From rail to sail: a first look at the new Orient Express ship

 (Accor)
(Accor)

The illustrious Orient Express has a big couple of years ahead of it. Accor, its parent company, has announced new routes for the train service, including a whole Italian experience — La Dolce Vita — set to launch in 2024, which will transport lucky passengers across the Amalfi coast in style.

The latest announcement from Accor is steering the Orient Express off its traditional tracks and to the high seas on its new yacht, the Orient Express Silenseas.

Passengers will have the opportunity to travel across Mediterranean in the summer months, with stops like Portofino, Capri and Saint Tropez, or take to the Caribbean during the winter, for balmy sailing experiences all year round.

Despite its size, Silenseas promises the levels of intimacy and luxury the Orient Express is typically known for. The 220-metre-long boat boasts 54 suites, measuring an average of 70 square metres, as well as a 1,215 square metre presidential suite with its own terrace.

“Reminiscent of the golden age of mythical cruises,” the Orient Express Silenseas is hopping aboard the recent wave of cruise popularity, thanks to the industry making its post-pandemic comeback, with certain cruise companies even reporting historically high booking numbers coming into 2023.

The Silenseas yacht also features two swimming pools, two restaurants, a speakeasy bar, state of the art ampitheatre and recording studio. To top it all off, it’s relatively sustainable sailing too — with a hybrid propulsion system that runs on liquefied natural gas.

 (Accor)
(Accor)

The first crop of travellers will cast off in 2026, 140 years after the Orient Express first launched. This new endeavour is inspired by the Golden Age of the French Riviera, when Brigitte Bardot reigned as the “queen of the Côte D’Azur” and photographer Slim Aarons was capturing the glamour snap by snap.

This glamour will follow guests on board, where they can enjoy spa treatments, meditation sessions and stopover explorations, allowing guests to “completely unplug from reality and stop time.”

The ship’s interior — which we can’t yet catch a glimpse of — will be designed by renowned architect Maxime d'Angeac, who is also responsible for the opulent Orient Express train carriage interiors, as well as the interior design for the Orient Express’s new hotels.

The interior of an Orient Express carriage, designed by Maxime d'Angeac. The Silenseas’ interior will also be designed by d’Angeac (Orient Express)
The interior of an Orient Express carriage, designed by Maxime d'Angeac. The Silenseas’ interior will also be designed by d’Angeac (Orient Express)

"With Orient Express Silenseas, we are beginning a new chapter in our history,” says Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO of Accor, “taking the experience and excellence of luxury travel and transposing it onto the world’s most beautiful seas.

“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."