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Orient Express to launch a surprising 721ft cruise ship in 2026, with two pools and a recording studio

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It looks prefer it’s on the right track to be an incredible experience.

100 and forty years after the debut of its first luxury trains, Orient Express is launching its first cruise ship, inspired by the golden age of the French Riviera.

Named Orient Express Silenseas, the vessel, making its maiden voyage in 2026, is alleged to be the ‘world’s largest sailing ship’ at 220m (721ft) in length and with a gross tonnage of twenty-two,300.

Promising to be an ‘extraordinary sailing yacht of the long run’ with ‘spectacular’ interiors, the glittering features on board include two swimming pools, a speakeasy bar and a non-public recording studio.

The Orient Express is launching its first-ever cruise ship – Orient Express Silenseas, a luxury vessel that is inspired by the golden age of the French Riviera

The posh train brand traces its roots back to the seas, a press release reveals. It says that in 1867, Orient Express founder Georges Nagelmackers sailed to the U.S on transatlantic ships and was ‘fascinated by the grandeur’ of those huge boats.

After exploring the luxurious travellers’ suites and experiencing the social scene within the restaurants and the atmosphere of the lounges, libraries and entertainment venues, he was inspired to launch the Orient Express train in 1883.

This latest chapter within the history of Orient Express sees the ‘legendary train head out to sea’ in a partnership between the French hospitality brand Accor and the French shipbuilding company Chantiers de l’Atlantique. 

A press release reveals: ‘Orient Express Silenseas will echo the fantastic era when writers, artists, painters, princesses and movie stars hung out between Monte-Carlo, the beaches of Saint-Tropez, Cap d’Antibes, Cannes and its famous Croisette and discovered a refinement tinged with exquisite insouciance and joie de vivre, inviting them to extreme escapades.’

The glittering features on board the ship, which launches in 2026, include two swimming pools, a speakeasy bar and a private recording studio

The glittering features on board the ship, which launches in 2026, include two swimming pools, a speakeasy bar and a non-public recording studio 

In total, there will likely be 54 suites on the cruise ship, measuring a median of 70 sq m (753 sq ft). This features a ‘monumental’ Presidential Suite, which sprawls over 1,415 sq m (15,230 sq ft) and includes a 530-sq-m (5,704 sq ft) private terrace.

The 2 swimming pools on board include a lap pool, and post-swim, passengers can retreat to the ship’s two restaurants for an evening of positive dining.

‘Incredible’ evening entertainment will happen within the Amphitheatre-Cabaret, while it’s said the recording studio will ‘give a voice to essentially the most beautiful melodies’.

Days could be spent having fun with spa treatments, meditation sessions and excursions that invite you to ‘discover cultural treasures that allow guests to completely unplug from reality’.

The statement adds: ‘The singular cruise ship will have a good time the art of travel a la Orient Express: the quintessence of luxury, absolute comfort and dreams.’

Described as a ‘true sailing yacht of the long run’, the vessel’s interior will likely be designed by the architect Maxime d’Angeac while French design company Stirling Design International will handle the outside architecture. 

In total, there will be 54 suites on the cruise ship, including a ¿monumental¿ Presidential Suite that sprawls over 1,415 sq m (15,230 sq ft)

In total, there will likely be 54 suites on the cruise ship, including a ‘monumental’ Presidential Suite that sprawls over 1,415 sq m (15,230 sq ft)

The vessel will sail with a technological design often known as ‘SolidSail’. Three rigid sails with a surface area of 1,500 metres (4,921ft) each will likely be hoisted on a rig, with three tilting masts reaching greater than 100 metres (328ft) high, ensuring as much as 100 per cent of the propulsion in suitable weather conditions. 

This hybrid propulsion formula will mix wind power with an engine that runs on liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Orient Express, a press release notes, plans to make use of green hydrogen once the technology is approved for ocean passenger ships.

Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, Accor, said: ‘With Orient Express Silenseas, we’re starting a latest chapter in our history, taking the experience and excellence of luxury travel and transposing it onto the world’s most beautiful seas. This exceptional sailing yacht, with roots in Orient Express’ history, will offer unparalleled service and refined design spaces, paying homage to the golden age of mythical cruises. Innovation is at the center of this ultra-modern ship that can revolutionize the maritime world with latest technology to satisfy today’s sustainability challenges. It’s a boat designed to make dreams a reality, a showcase for the most effective of French savoir-faire.’

French firm Accor is restoring 17 original Orient Express cars ¿ formerly known as ¿Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express¿ - dating from the 1920s to 1930s, with a new service due to launch in Paris in 2024

French firm Accor is restoring 17 original Orient Express cars, formerly often known as ‘Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express’. Above is a rendering of the newly-unveiled Presidential Suite that can occupy considered one of the carriages  

The ¿Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express¿ carriages date from the 1920s to 1930s, with a new service due to launch in Paris in 2024

The ‘Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express’ carriages date from the Twenties to Thirties, with a latest service as a result of launch in Paris in 2024 

Laurent Castaing, Managing Director, Chantiers de l’Atlantique, said: ‘With a signed letter of intent to order two ships, Chantiers de l’Atlantique is proud to herald a latest era within the shipbuilding industry with Silenseas. This idea, born in our design offices in 2018, is the quintessence of our savoir-faire within the fields of naval architecture, the development of sophisticated hulls, in addition to the design of luxurious spaces.’

The announcement comes after beautiful designs were unveiled for the re-imagined interiors of an Orient Express train being restored to its former glory by Accor, with a latest service as a result of launch in Paris in 2024. The 17 original Orient Express carriages – formerly often known as ‘Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express’ – date from the Twenties to Thirties. 

When it launches, it won’t be the one Orient Express train whisking passengers around Europe – the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has been running various routes since 1982, and the Orient Express La Dolce Vita is as a result of launch in early 2024, journeying through Italy and further afield to Paris and Istanbul. 

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