If you thought the long-delayed project to launch a full-size replica of the ill-fated RMS Titanic was sunk in the water – think again.
Just like Celine Dion sang back in 1997, the travel project will “go on and on.”
Australian businessman and politician Clive Palmer, who is behind the controversial initiative, announced in September that work on the ship had recommenced – after a financial dispute with the Chinese government halted development back in 2015. The idea was first floated in 2012.
Allegedly the new ship will be an identical copy of the infamous liner, which sank in 1912 following a collision with an iceberg.
To avoid a repeat disaster, Titanic II will apparently be outfitted with plenty of life boats – and will have a welded, not riveted hull – plus modern navigation and radar equipment.
Dubai maiden voyage
“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York, but she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivaled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits,” said Palmer in a statement.
The maiden voyage, however, will take passengers from Dubai to New York, reports CruiseArabia, with the first sailing scheduled to take place in 2022.
Blue Star Line says the nine-decked ship will be home to 835 cabins, set to accommodate 2,435 passengers. You’ll be able to buy first-, second- and third-class tickets – just like in the original.
It’ll be outfitted exactly like the original Titanic – including the grand staircase that plays a memorable role in James Cameron’s hit movie.
There is another Titanic replica on the go – in 2016, news circulated that China is building one, 745 miles inland, at an estimated cost of 1 billion yuan, or $145 million. The idea is it’ll be permanently docked in a reservoir in the Qijang River.
Meanwhile tourists with plenty of money to splash might soon have the chance to dive to the wreck of the original Titanic. American company OceanGate has scheduled diving trips for 2019, costing $105,129 per person.
Meanwhile The Bluefish, a self-described “experiential concierge firm” is also hoping to orchestrate Titanic trips for the 2019/20 period.
Of course, the original Titanic voyage ended in tragedy, with over 1,500 people losing their lives. For many, voyages to the shipwreck and replica ships are in bad taste.
Steve Sims, founder of The Bluefish, told CNN Travel earlier in 2018 that he doesn’t see diving to the wreck as inappropriate.
“The people who tend to want to go are very respectful. And you can only do eight to nine civilians on a ship. So you’re not getting a bunch of giggling teenagers who are spending over $100,000 to go along and get selfies,” he said.
Realistically, it’s unclear whether Titanic II will ever see the light of day – or whether the diving tours will happen next year.
But one thing’s for certain, more than 100 years after the Titanic’s first and only voyage, global interest in the doomed ship shows no sign of slowing down.