(I should make a separate posting category just for Titanic posts. Here we go again!)
This is a good one to bring in the sunrise. Billionaire Australian mining magnate, Clive Palmer, has engaged a Chinese shipbuilding firm to build an exact replica of the Titanic.
Of course it will have all the latest naviagtion gadgets so that the first disaster isn’t repeated. While I’ve heard nothing about the number of lifeboats to be on this replica, maritime law now makes sure all passengers have a lifeboat seat. Also, lifeboat design is dramatically different from the “rowboat” style back in the day. Then there’s the engines. The originals were coal burning steam machines that were very labor intensive to operate and by today’s standards very inefficient (sweaty laborers with shovels feeding the boilers, etc.). Given all that, one can presume this replica is not going to be truly “exact”. But it nonetheless is kinda intriguing from a marketing standpoint. If this fellow can stay true to form in re-creating all the important “romantic” aspects of the ship’s construction (and ambience… maybe re-creating the departure dock, having passengers depart wearing fashions of the original era.. all the people waving, etc.) then it’s likely to be a popular attraction.
You gotta love this Clive Palmer guy, too. What a promoter. CNN reports Palmer saying at a press conference,
“Of course, it will sink if you put a hole in it. It is going to be designed so it won’t sink. But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.”
I mean, in an age where we guard ourselves from even whispering about a plane disaster while boarding a plane… or take that second wind when boarding a cruise ship while thinking of the first Titanic… then maybe the U.S.S. Poseidon… this fellow is selling fear as an incentive to ride his boat, and likely it will work. I mean, just imagine… it will be like stepping back in time. I am sure the crew will likely be wearing period uniforms, staff wearing clothing of the day; meals from the original menu on replica tablewear. I can even imagine actors roaming the ship playing Capt. Smith, White Star Chairman J. Bruce Ismay, naval architect Thomas Andrews (“Sleep soundly, young Rose. I have built you a good ship, strong and true. She’s all the lifeboat you need.”)…
…living history scenes, Q&A with the characters… the ship pausing over the original wreck for a memorial service… the ideas seem endless. “Molly” Brown at the Captain’s Table (I’d buy a ticket just to see Kathy Bates in the role)… heck, you could even build a dummy iceberg to “strike” at the right time… with the ensuing crew panic (re-creating the moonless dead calm might be a tad challenging though). Oddly, it would likely be more about re-creating the Cameron movie than the original event (not likely one would be able to stand at the bow proclaiming they are “king of the world” for the obvious safety reasons… although maybe something safe could be constructed to give the same experience perhaps). But there are opportunities galore here. (wow.. maybe original recovered tablewear for those sitting at the Captain’s table?)
Perhaps the biggest disappointment will be the size of the ship. In it’s day Titanic was the largest. Today it is pretty small by comparison to modern cruise ships. For example, Titanic was 46,328 tons… Queen Mary was 81,237… the German battleship Bismarck was 50,000… aircraft carrier Nimitz, 97,000… and Queen Mary 2, 150,000. Also, while oppulent in its day, the replica, if held true to the original design, may lack many of the modern amenities/conveniences some cruise-goers might be used to seeing, hence cruises might be of shorter duration. But the whole point is “living in the day”, isn’t it?
I would expect a ticket not to be cheap… even if they split class sections as they did back in the day (of course the printed tickets would be replicas of the originals). Likely a healthy premium ticket could be for the once-a-year anniversary cruise.
My American pride is disappointed that an Aussie thought all this up. A cool idea to “sink” your dollars into. (hehe.. get it? I made a pun.)