Coming Soon: A New Cruise Line with the Largest Sailing Ships in the World

Category: River or Ocean Cruises

Coming Soon: A New Cruise Line with the Largest Sailing Ships in the World
First Ritz-Carlton, then Four Seasons. Now another hotel company is making a splash with its entry into cruising, and Accor is really taking the concept to new heights, announcing it will be sailing with the largest sailing ships in the world.

Not only that, but "Orient Express Silenseas," as the new cruise line is called, ties in with one of the hotel company's most storied brands, the legendary Orient Express luxury trains.

(Although we should point out there could be some confusion. Ultra-luxury hotel, train and micro-cruising/ barge company Belmond operates a rail journey called the "Venice-Simplon Orient Express." There's no connection between the Belmond use of the name and Accor's. Accor is the parent company of such iconic luxury hotels and resorts as Fairmont, Raffles and Sofitel, and it retains the Orient Express brand name, which, in addition to the new cruise line, it also intends to expand into a number of luxury hotels in the coming decade.)

Accor has partnered with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l'Atlantique to launch Orient Express Silenseas, that it says will reflect the luxury hospitality of the legendary Orient Express trains. Two ships have been ordered, the first due to launch in 2026.

They will be eye-catching, to say the least, and a truly unique entry into the increasingly crowded field of small-ship, luxury cruising.

3-Masted 'SolidSail' Design Plus Eco Credentials

Capitalizing on the experience of Chantiers de l'Atlantique's expertise in ocean racing, Orient Express Silenseas will sail with a revolutionary technological design known as 'SolidSail': three rigid sails with three tilting masts reaching more than 100 meters high, able to ensure up to 100% of the propulsion in suitable weather conditions.

This hybrid propulsion formula will combine wind power with a state-of-the-art engine running on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and plans to use green hydrogen once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships, launching a new, more environmentally friendly vision of sea travel.

"This concept, born in our design offices in 2018, is the quintessence of our savoir-faire in the fields of naval architecture, the construction of sophisticated hulls, as well as the design of luxurious spaces," said Laurent Castaing, Managing Director, Chantiers de l'Atlantique.

Translating Luxury Rail Legacy to Modern Cruising

"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 Sébastien Bazin, Accor's Chairman and CEO.
"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.

It turns out, there is a connection between cruising and the world's most legendary luxury train, a connection that is coming full circle 140 years after the first Orient Express trains.

In 1867, prior to founding Orient Express trains, Georges Nagelmackers boarded the transatlantic ships connecting Europe to America and set off on a journey of discovery to the United States. Fascinated by the grandeur of these huge ships, he explored the luxurious travelers' suites, experienced the social scene in the restaurants and the unique ambiance of the lounges, libraries and entertainment venues. Nagelmackers' sea travel experience would later inspire the 1883 launch of his now legendary train: the Orient Express.

The new cruise line, Orient Express Silenseas, was inspired by his 19th century sea journey as well as the Golden Age of the French Riviera, the company says.

Modern-Day Cruise Luxury and Innovation

Alongside French glamor is a very modern sense of luxury cruising.

Orient Express Silenseas will feature 54 spacious suites plus a "monumental" Presidential Suite with a massive private terrace. The ships are equipped with not one, but two swimming pools including a lap pool, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar as well as spa treatments and meditation sessions.

Novel to sailed cruising, Orient Express Silensea guests will be able to experience performances in its "Amphitheatre-Cabaret" and there's even a private recording studio.

This unique travel experience, the company says will be "guided by the winds, " and will feature explorations to discover cultural treasures in ports of call.

By: Lynn Elmhirst Producer and Host, World's Greatest Cruises

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Images courtesyAccor/ Orient Express Silenseas

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