Orient Express to offer luxury cruises on "world's largest sailing ship"
While luxury travel firm Orient Express is best known for its train excursions, it's now branching out into cruises … in a big way. The company has just unveiled what will reportedly be the world's largest sailing ship, the Orient Express Silenseas.
The hybrid sailing yacht is the product of a partnership between two French firms – Orient Express' parent company Accor, and the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipbuilding company. It's scheduled to enter service in 2026.
Measuring 220 meters long (722 ft), the Orient Express Silenseas will utilize three rigid SolidSail sails. Each one will have a surface area of 1,500 sq m (16,146 sq ft), and will be mounted on its own 100-m (328-ft)-tall tilting mast. The idea is that when weather conditions are suitable, these sails will provide 100% of the vessel's propulsion.
When the sails aren't quite enough on their own, a liquefied natural gas engine will kick in to make up the difference. Orient Express says that it plans on switching to green hydrogen, once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships.
As far as accommodations go, the Silenseas will offer 54 suites, almost all of which will measure an average of 70 sq m (753 sq ft). The one big exception is the 1,415-sq-m (15,231-sq-ft) Presidential Suite, which will include a 530-sq-m (5,705-sq-ft) private terrace.
Amongst the onboard attractions will be two swimming pools (including a lap pool), two restaurants, a speakeasy-type bar, an amphitheater-cabaret with a private recording studio, and a spa. Like most cruise ships, it will also stop in at various ports, where passengers can disembark for land-based excursions.
That being said, it's not immediately clear where the Silenseas will operate, although Orient Express does state that the vessel was "inspired by the golden age of the French Riviera." It should also have a sister ship, as Chantiers de l’Atlantique reportedly has "a signed letter of intent to order two ships."
Source: Orient Express