There is a world of maritime evolutions, including fishing vessels, cargo ships, tug boats, and cruise ships. While there have been many great maritime vessels that have come and gone, the evolution of the cruise ship is the most famous, most vastly enjoyable of them all. Titanic is undoubtedly the most famous cruise ship to have ever anchored down and let passengers board at its docks, but the countless reasons why are all tainted by the ship’s sad history and its untimely end. The most famous maritime disaster in history, the sinking of the “unsinkable” ship sent shockwaves barrelling through the planet. Highly publicised at the time, when Titanic set sail from the dock at Southampton, the media and the public around the world and in New York (where the ship would presumably dock at the end of its maiden voyage) the planet was buzzing with the grandeur, the excitement of it all.
Titanic made a name for itself when it was originally built and then set sail on its maiden voyage on April 10, 1912, as the most beautiful, grand ship that was ever built. It again made headlines when an iceberg crashed into its side in the early hours of April 15, 1912, just five days into its journey from Southampton to New York. The icy collision caused the cruise liner to sink and kill more than 1,500 passengers. One of the most haunting shipwrecks in history (and the most globally famous), the icy resting place of Titanic and its deceased passengers and crew seemed to be a thing of the past, a shadow of a horrific accident that turned the world on its head. The mere idea of building a life-sized replica of the famed Titanic is, to some, a monumental effort. Not only would any replica ship be enormous in size and grandeur, but it would invite countless criticisms from those that believe that to attempt to build such a ship would be not only difficult, but ill-received.
Now, former Australian billionaire Clive Palmer and his company Blue Star Line are set to introduce a 21st-century replica of the infamous ship, calling it simply Titanic 2. The name may seem unoriginal, but when the ship has been constructed as an ode to the original Titanic ship, the very name itself is a tribute to the demise of the cruise liner and its maiden voyage passengers on that fateful morning. The original launch date was set for 2016, but with various delays the ocean liner is now due to set sail in 2019 for its maiden voyage. While the initial journey was set to follow the exact path of the original Titanic, it has since been changed to take route from Jiangsu in Eastern China to Dubai (tickets and prices have not yet been released). Titanic 2 is set to hold capacity for 2,4000 passengers and is almost an exact replica, being only slightly larger in width and carrying adequate life boats and other life-saving equipment in case of emergency. It sounds astounding because it is, but it is not entirely unique in its decision to pay tribute to Titanic. Blue Star Line are not the only ones that have made the move to replicate the famed cruise liner. China is currently building a life-sized replica of Titanic, named Romandisea Titanic, that will remain permanently docked on the Qi River in Southwest China. For those that want to experience the allure and grandeur of Titanic but have an aversion to going on the water to do so, this is the perfect way to see what the original ship was like before it was struck by the fatal iceberg.
As if the chance to board a ship built from the ground up to be an almost exact replica of Titanic was not enough, there is another way for people to experience the ship for themselves. Rather than sailing across the ocean in a ship that looks exactly like the infamous cruise liner, people can now experience the Titanic in a much more intimate, profound way. Underwater. Groups of nine at a time can travel to a depth of 4,000 metres in a carbon fibre and titanium submersible to explore the ocean liner’s deck and grand staircase. Lasting eight days, the expedition leaves from Newfoundland (the country is surrounded by gigantic icebergs at its shores…a seemingly appropriate if not slightly dark setting) and includes up to three days of dives, lasting three hours each. Divers can experience the ship in its afterlife, seeing the monumental debris field that resulted from the ship’s sinking on the ocean floor of the Atlantic. For a cool $75,000-$100,000 per diver, individuals can pay to go on expeditions with companies like Blue Marble Private to dive the wreck of Titanic, experiencing the oceanic graveyard of the poor souls that lost their lives on the “unsinkable” ship.
The maritime disaster cast an overwhelming gloom over the world as the loss of more than a thousand lives drove home. Titanic was given new life with the infamous movie adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, the countless documentaries and television programmes, and books. And just as the dust was settling, it has been given new, more tangible life in the form of two life-sized replica ships and expeditions to explore the haunting shipwreck in the Atlantic. Titanic remains the most famous maritime wreck in history and now it is being brought to life again in a more tangible way than ever, giving people opportunities to experience the cruise liner wreck under the surface, or through replicas on the surface. The heart of the ocean, Titanic has gained new life.