The Titanic Cruise

That the massive Titanic boat (which, as we never fail to point out, is actually a “titanic boat” in two senses) collided with an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to the sinking of the Titanic and the deaths of over 1,500 people, is well known and much discussed. When people consider the Titanic, they tend to think of only the Titanic boat itself falling apart at sea and then sinking to the bottom of the ocean. This is the ship’s primary legacy. But it is important to keep in mind that the Titanic boat was a massive and luxurious cruise ship, not entirely unlike the cruise ships that exist today, and that got us thinking about what a Titanic cruise would have been like. How would, say, a Carnival cruise compare with a Titanic cruise? How similar is the Titanic cruise ship, if it even makes sense to call it the “Titanic cruise ship,” to modern-day cruise ships? Basically, would a Titanic cruise be comparable to a standard cruise vacation one might take today – if so, to what extent? – and did the Titanic boat have accommodations similar to cruise ships that are currently operating?

With respect to the Titanic boat itself, it was basically structured in the same way that a modern cruise ship is structured. For one, the size is comparable. The Titanic was 882 and a half feet long (269 meters) and 175 feet (53.3 meters) tall (to the top of the funnels that line the ship), making it a large ship that weighed a little over 46,000 tons. It had a large capacity too: it was designed to hold well over 3,000 people (2,435 passengers and 892 crew members). The Titanic was the biggest ship in the world when it set sail on its maiden voyage, and even by today’s standards it is a large ship (although it is certainly no longer the world’s largest cruise ship.) The Titanic also had multiple decks that divided the ship into different levels, with each level having different facilities. This layout is basically the same on modern cruise ships.

So in terms of size, the Titanic boat was a lot like a modern cruise ship, but what about the on-board accommodations a Titanic cruise would have offered? If you were a First Class passenger, your accommodations would have been somewhat similar to those offered on a modern cruise. In the First Class section, there was a swimming pool and gymnasium, along with luxurious rooms decorated with expensive furniture. So, the First Class passenger experience (and to a lesser extent the Second Class passenger experience) was a bit like vacationing on a modern cruise ship. However, First Class passengers had more elaborate rooms than your average cruise vacationer would have today, and today’s passengers have access to more on-board activities than even First Class passengers had on board the Titanic. On the other hand, most people who take cruises today wouldn’t be satisfied with being a Third Class passenger, who had access to only two bathrooms (one for women and one for men) and had to wash their own clothes using iron tubs. Also, many Third Class passengers were on the Titanic to relocate to the United States, and passengers on modern cruise ships generally don’t take them for transportation purposes.

Overall, taking a Titanic cruise would have been in many ways comparable to taking a cruise today. The accommodations on board the Titanic weren’t nearly as extensive as they are today (especially for Third Class passengers), but the Titanic boat was still designed with an eye toward relaxation and leisure, just like modern cruise ships. Moreover, the Titanic boat itself was actually quite similar to today’s cruise ships. The Titanic was a large vessel with many decks, each with their own facilities, much like modern cruise ships.

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