The most famous ship of all time
It was on April 10, 1912, that RMS Titanic set sail for New York City from Southampton. Four days later, at 11.40pm, she hit an iceberg and the rest is tragic history, with 1517 passengers lost. However, the 1997 film production gave new life to the history of this British passenger liner, and today there are plans for Titanic II to be built and recreate the authenticity of the original ship. But is this a good thing? Should the heart of the Titanic go on?
Clive Palmer, the man behind Titanic II
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer is a larger-than-life Australian businessman who has created his own political party. Having made his money from holdings in iron ore, nickel and coal, he is estimated to be worth more than AU$1 billion. It was back in 2012 that plans for a Titanic replica were first mooted, and while nothing has been set in stone, Palmer appears determined to take on the biggest and most controversial ship construction in the history of cruise travel; and he's funding the whole thing himself.
In 2013, Palmer made a very public statement with regards to Titanic II. At a press conference he revealed a blueprint, announcing that the ship will be built in China,saying: "Titanic inspires a lot of people in a lot of countries. We all live on this planet, we all breathe the same air and the Titanic is about the things we have in common. It links three continents, so I'm very excited. It's all about love, you and your partner, Rose and Jack [Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie], Romeo and Juliet: get on the Titanic II."
Comparison between Titanic I and Titanic II
So, what exactly does Palmer have planned and what are the main differences between the two ships? Here's a summary:
- Owner: White Star Line
- Built at Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast
- Length: 882feet, 9 inches
- Weight: 46,000 gross tonnage
- Powered by coal-fired boilers, steam engines and turbine
- Passenger capacity: 2435 (estimated)
- Crew members: 892
- Only voyage: Southampton to New York, sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on Nov 15, 1912.
- Owner: Blue Star Line
- To be built in China by CSC Jinling Shipyard
- Length: 883ft
- Weight: 55,800 gross tonnage
- Powered by diesel-electric propulsion system with three azimuth thrusters, plus two bow thrusters.
- Passenger capacity: 2435
- Crew members: 900
- First voyage: Shanghai to Southampton to New York, originally planned for 2016, perhaps 2018.
A legacy of a tragedy
Cruise travel has obviously come on leaps and bounds since Titanic was launched. One of the main failings of the original ship was only enough lifeboats for 1200 people, with the crew not trained correctly to deal with an evacuation: a number of lifeboats were only half full when they were launched. As a result of the accident, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Seatreaty was established and provided comprehensive guidelines for maritime safety procedures.These range from construction to life-saving, navigation, radio and bulk carriers, with the updated treaty still applying today.
Bringing the past back to life
While there are many differences in terms of construction and dimensions of the planned Titanic II, Palmer has stated that he is determined to create an authentic Titanic experience with original interiors as much as possible. "The Titanic was the ship of dreams" Palmer has said. And it was certainly ground-breaking at the time. It had a gymnasium, palatial staterooms, a swimming pool, Turkish bath and even a squash court.
But perhaps the most enchanting aspect of Titanic is its reflection of a bygone era of cruising. Cunard ships, which have been in operation since the 1840s, have Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth in service. They are considered rather old school, but are hugely popular with cruise travellers: seen as a 'must-do' or 'bucket list' holiday. From White Star Service to Black Tie Dinners and the very highest standards of dining, Cunard combine modern facilities and entertainment with the traditional cruise formula.
The future of Titanic II
The arrival of Titanic II is somewhat in the air at the moment, with predictions of 2016 now being revised to 2018. However, Palmer says demand for tickets is already high, and if his determination is anything to go by, the ship will hit the ocean wave at some point.
But what do you think of Titanic II? Are you excited by the plans? Or do you believe that the memory of this ship should be left well alone? Let us know your opinions.