Almost 101 years after the original sank, plans are underway for the creation of the Titanic II, an exact replica of the fated ship that could transport passengers across the sea as soon as 2016.
Australian billionaire and professor Clive Palmer — and his Blue Star Line company — held a press conference in New York City on Tuesday morning to unveil the new blueprints of the Titanic II, which was first announced in 2012.
It will make its maiden voyage on 2016 from Southampton, England to New York, carrying 2,600 passengers in 850 cabins. It will employ about 900 crew members. The length will be three inches longer than the original at 883 feet and include 18 lifeboats — enough for everyone on board.
“The area [for] passengers will be authentic with the same design and facilities, but there will be modern things such as air conditioning and other features we are debating, such as internet on the ship,” Palmer said at the press conference. “I’m against it. I think you should relax on vacation. There won’t be TVs in the state rooms though.”
The Titanic II has kept various features based on the class system of the early 1900s. Like the first ship, it will have a gym, Turkish baths, a squash court, a grand staircase and swimming pools. It will also retain the dining rooms for second and third class, as well as Captain Smith’s sitting room, bedroom and quarters.
Passengers will also be given 1920s-area costumes, which will be included in state rooms upon arrival and will be a part of the ticket fee, to help recreate the experience. First class passengers will not be able to mingle with those in second or third class, but will be able to spend a few days in different quarters, which will require people to change clothing.
“It will really help you pretend you are in the movie,” Palmer said.
Although the ticket price hasn’t been yet announced, he’s already received offers as high as $1 million to be on board the first voyage. As for how much the project costs, Palmer was shy to say.
“We aren’t going to divulge the cost because I have enough money to pay for it,” Palmer said. “Cost isn’t what it is about. It’s about creating a memory of the Titanic.”
But how do the descendants of those who survived the original ship’s voyage — and legendary sinking — feel about the project?
“I’m thrilled,” Helen Benziger, the great-granddaughter of the “unsinkable” Molly Brown (played by Kathy Bates in the 1997 movie), said at the event. “The reason I agreed to be associated with the project is because the professor has assured me he will honor those passengers that perished and survived. My hope is that this will just be something that will honor them and take the voyage across the Atlantic, so it can complete the voyage.”
From a safety standpoint, a Blue Line representative said, “It will be the most safe cruise ship in the world when it launches.”
“Anything will sink if you put a hole in it,” said Palmer, noting the company is already looking into preventing worst-case scenarios. “I’m not super-superstitious. We are staying true to the original Titanic and a lot of those designs and full experience that never saw the light of day, but there will be some updates too.”
The press conference — which even featured music from the film Titanic by Korean pop star Sungha Jung — was held at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, just a short distance from where the original Titanic would have docked at Pier 59. Only about 700 passengers safely arrived from that infamous trip in 1912.
Not surprisingly, the Titanic II is controversial, especially during a time when the cruise line industry has suffered some tragic incidents in the past few years.
“The Titanic stands as a monument and hope [for] everyone who came to America to fulfill their dreams. Today, we know the US has become what it has become,” Palmer said. “A great Republic is the best hope for the world and mankind, and the Titanic can play a big role in that.”
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