Orient Express Ventures into the World of Luxury Superyachts with Dubai Holding’s Support

Orient Express

In a striking move to redefine luxury travel on the high seas, the Orient Express is set to expand its legendary service to include an exclusive fleet of superyachts by spring 2026. The French hospitality titan, Accor, has announced plans for the grand debut of its first Orient Express yacht, with a second vessel also in the pipeline. These ambitious projects, with an estimated development cost of around $867 million (€800 million), are currently under negotiation with Dubai Holding for funding support. This partnership could see the investment powerhouse becoming the principal owner of the yachts’ managing property company, a strategy that would enable Accor to transfer these valuable assets off its balance sheet.

Dubai Holding, linked to the Emirati ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum and boasting assets worth approximately $35 billion, is in advanced discussions with Accor. This collaboration is part of a broader trend of Middle Eastern investment in luxury and hospitality, demonstrating the region’s keen interest in diversifying its economic portfolio beyond oil.

The construction of the Orient Express yachts is entrusted to the renowned French shipbuilder, Chantiers de l’Atlantique. The first yacht to launch, named the Orient Express Silenseas, promises to be a marvel of modern engineering and luxury, claiming the title of the world’s largest sailing yacht. Unlike traditional yachts, the Silenseas offers the lavishness of a cruise ship, featuring 54 luxury suites, a speakeasy bar, two swimming pools, gourmet restaurants, and a full-service spa.

Designed with sustainability in mind, the Silenseas will incorporate the innovative SolidSail system, boasting three towering masts and rigid sails that cover nearly 5,000 square feet. This eco-friendly approach aims to harness wind power for up to 100% of the yacht’s propulsion under favorable conditions, complemented by high-tech engines for additional power when necessary. This hybrid model not only reduces emissions compared to conventional diesel engines but also ensures a near-silent sailing experience, living up to its name.

With ticket prices reaching up to $21,700 per journey, the Orient Express yachts are set to offer an unparalleled level of luxury and environmental consciousness to the high seas. This venture places Accor in the ranks of other luxury brands like Ritz Carlton, Belmond, Aman, and Four Seasons, all of which are venturing into the superyacht industry to bring their signature hospitality to the waters. This development marks a new chapter in luxury travel, blending the historic charm of the Orient Express with the allure of modern, sustainable yachting.