Accor reveals revolutionary ocean entry for Orient Express

Two sailing ships of the future to be launch in March 2026 and September 2027

French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique has taken its first letter of intent (LOI) to purchase its revolutionary sailing ship of the future from Accor, for Orient Express – an ultra-luxury hospitality brand within the group’s stable.

Accor is the latest hotelier to make a move onto the open sea. Other hotel brands that have entered the ultra-luxury marine vessel segment include The Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons and Aman.

Orient Express Silenseas, at 220-metres in length, is billed as the “largest sailing ship in the world” and features three SolidSail rigs, a revolutionary 1,500 square metre sail propulsion system. Orient Express Silenseas will feature 54 suites (at an average area of ​​70 sqm) including a Presidential Suite of 1,415 sqm (including a 530 sqm private terrace) – spread across four decks. Accor’s design will have two double spiral staircases, a swimming corridor suspended between two bridges, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar, a 550 sqm spa and marina.

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The rigid sails – made of glass-polyester panels – and 3 tilting masts will be able to provide up to 100% propulsion in suitable weather conditions. And for a more environmentally friendly voyage at sea, a hybrid formula will combine wind power with a state-of-the-art engine running on LNG, which will allow the use of green hydrogen once technologies are accepted for an ocean-going passenger vessel.

The French-born hospitality juggernaut has ordered two of this new style of sailing yachts with Chantiers de l’Atlantique, the first of which will be delivered in March 2026 and the second in September 2027.

Bloomberg reports that Orient Express Silenseas will operate in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, with bookings set to open in 2024.

“With Orient Express Silenseas, we are opening a new chapter in our history: the experience and excellence of luxury travel transposed to the most beautiful seas in the world,” said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, Accor.

An aerial render of Orient Express Silenseas

“This exceptional sailboat, with roots anchored in the history of Orient Express, will offer unparalleled service and spaces with refined designs, reminiscent of the golden age of legendary cruises. Innovation is at the heart of this ultra-modern sailboat which will revolutionise the maritime world with new technologies to meet sustainable challenges. A sailboat designed to leave room for dreams, and a setting welcoming the best of French know-how,” Bazin added.

© Maxime dAngeac and Marti Darzac for Orient Express

Laurent Castaing, Managing Director, Chantiers de l’Atlantique said the LOI marks 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 fitting out of sophisticated hulls, as well as the layout of luxurious premises.”

Chantiers de l’Atlantique has already developed and tested a prototype of the Silenseas vessel. Castaing said the design’s hybrid sail and LNG-fueled propulsion system “will thus be the benchmark ship in environmental terms.”

The French shipyard has previously released a video for its Silenseas project (see below), though the vessel depicted was 190 metres in length and had a capacity of 300 guests.

Accor says Orient Express Silenseas will be a tribute to artists and culture, with guests invited into the world of entertainment in the ship’s Amphitheatre-Cabaret and a private recording studio.

“A unique travel experience punctuated by the winds, where Spa treatments, meditation sessions and stopovers to discover cultural treasures will help you disconnect from time.

Maxime d’Angeac is the architect tasked to design the interior layout and the decorations, while the fellow French design agency Stirling Design International, of Nantes, designed the exterior lines.

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