Titanic II – Part 1 : Downton Abbey on the North Atlantic, Cruising as Performance Art

TitanicIIHow should we think about the RMS Titanic? Was the ship, which sank with a loss of over 1,500, a major maritime tragedy? Or was it just the backdrop for a historical drama about wealth and class conflict – a sort of Downton Abbey on the North Atlantic?  The questions came to mind when Australian billionaire Clive Palmer unveiled his plans for building  Titanic II, a near replica to the ill-fated Titanic, with more lifeboats and at least one fewer iceberg. His vision of the ship, which he plans to have built in China and be in service by 2016, seems to lean decidedly toward historical melodrama.

Palmer’s dream, presented at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York, is to provide more than a cruise but a chance to step back in time.  Just as on the original ship, there will be three classes of accommodations. Passengers with different tickets will not be allowed to move between the classes, though reportedly there will be more toilets for the lower decks than on the original ship.

To get in the spirit of the voyage, period costumes will be provided.  As reported by the Daily Mail, “everyone on board will however be provided with early-20th-century-style clothes and undergarments in their cabins … Whilst there will be air conditioning there will be no TVs and no Internet in a bid to get back to the ‘romance’ of a bygone age.”  I am guessing that even in first class, passengers will be required to provide their own diamond tiaras.

Perhaps fittingly, the presentation of the ship named after a marine disaster had been by roughly four months by the arrival of a natural disaster, Superstorm Sandy. The original gala scheduled for December 3rd, 2011, was cancelled after Sandy wrecked her havoc on New York on October 30th.

Superstorm Sandy, the Aircraft Carrier Intrepid, the Space Shuttle Enterprise and the Titanic II

Thanks to Alaric Bond, Phil Leon and Irwin Bryan fro contributing to this post.

This entry was posted in Current, Lore of the Sea, Ships and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Titanic II – Part 1 : Downton Abbey on the North Atlantic, Cruising as Performance Art

  1. Louis Cohen says:

    I don’t think this is the first scheme to build a Titanic replica, nor will it be the last. These ideas always come from people not involved in shipping or cruise ships. Nobody will actually come up with the money.

    The 3rd class tickets will be a very tough sell, The original Titanic was transportation, not entertainment (except perhaps for the 1st class passengers) and certainly not in steerage. There is no reason anyone today would want to travel in steerage when a transatlantic flight is cheaper and faster.

  2. Rick Spilman says:

    Clive Palmer has the money if he wants to spend it. The Aussie press often uses the adjectives “extremely eccentric” in describing the billionaire.

    I too find it difficult to imagine why anyone would want to pay to travel in steerage.

  3. Andy Hall says:

    There were at least a half-dozen plans announced back in 1997-98, in the wake of the Cameron movie. None of them, as the saying goes, “cut steel.”

    “Passengers with different tickets will not be allowed to move between the classes, though reportedly there will be more toilets for the lower decks than on the original ship.”

    Excellent, each Third Class passenger gets his own, personal bucket.

    Worth noting that on the original, even the majority of First Class passengers didn’t have private toilet facilities as part of their cabins, but used a shared lavatory. And I cannot imagine restricting modern passengers by class, which (AFAIK) is simply not done on any of the major cruise lines, at least those operating out of the United States.

  4. Rick Spilman says:

    Apparently Cunard still has at least a vestige of the old system.

    Cunard is the only major cruise line that still maintains different “classes” on its ships. Passengers in the higher priced cabins and suites have separate restaurants than the rest of the passengers.

    Clive Palmer claims that he wants to travel third class.

    Asked if this qualifies as a luxury experience, Palmer said, “Depends what class you’re in, I guess. We’ve got first, second, and third class. And for me, it’s a luxury to sit in third class, to have some Irish stew, to jig around at night. I can never do that. I’m always traveling first class everywhere, so I want that experience. I hunger for that experience.”

  5. Andy Hall says:

    @Rick:

    Thanks, didn’t know about Cunard.

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