140 years after the launch of its first luxury trains, the Orient Express legend continues with the unveiling of the world’s largest passenger yacht, Orient Express Silenseas. This revolutionary vessel is an ambitious undertaking that pushes the limits of what is possible. Setting sail in 2026, Orient Express Silenseas is the result of a partnership between world hospitality leader Accor and global shipbuilding leader Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
Orient Express Silenseas is the latest in a series of ventures of world-renowned hotel brands expanding into cruise. Over the past few years, the cruise industry has seen the introduction of new players from Virgin Voyages to Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Aman. As more luxury hotel brands enter the industry, this will open up the world of cruising to a larger audience than ever before and bring these two industries closer together. With an increased focus on luxury and smaller, yacht-sized vessels featuring higher staff-to-passenger levels, these hotel brands are transforming the cruise industry as we know it and providing new experiences for passengers.
“With the signing of this letter of intent to order two ships, Chantiers de l’Atlantique is proud to herald a new era in the shipbuilding industry with Silenseas. This concept, born in our design offices in 2018, is the quintessence of our know-how in the fields of naval architecture, the construction of sophisticated hulls, as well as the design of luxurious spaces.Laurent Castaing, Managing Director, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
Inspired luxurious interior designs
In 1867 the founder of the Orient Express trains, Georges Nagelmackers, boarded the transatlantic ships travelling from Europe to America. On board, he was captivated by the grandeur ship’s interior designs. These ranged from the rich and sumptuous decor of the luxurious traveler’s suites to the luxurious ambience and design of the lounges, libraries and entertainment venues. This sea travel experience later inspired the 1883 launch of his legendary train, the Orient Express.
Now, inspired by the golden age of the French Riviera, Orient Express Silenseas will pay homage to the glorious era when writers, artists, painters, sovereigns and movie stars spent time travelling between the Monte-Carlo, Saint-Tropez, Cap d’Antibes, Cannes and its Croisette.
“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’s history, will offer unparalleled service and refined design spaces, reminiscent of the golden age of legendary cruises.Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, Accor
A 220-meter-long ocean treasure with a tonnage of 22,300 UMS, Orient Express Silenseas will feature 54 suites measuring 70 square meters. These include a monumental, 1,415-square-meter Presidential Suite (including 530 square meters of private terrace). Guests will also be treated to two swimming pools including a lap pool, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar. On board, the cruise ship designs will be the quintessence of luxury, absolute comfort and dreams.
A world of enrichment and entertainment
A tribute to artists and culture, Orient Express Silenseas will invite guests to enter a world of entertainment in its Amphitheatre-Cabaret. A private recording studio will give a voice to the most beautiful melodies. The unique travel experience, guided by the winds, will feature spa treatments, meditation sessions and stopover explorations. These will allow passengers to discover cultural treasures that allow them to pause and unplug from reality.
A sustainable cruise ship design
Capitalizing on the experience of experts in offshore racing, Orient Express Silenseas will sail with a revolutionary technological design known as ‘SolidSail’. This involves three rigid sails with a surface area of 1,500 meters. These will each be hoisted on a balestron rig, with three tilting masts standing at 100 meters. The sails will be able to provide up to 100% propulsion in suitable weather conditions. For a more environmentally friendly voyage at sea, a hybrid formula will combine wind power with a state of the art engine running on liquefied natural gas (LNG). There are also further plans to use green hydrogen once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships. This will mark the beginning of a more environmentally friendly era of sea travel.
The installation of three SolidSail rigs, a revolutionary 1,500 square meter unit wind propulsion system of which we have developed and tested a first prototype, will contribute significantly to the propulsion of the ship. Combined with hybrid propulsion system running on liquefied natural gas (LNG), Silenseas will thus become the benchmark terms of environmentally friendly operation and design.Laurent Castaing, Managing Director, Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s latest feat, Orient Express Silenseas, brings together the best of French talents. Renowned architect Maxime d’Angeac will design the cruise interior layout and decor. The exterior architecture of the vessel will be designed by the Nantes-based design agency Stirling Design International. Hetland Maritime also assisted Accor in the project ideation and ongoing discussions with Chantiers de l’Atlantique. The entire project will be 70-80% financed by commercial banks. The remainder will be provided by a consortium of shareholders in which Accor will have a minority stake.
About Orient Express, part of Accor Group
Artisan of travel since 1883, Orient Express sublimates the Art of Travel with its luxury trains, unique experiences, and collections of rare objects. Coming soon, it will launch its first hotels, Orient Express La Minerva in Rome and Orient Express Palazzo Donà Giovanelli in Venice. These two establishments will open in 2024. The luxury travel experience will also continue with the launch of the Orient Express La Dolce Vita and the return of the legendary Orient Express to railways.
Accor is a world-leading hospitality group, consisting of 5,300 properties and 10,000 food and beverage venues across 110 countries. These now include Accor’s recent expansion into Peru with the signing of the Novotel Punta Sal. The group has one of the industry’s most diverse and fully integrated hospitality ecosystems. This encompasses over 40 luxury, premium, midscale and economy hotel brands, entertainment and nightlife venues, restaurants and bars, branded private residences, shared accommodation properties, concierge services, co-working spaces and more.
About Chantiers de l’Atlantique
Chantiers de l’Atlantique is an essential leader in the fields of design, integration, testing and turnkey delivery of cruise ships, military vessels, electrical substations for offshore wind farms and fleet services. The company is at the heart of tomorrow’s challenges. Thanks to its research and development, Chantiers de l’Atlantique now offers cruise ship designs at the forefront of environmental performance. It also offers equipment for offshore wind power, which makes it a major player in the energy transition.