There is no vessel that has captured the world’s imagination quite like the Titanic. The “unsinkable” four-funnelled ship of the White Star Line that sunk beneath the ice cold waters of the Atlantic in 1912, is one of the 20th century’s great dramas. So would you step aboard a resurrection of the ill-fated Titanic?
The concept of a replica of the Titanic has been explored (and failed) several times, especially since Leo and Kate took the voyage in James Cameron’s 1997 Oscar-winning film, sparking a resurgence of interest. But on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the ship in 2012, a determined Australian mining billionaire, Clive Palmer, announced he was going to re-build the iconic ocean liner once and for all with the cruise company Blue Star Line.
Within a year of the announcement however, after the initial buzz and publicity for the Titanic II, things seemed to go a little quiet. The reliability of Palmer’s fortune began to come into question. It was expected to set sail in late 2016, calling at the same ports as the Titanic, including Southampton and New York, but there remains little evidence that the building has even begun. The project has also raised some controversy about the insensitivity of building a replica of the tragic vessel on which claimed more than 1,500 lives. So is the whole concept just cursed?
Well, it looks like the plan is still on. Despite the Blue Star Line website desperately needing a recent update on its progress development of Titanic II, a spokesman for Clive Palmer recently confirmed to the press that the new ship will be launched in 2018 (two years later than initially planned) and the project has merely been delayed and not abandoned.
Just like the original ship, which had the world awaiting its maiden voyage for months following a frenzy of publicity, the Titanic II is likely to keep us in anticipation. In the meantime however, the Blue Star Line website gives us a glimpse of the ship’s design.
Thanks to the publicity that was generated for the Titanic prior to its launch in 1912, today’s designers certainly have plenty of archive material to work from in replicating the luxurious ocean liner…
As its predecessor did, the Titanic II will offer first, second and third-class tickets and 840 cabins capable of accommodating 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members.
It is planned that all the original restaurants and dining rooms will be represented on Titanic II.
An original Titanic menu
There’s even rumours of the option of dressing up in period costume in order to achieve the ultimate experience.
First class cabins ↑
Third class cabins ↑
The ship will also feature replicas of the Titanic’s Turkish baths, swimming pool and gymnasium.
Titanic II is set to look virtually identical to the Belfast-built luxury liner which sank on April 1912, but will be four meters wider in order to meet today’s maritime safety regulations, and the hull will be welded, not riveted.
It also will be updated to meet all regulations regarding the Safety of Life at Sea (life jackets, number of lifeboats, communications etc) which came to be after, you guessed it, the sinking if the first Titanic.
(Pictured above: A life preserver from the ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic found during the initial search for survivors and owned by the same family for 90 years. It was the first Titanic life jacket to be offered at auction in the United States, one of about six believed to have survived to this day. (c) Christie’s.)
The state-owned Chinese shipyard CSC Jinling has been contracted to build the replica slow speed diesel ship. However according to the most recent reports from the Belfast Telegraph, the Titanic II will no longer be retracing its planned route from Southampton to New York, and will now be travelling from Jiangsu, China, to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, “where Blue Star Line has been forging business partnerships”.
Now for me, this is where the idea of a “legendary journey re-imagined” starts to lose its magic. When speaking to the Telegraph, a BlueStar spokesperson insisted, “we are not looking for investment from Dubai, as it is a project we are funding ourselves, but we have been in contact with a number of companies based in the Emirates who are looking at utilising opportunities that arises with the project.”
Allegedly Blue Star has so far been inundated with inquiries from potential passengers, with some offering up to £640,000 for a chance to be on the maiden voyage. But when will one be able to purchase tickets? Blue Star’s FAQ section says tickets are not yet available for purchase, but when the information and pricing becomes available, it will be on this website.
Let’s just hope Glacier II, an exact replica of the original glacier, won’t be waiting in 2018.