The Orient Express made an indelible statement on the world of luxury travel, during a time when it necessarily was an excruciatingly slow – yet utterly decadent – affair. The now-legendary brand encompasses everything that is romantic about a luxury train experience, including opulent staterooms, glamorous entertainment and of course, full champagne service.
140 years later, hospitality brand Accor – managing the Orient Express brand since 2017 – is bringing that same sense of fabulous, ultra-leisurely travel to the ocean with the Orient Express Silenseas.
Come 2026, what the brand says will be the world’s largest sailing ship – measuring 220m from bow to stern – will take to the seas, fully powered by good ol’ wind – at least when conditions are right for the three massive sails, each packing a surface area of 1,500 sqm. Otherwise, an engine running on liquefied natural gas will kick in to keep things moving.
Still, it’s a clear indication of two priorities: the first, a commitment to an environmentally-friendly vision for sea travel, in line with contemporary sensibilities; the second, a nod to the brand’s heritage, wherein its well-heeled passengers never, ever have to be anywhere in a hurry.
But they do have to get there in style, which is why the Orient Express Silenseas – constructed in collaboration with shipbuilders Chantiers de’lAtlantique – will only have 54 suites, accommodating some 120 passengers. These rooms average out at 70 sqm, though passengers can splash out for the Presidential Suite – all 1415 sqm of it, complete with 530sqm private terrace.
Other facilities include a lap pool, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar, as well as a state-of-the-art amphitheater and recording studio. Wellness options like spa treatments and meditation sessions will be available too.
While image renders for rooms haven’t been released yet, we can probably safely expect elegant décor with fancy finishings befitting the brand’s legacy.
The Orient Express Silenseas’s voyages begin circa 2026 along the Mediterranean riviera, with ports of call at Capri, Portofino and Saint Tropez. The brand will begin taking in reservations two years earlier.
Says Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor: “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,” he adds.