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Orient Express heads to sea as Accor launches maiden cruise operation

What was once a luxury train is now afloat…

The new Orient Express yacht will feature 54 suites including an enormous Presidential Suite.

Famed luxury rail brand, Orient Express, is changing course and heading out to sea in the form of a luxury superyacht to be developed by Accor and shipbuilding giant, Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

Known as Orient Express Silenseas, Accor describes its new vessel as “the world’s largest sailing ship” which it says will evoke the golden age of mythical cruises, backed by unparalleled service and refined design spaces.

The French hotel giant has signed a letter of intent with Saint-Nazaire based Chantiers de l'Atlantique – builders of the MSC Cruises fleet – for two vessels, with the first earmarked to set sail in 2026.

Each ship will feature three innovative wind propulsion systems built into the rigid sail structure which will be backed by liquefied natural gas as an alternate power source. Three masts soaring 100 metres into the sky will complement the ship’s traditional sailboat aura.

Onboard will be 54 suites, measuring 70 square metres on average and scaling up to the palatial 1,415 square metre Presidential Suite, which itself will boast a private 530-square metre terrace.

The Orient Express superyacht is expected to set sail in 2026.

Guests will be able to enjoy two swimming pools including a lap pool, two restaurants, a bar, an amphitheatre and a private recording studio which will double as a day spa.

Accor Chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin, said Orient Express was beginning a new chapter in its storied history.

"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."

The new Orient Express yacht continues a growing conga-line of luxury hotel brands pivoting into cruise operations.

Marriott’s Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection set sail in 2022 after several years of development, with its current fleet consisting of three vessels, each with 149 suites.

The concept proved alluring too for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, which last year unveiled its own trio of yachts to take to the high seas from 2025 with 95 suites including an incredible four-deck penthouse built into the ship’s funnel.


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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 13 January 2023

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