The Titanic is probably the most famous passenger liner in history. What cruise ship has attracted more attention and interest than the Titanic? Books have been written, movies have been produced, and museums have been built to feed our appetite for all things Titanic. And so it was not entirely surprising to learn that there is a Titanic replica – i.e., an actual ship built to sail that also happens to be a replica of the Titanic – in the works. The Titanic replica, which is technically called Titanic II or Titanic 2, is being financed by Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire. The Titanic replica will actually be a near Titanic replica, as the original ship cannot be exactly reproduced for a number of reasons, not the least of which relate to safety. What will the Titanic replica be like, and how similar will it be to the original Titanic?
Overall, the Titanic replica will be very similar to the Titanic, at least in its broad outlines. Unless you know a lot about the Titanic, you probably wouldn’t notice any difference between the replica and the original by just looking at this ship from the exterior. This is because the replica ship has essentially the exact same design as the original. The ship’s dimensions (length, height, etc.) will be the same as those of the original Titanic, and the layout the ship – with its nine decks and 840 rooms – will be the same as the original Titanic as well. The replica Titanic will also have four smoke stacks, which were necessary on the coal-fired Titanic, but will be decorative on the diesel-powered replica Titanic.
As the diesel-powered machinery implies, the Titanic replica will primarily differ from the original in its technical components. The bow of the ship will be designed differently to increase fuel efficiency, and the ship will be more maneuverable thanks to larger rudder and bow thrusters. The ship will also be equipped with state-of-the-art technologies (at this point unspecified), and it will also have advanced navigation tools and safety systems in place. Speaking of safety, the replica Titanic can’t be built with as much wood as the original Titanic because of fire-prevention regulations, and of course the ship will have an adequate number of lifeboats, one of the major failings of the original Titanic. Also, because of safety regulations, the lifeboats can’t be mounted as high on the ship as they were on the Titanic. On the replica Titanic, as on any other cruise ship, lifeboats can only be 49 feet (15 meters) above the waterline.
Or at least all of this is the plan. Construction won’t begin on the new ship until next year, and its maiden voyage – from England to New York, just like the original’s planned maiden voyage – is still a few years out. Palmer appears to have plenty of money to fund the project, which is actually the first of four luxury cruise ships that he has commissioned to be built, but plans to replicate the Titanic have failed before. In 2000, Sarel Gous, a South African businessman, announced his intention to build a replica of the Titanic, but the plan was scrapped six years later. Not many people supported the project, and it was, needless to say, an extremely expensive undertaking.
Assuming the Titanic replica is successfully built, it should provide passengers with a highly unique cruise vacation. To be sure, sailing on the Titanic II won’t be quite like sailing on the Titanic, but Palmer’s replication plans are ambitious, and the on-board experience, with the luxury cabins and high-end restaurants modeled on the original ship, will make it decidedly similar. Fortunately, though, the similarities will only go so far, and if the Titanic II by some outrageous coincidence finds itself sinking at sea, at least there will be enough lifeboats on board to accommodate every person on the ship.