Orient Express Silenseas to debut as world’s largest sailing ship

Orient Express Silenseas
Orient Express Silenseas

Accor has announced the fabled Orient Express will take to the seas as the world’s largest sailing ship in 2026.

The Orient Express, a luxurious sleeper train with an illustrious history, will transfer its trademark opulence to the seas when Orient Express Silenseas debuts in 2026. Set to be the world’s largest sailing ship, the project is a collaboration between the hospitality behemoth, Accor, and shipbuilding company, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

Measuring 220 metres and weighing 22,300 tons, the ship will feature 54 suites with an average size of 70 square metres, two swimming pools including a lap pool, two restaurants, and a speakeasy bar. The pièce de résistance of the accommodation offering will be the 1,415-square-metre Presidential Suite with a 530-square-metre private terrace.

An amphitheatre-cabaret will host entertainment, while spa treatments, meditation sessions, and stopovers in fascinating destinations will all form part of the guest experience.

“With Orient Express Silenseas, we are beginning a new chapter in our history, taking the experience and excellence of luxury travel and transposing it onto the world’s most beautiful seas. This exceptional sailing yacht, with roots in Orient Express’ history, will offer unparalleled service and refined design spaces, reminiscent of the golden age of mythical cruises. Innovation is at the heart of this ultra-modern ship that will revolutionize the maritime world with new technology to meet today’s sustainability challenges. It is a boat designed to make dreams a reality, a showcase for the best of French savoir-faire”, said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, Accor.

Design notes

The renowned architect Maxime d’Angeac, the studio also behind the interiors for the new Orient Express train, in addition to other five-star projects such as Guerlain’s decadent Parisian spa, will design the ship’s interior layout and décor. Nantes-based design company Stirling Design International has been tasked with exterior architecture.

Sustainability notes

SolidSail technology will be implemented onboard the ship, encompassing three rigid sails with a surface area of 1,500 metres. In suitable weather conditions, the sails will ensure 100 per cent of the ship’s propulsion. A state-of-the-art engine will run on LNG, with plans to use green hydrogen once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships.

Orient Express train

The Orient Express train was originally launched in 1883, linking Paris to Constantinople in less than 76 hours. Its rebirth in 2025 will see travellers board 17 of the original Orient Express cars dating to the 1920s and 1930s, reimagined with an original 1920s-inspired design by architect, Maxime d’Angeac.

Orient Express hotels are set to open in Rome and Venice in 2024, with Riyadh also in the pipeline.

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