Not to be outdone by other land-based luxury hoteliers expanding out to sea, Orient Express and parent company Accor, have unveiled plans for the world's largest sailing yacht, the Orient Express Silenseas, which will begin sailing in 2026.
Two Orient Express sailing ships will be built by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, the same company that is building two yachts for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.
"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," said Sebastien Bazin, chairman and CEO of Accor. "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."
According to Orient Express, it was sea travel by the founder of the company that inspired the grand interiors of the train.
"Fascinated by the grandeur of these huge boats, the founder of Orient Express trains explored the luxurious travelers' suites, with their rich and sumptuous décor, adorned with exceptional marquetry. He experienced the social scene in the restaurants and the unique ambiance of the lounges, libraries and entertainment venues. This sea travel experience would later inspire the 1883 launch of his now legendary train: the Orient Express."
Orient Express Silenseas will be a 721-foot-long sailing yacht, featuring an high-tech "sails" concept common in ocean racing, called "SolidSail." The three rigid sails will have a surface area of 16,000 feet each, along with three tilting masts, each towering 100 feet into the air, and capable of providing 100% propulsion in suitable weather conditions.
The hybrid propulsion system will combine wind power with a state-of-the-art engine running on LNG fuel. It will be capable of using green hydrogen (once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships.)
The ultra-luxury ship will have 54 suites measuring, on average, 753 square feet. The largest suite onboard will be the 15,000+ square foot Presidential Suite (including a 5,700-square-foot private terrace). The sailing ship will also have two swimming pools, including a lap pool, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar.
Passengers will be able to take in shows at the Amphitheatre-Cabaret, while a private recording studio will be available to those who are interested.
Wellness onboard will include spa treatments and meditation sessions.
Accor is the fourth land-based hospitality company with plans to expand into cruising. The Ritz-Carlton Collection launched last year with Evrima, while Riverside Luxury Cruises (owned by the Seaside Collection) launches its river cruise line this spring. The Four Seasons launches its yacht product in 2025.