The Golden Age of the White Star line, which gave rise to massive ocean liners like Titanic and Olympic, ended with the sinking of the former, the following inquiry, and the Depression years that were to follow. While the merger with its former chief competitor, Cunard, temporarily saved White Star from vanishing into history, it seemed that fans of the company would never see the likes of other ships such as Titanic ever again. However, the modern travel company Blue Star Line, owned by Australian business mogul Clive Palmer, has announced that a replica ship, Titanic II, will sail in 2022 and take the same route as her ill-fated predecessor.
1. Echoes of the Past
When construction on the original Titanic began back in 1909, the buzz around the shipping and ocean liner industry was that she would be the largest and most luxurious ship ever created by man. It would include modern comforts that few ships before it ever had, such as a gym, a full-sized swimming pool, and gourmet meals for those fortunate enough to travel on a first-class ticket. Today, that buzz is ramping up again as Titanic II comes to life at a Chinese shipyard.
Much like the original ocean liner, its builders are boasting about all the modern amenities the ship will have, including the very latest safety and navigation features to prevent the kind of tragedy that befell the original Titanic, including nearly twenty lifeboats that are motor-propelled. One wonders if the ship’s crew will ensure that the crow’s nest binoculars are well in hand before the replica leaves port.
2. Whispers of a Curse
While some Titanic enthusiasts are excited about the prospect of a new replica ship, others are not so sure whether Palmer is inviting tragedy by replicating the original ship’s route from Southampton in England to New York City. Over 1,500 people died when Titanic sank and there are some who believe that tracing the original path is not only disrespectful to their memories but foolhardy as well. While there as not as many icebergs present in the North Atlantic as there were in 1912, some major glacial monoliths still exist, and they could pose a very real danger to this new Titanic II.
Much superstition surrounds maritime disasters, and the speculation about Titanic II’s maiden voyage is no different. There are some people who believe the route is cursed and that Palmer is asking for trouble by not choosing some other path. It is difficult to say what the passengers aboard will feel or experience as the replica sails past the spot where Titanic sank, as so many died there on the night of April 15th, 1912, but it is unlikely that any restless spirits can or will harm this new ship.
3. A New Golden Age of Sea Travel
If successful, the maiden voyage of Titanic II may spark a new golden age of traveling by ship. The original Titanic was so luxurious that some of the world’s richest men and women clamored to travel aboard her. While the new ship isn’t slated to depart Southampton until sometime in 2022, it is likely that some of today’s most famous actors, musicians, and business-people will want to take part in this momentous trip.
It is interesting to speculate what Palmer might attempt if Titanic II becomes a global success. Perhaps he will commission other popular ship replicas that were once the crowned jewels of the White Star Line, such as the Oceanic. It could be that the Blue Star Line becomes the new gold standard of ocean travel and commands a fleet of ships that are as grand of the ships of the 19th and early 20th century were for the people who traveled on them.
The building of the Titanic II is being met with both excitement and trepidation from people all over the world. Many are asking whether or not Clive Palmer will actually build the legendary ship this second time around. This is not the first time Palmer has made headlines with this bold plan, but given the fact it has already fizzled out once, will history repeat itself for a second time? However, no matter what her fate, one thing is for certain: she is no doubt destined to go down in history as one of the most ambitious projects ever attempted in the seafaring industry.