The Titanic is a ship that has invaded popular culture since her sinking, and the disaster has been an object of public fascination for many years — inspiring numerous books, plays, films, songs, poems, and works of art. The most renowned work, of course, is the 1997 movie by James Cameron.
For those unfamiliar, here’s a short refresher. The RMS Titanic was a steamship which sank off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg during its maiden voyage in the early hours of 15 April 1912, killing 1,503 people.
Built in the Harland and Wolff shipyard on Queen’s Island in Belfast, it could reach speeds of 30 knots and was thought to be the world’s fastest ship. It was constructed with sixteen watertight compartments, each with doors that were designed to close automatically if the water level rose above a certain height — so it was seen as virtually unsinkable. Yet, we all know how the story goes.
If you think the Titanic should have been a cautionary tale and the mention of “cruise ship” should send people running in the opposite direction, you’ve thought wrong.
An exact replica is being built by Australian cruise star liner Blue Star Line, owned by mining magnate and conservative politician Clive Palmer. Six years after Palmer declared that he was going to build a replica of the Titanic. The ship is built in honour of the 100-year anniversary launch and untimely fate of the Titanic.
The new nine-deck ship will be 855 feet long, about two more than her doomed predecessor, 174 feet high, and have a maximum speed of 24 knots. It will have the same cabin layout and interior, as well as the same three passenger classes. The Titanic II can hold 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members. Blue Star Line’s ship will also retrace the ill-fated ship’s original route, sailing from Dubai to Southampton, England and then to New York — the final call of the ill-fated ship.
If there’s one thing the Blue Star Line would not want to recreate, that’s the safety features of the ship. For one, the Titanic II will carry enough lifeboats for every passenger. Its hull will also be welded, not riveted — you know, just in case it comes across a rogue iceberg.
“The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you’d expect on a 21st-century ship,” James McDonald, global marketing director of Blue Star Line, told The Belfast Telegraph.
Inevitably, the new Titanic has received criticism from some of the dead passengers’ relatives. However, the Blue Star has reportedly been flooded with requests for tickets — with some offering up to about US$900,000 (S$1,244,430) for a spot on the first trip. The Titanic II will be ready for its maiden voyage in 2022.