So, uh, hey, if you’ve ever wanted to recreate any of the iconic scenes from Titanic that do not center around the ship’s disaster — think “I’m the king of the world!,” the party in steerage, or the whole carriage scene — good news! A replica of the Titanic known as the Titanic II will set sail in 2022. If you’re thinking, “Titanic II? That sounds… familiar,” you’re not wrong; this isn’t the first time we’ve received news about when the ship’s maiden voyage is supposed to occur. In fact, 2022 is four years later than the last date announced — but hey, better late than never, right?
The RMS Titanic, you’ll recall, set sail from Southampton heading to New York on April 10, 1912. Four days later, the ship — previously touted a being unsinkable — struck an iceberg 375 miles south of Newfoundland, which caused five of its 16 watertight compartments to flood. Unfortunately, the way it was built, it could only withstand four of those compartments flooding, which spelled out bad news for the "unsinkable" vessel. The ship also wasn’t equipped with nearly enough lifeboats — there were only enough for 1,178 people, which was about half the number of souls on board — an issue which was exacerbated by the fact that many of them were launched only partially full. On the morning of April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank. Only 706 people survived.
To be honest, as spectacular as I know the ship was, I’m not totally sure why anyone would want to take a trip on a replica of it; that seems a little bit like tempting fate, no?
But maybe that’s just me.
The brainchild of Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, the Titanic II and its parent company, the Blue Star Line, have had something of a fraught history. First announced in 2012 — just days after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic — the replica ship’s maiden voyage was initially intended to take place in 2016. In 2015, however, two sizeable bumps appeared in the road: First, the launch date was pushed back to 2018; then, construction was actually suspended altogether due to a financial dispute. Radio silence ensued for several years. In September of 2018, however, Palmer announced that work had resumed — and now, apparently, there’s a new date for the maiden voyage: 2022, according to USA Today. That's about six years later than the original date and a full decade following the announcement of the project.
However, although the Titanic II will eventually undertake the same Southampton-to-New-York journey during which the original Titanic sank, that trip will not be the route followed by the Titanic II on its maiden voyage. According to MSN, the very first journey undertaken by the replica will be a two-week trip traveling from Dubai to Southampton. From there, it will travel along the route its predecessor was never able to complete—and much, much more. Said Palmer in a press release, “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 unrivalled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits.”
With an expected price tag of about $500 million — which, by the way, is considerably more than the original Titanic cost; in 1912, the ship cost $7.5 million to build, or about $190 million in 2018 dollars — Titanic II will feature the same cabin layout as its namesake, with around 840 rooms and nine decks. Every detail will be painstakingly recreated, from all of the dining rooms to the grand staircase at the center of the ship. And yes, there will still be different classes — passengers will have the option between traveling First, Second, or Third Class. I’m not totally sure how I feel about that, but, well, I’m not the billionaire building it, so I do not get a say in the matter. Just like the original, the ship will be capable of carrying 2,400 passengers 900 crew members.
But there are also a few adjustments being made — which, y’know, I would expect if you’re going to build a functioning replica of a ship that is literally famous for sinking. The dimensions of the ship will be roughly the same, for example, but they’ll be “a few meters wider to provide additional stability,” according to the Titanic II FAQ. Below the waterline, meanwhile, the hull will be welded, as opposed to riveted; the bow will be “bulbous” to make the ship more fuel-efficient; there will be diesel generation; and the rudder and bow thrusters will be made larger “for increased maneuverability.” Modern navigation and safety equipment will be added, as well.
Also, there will be more lifeboats. That’s one mistake from which we’ve definitely learned.