Titanic, the movie, was an enormous success. Titanic, the ship, not so much.
Though it set sail on its half voyage more than a century ago, the RMS Titanic is still infamous for having provided its passengers with a rather suboptimal travel experience. So it seems peculiar that anyone would want to recreate it. Especially since, today, there’s a huge variety of cruises that offer more luxury and cheaper travel insurance rates than a recreated Titanic would — without the, you know, stigma of having previously drowned hundreds of passengers.
Yet recreating the Titanic cruise ship is exactly what one billionaire plans to do. Clive Palmer, a mining magnate and founder of the Blue Star Line company, is currently constructing the Titanic II.
Like the original Titanic, the Titanic II will be designed to be unsinkable†. So what could possibly go wrong? And those aren’t the only similarities. Titanic II will be as close to a reproduction of the original as possible. It will have roughly the same dimensions, the same decor, the same restaurants, the same number of guest cabins and the same amenities as its predecessor.
As with the original, the reincarnated Titanic will also have a rigid class system, with the Cafe Parisien reserved for first class passengers and twin beds being the largest available in third class.
There will, of course, be some differences. Among them:
• The Titanic II will be constructed in China, not Northern Ireland. (Controversially, the state-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard will be doing the work and the Chinese navy is being invited to escort the cruise ship on its maiden voyage.)
• The hull will be welded, eliminating the rivets of the original Titanic that proved to be the ship’s undoing.
• Diesel will replace the original’s steam engines powered by human-shoveled coal.
• The bridge will feature modern safety, navigational and communications technology. There will be a replica radio room, but mostly for show.
• And, yes, there will supposedly be enough lifeboats to evacuate everyone. In fact, a whole additional “safety deck” will be added between C and D decks for modern lifeboats and marine evacuation systems. The replica lifeboats on the upper deck will be mostly ornamental.
No word on whether there will be wild drunken Irish-music dance parties in “steerage class” or whether the passengers there will be locked below in the event that the ship’s hull is breached.
If all stays on schedule with the design and construction — and that’s a major “if” according to reports — the Titanic will again set sail from England to New York City in April of 2016‡.
Should Palmer’s recreated Titanic proves to be popular, we can imagine other billionaires rushing to replicate other formerly disastrous travel experiences. Anyone up for a ride on the Hindenburg II? But somehow we have our doubts. Sequels are almost never as good as the original.
† In his press conference, Palmer specifically said of the Titanic II: “It is going to be designed so it won’t sink.” Of course, that’s what they said about the first ship too.
‡ If you can’t wait that long and desire to get a taste of Titanic travel, but without all the expense and risk of death, we suggest the Titanic Experience in Orlando.
A little mood music for the photo tour of the Titanic II . . .
Titanic II Photos
Titanic II first class cabin and dining hall
Titanic II third class cabin and dining hall
Titanic II amenities
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