To mark the centennial of the Titanic’s sinking, a British company is offering a chance to reconstruct the ship’s fateful journey by traveling to the location where the ship sank.
Marketed towards relatives of those on board, as well as history buffs and those who are simply curious, Titanic Memorial Cruises has organized two voyages that will retrace the transatlantic journey. On April 8, 2012, the HMS Balmoral will depart from Southampton, England, en route to arrive at the spot near Nova Scotia where Titanic rests by April 14, the 100-year anniversary of the sinking. That night in 1912, the massive ship struck an iceberg and sank several hours later, claiming over 1500 lives. The wreckage still sits on the bottom of the ocean floor. A memorial ceremony will be held on board to commemorate the tragedy.
A second ship, the Azamara Journey, will depart from New York, cruising to the same location. There are 1309 spaces on the Balmoral and they are already sold out, though some spots remain on the Azamara Journey.
The managing director of Titanic Memorial Cruises, Miles Morgan, told the Independent, “The interest has come from all over the globe – we’ve had people from 24 different countries booking…There are so many stories associated with the ship, from its own tragic history to the stories of those that lost their lives, that people remain deeply fascinated by it.”
The recreation of the voyage has been painstakingly planned, so that passengers can eat the same last meal as those who were on board in first class – oysters, chicken, and roast pigeon – and listen to a string quartet perform on the deck, in a nod to the musicians who played as the ship went down. According to the Independent, some passengers are commissioning period-specific costumes to wear. A wireless radio station in Newfoundland, which received the original Morse Code SOS message from the Titanic, is even planning to repeat it.
Is this disaster voyeurism? Or simply an opportunity to pay respects to loved ones who were lost? NewsFeed finds the concept to be somewhat morbid. (Should we also plan a trip down into the Copiapó mines in Chile to experience life while trapped underground?) But we concede that since many died at sea and may not have had a traditional burial, the cruise could be a chance for relatives to feel close to those who perished.
Several other events are planned around the 2012 anniversary, from the predictable (a re-release of 1997’s Titanic in 3D) to the wacky (a Russian submarine that will take passengers down to the wreckage).
Thankfully, modern engineering advances have dulled the potential dangers of icebergs since the early 20th century, making this voyage less treacherous. Passengers still might want to watch out for a rage-fueled Billy Zane, though.