By Bryan Gallion
Our hearts will go on seemingly forever in remembrance of the Titanic’s tragic 1912 shipwreck. Fans of this story and cruise goers alike will soon be able to sail on a modern replica of the ill-fated ship. The Titanic II is set to embark on its maiden voyage in 2018.
More than a century ago, the original Titanic sank in the north Atlantic Ocean on its first-ever voyage from Southampton, U.K., to New York City. Over 1,500 passengers and crew members died after the ship’s cataclysmic collision with an iceberg. Interest in the story lived on long after that fatal day and was roused once more after the release of a romanticized film adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in 1997.
The idea of building a replica has been bounced around for years, but it wasn’t until April 2012 that Australian billionaire Clive Palmer announced plans to definitively finance a Titanic II. The ship would be owned by Palmer’s company Blue Star Line and built by the Chinese shipyard CSC Jinling.
Titanic II’s first voyage was originally set for April 2016, but plans kept getting pushed back. The project wasn’t kept on schedule due to financial woes, loss of interest from the Chinese shipbuilders and rumors that the ship was only intended to be a blueprint. Many people wondered if the plans would even stay afloat. Followers of the ship’s building also questioned whether the name Titanic was a bad omen.
“Why do they keep pushing it back? It sounds creepy, and I would not want to go on it,” Rachel Kim, a junior chemistry and Spanish major, said. “Everyone knows how the Titanic ended, and it just creates a negative, ominous tone even before you get on the ship.”
Titanic II will be nearly identical to the original both inside and out, but with present-day improvements. It will be wider and have a welded hull as opposed to the original riveted one, a spokesman for Palmer told the Belfast Telegraph. The ship will have 840 cabins that can accommodate 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members. It will also have enough lifeboats.
“The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation, and radar systems and all those things you’d expect on a 21st-century ship,” James McDonald, the global marketing director of Blue Star Line, told the Telegraph.
The replica will also stray from the likeness of the original in the route it will take for its maiden voyage. It will travel from Jiangsu, China to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Otherwise, it hopes to travel the same path of the Titanic.
Despite all the modern improvements made to the original blueprint and differences from the 20th-century ship, people still cannot get behind the idea of boarding the Titanic II.
“There is no way I would get on the Titanic II because I’m not trying to be Jack,” said freshman psychology major Kiah McRae. “Did people not learn from the last time?”