Illustration of Orient Express Silenseas (Source: Martin Darzacq)

Orient Express heads out to sea

French hotel and tourism group Accor SA, has signed a letter of intent with French yard Chantiers de l’Atlantique to build two sail-assisted cruise ships of 220m length. The vessels will have luxury accommodation for 90 passengers. They will be operated by Accor's new cruise division, part of the group’s Orient Express luxury train brand.

The first vessel, named Orient Express Silenseas, is scheduled for delivery in 2026. “This exceptional sailing yacht, which has its roots in the history of Orient Express, will offer unparalleled service and refined design spaces reminiscent of the golden age of mythical cruises,” Accor says.

The installation of SolidSail sail rigs, a new type of wind propulsion system which Accor has developed and tested with a first prototype, will contribute significantly to the ship´s propulsion. SolidSail involves three rigid sails with a surface area of 1,500m2 each, with three tilting masts reaching more than 100m high, able to provide up to 100% of the propulsion in suitable weather conditions. This will be combined with a hybrid propulsion system running on LNG. The company plans to use green hydrogen to replace the LNG once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships.

The Orient Express Silenseas will feature 54 cabins measuring on average 70m2 including a very large 1,415m2 presidential suite including a 530m2 private terrace. The vessel will also have two swimming pools, two restaurants and a bar. Architect Maxime d'Angeac will design the interior layout and decor and Nantes-based design company Stirling Design International will handle the exterior architecture.

Hetland Maritime also assisted Accor in creating the project and in the ongoing discussions with Chantiers de l'Atlantique. The entire project will be financed up to 70 to 80% by commercial banks, with the remainder provided by a consortium of equity partners in which Accor will have a minority shareholding.

Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore
Article Editorial staff Ship&Offshore