combine wind power with an engine running on liquefied natural gas (LNG). As well, there are plans to use green hydrogen once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships, offering an even more environmentally friendly vision of sea travel.

Architect Maxime d'Angeac will design the interior layout and decor and Nantes-based design company Stirling Design International will handle the exterior architecture. Hetland Maritime also assisted Accor in creating the project and in the ongoing discussions with Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

Good to know: Accor signed a letter of intent to order two ships through Chantiers de l'Atlantique, so another vessel is on the horizon.

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