Most people I talk with, have seen the film or read the book, The Orient Express. Who can forget Peter Ustinov jovially interviewing passengers on the most luxurious train in the world? What better representation of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot was there than David Suchet, as he solved the secret of the murder on the train. Recently, even Kenneth Branagh took a stab at solving the crime in the snow-trapped luxury train.
Soon we will have a new opportunity, not to solve a crime but to experience the luxury the Orient Express has become synonymous with. The Orient Express began around 140 years ago. After being extremely successful and hosting thousands of extravagant passengers, the company is breaking new ground, or, should I say, water.
I am talking about the Orient Express Silensea. The French hospitality group Accor recently unveiled the first Orient Express sailing ship.
The 220 metre (725 foot) vessel is scheduled to set sail in the spring of 2026. The luxury liner is inspired by the golden age of the French Riviera, a fitting theme for the world’s largest sailing yacht.
In luxurious tradition, there will be rooms for 120 passengers. The Orient Express Silenseas will feature 54 suites and a 1,415 square metre (15,000 square foot) Presidential Suite; there will be two swimming pools, two restaurants and a speakeasy bar. There will be an amphitheatre cabaret, where guests will be treated to special performances, as well as a private recording studio.
The ship will employ state-of-the-art technology, which includes a combination of wind power and an engine fuelled by liquefied natural gas. The interior layout is being designed by French architect Maxime d’Angeac, while Stirling Design International will take on the exterior architecture. Both firms are exceptionally skilled in their fields.
This exceptional sailing yacht, with roots in the Orient Express history, will offer unparalleled service and refined design, reminiscent of the era of mystical cruises.
The itineraries have not yet been established but will more than likely focus on the Mediterranean Sea during the summer and the Caribbean Sea in the winter. Many stopover explorations are planned, to discover cultural treasures.
The unveiling of the Orient Express Silenseas was on the heels of Ritz-Carlton’s super-yacht, which made its debut last October.
Not to be outdone, the Four Seasons revealed its upcoming 207 metre (679 foot) super yacht, which will enter service in late 2025.
I think I will wait for Motel 6 to announce its version of a cruise liner, before I delve in.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.