Titanic’s Tragic Tale and Why a Luxurious Titanic II Is in the Works
Titanic's Construction Begins
It was March 31, 1909, when the construction of Titanic, one of the most famous ships in history, officially began in Belfast, Ireland’s Harland & Wolff shipyard.
The head of the drafting department of Harland and Wolff, naval architect James Andrews, was the individual who laid the first keel plate, convinced that they were about to build an “unsinkable” ship.
Part of the White Star Lne, Titanic was manufactured side-by-side with its sister ship, Olympic, by over 3,000 workers.
The Magnitude of Building the World's Largest Ship
It took almost three years to build the largest ship afloat at the time. Once Titanic was finished at the shipyard, the next big challenge was moving the enormous project from land into the sea.
Keeping in mind that Titanic was 269 meters (over 882 feet) in length and weighed 52,310 tons, maneuvering the ship into the water required the use of 23 tons of train oil, grease and soap.
Titanic’s sea trials began on April 2, 1912.
The Power Behind the Ship
Titanic had four funnels, or smokestacks. Three of them were fully functional, while the fourth was built solely for aesthetic reasons to help in making the ship look grand and impressive.
It also had three powerful propellers, two with three-meter-long blades (10 feet) and a central prop with four shorter blades that were “just” 1.8 meters (6 feet) long.
Each of Titanic’s propellers was powered by a separate engine, creating a total of 30,000 horsepower worth of thrust.
There were 2,222 people on board when the magnificent Titanic sailed out from Southampton, England. It is believed that 1,317 people were passengers, while the rest were crew members.
Among the passengers were also two newlyweds who intended to spend their honeymoon abroad. Their names were Mr. & Mrs. George A. Harder, and this cruise was perhaps their first but unfortunately the last trip they would take together. Sadly, Mr. Harder did not survive the wreck.
Source: Titanic Passengers
The ship was run by a crew of about 900 crew members led by captain Edward J. Smith. Titanic’s maiden voyage to New York. It would be Smith’s final voyage.
You can see Captain Smith, the gentleman with the white beard, sitting in the middle of the front row in this photo. The other eight men who are seated with the captain are chief officers and engineers. Of the 908 crew members on Titanic, 696 were lost at sea.
Source: Titanic Crew
Titanic, the Floating City
The facilities on the Titanic were truly magnificent, especially for the first class travelers. There were 840 private rooms on the ship, including suites and cabins.
Titanic also offered two barber shops for gentlemen, the same number of libraries, five galleys and one fully equipped gymnasium, and even a swimming pool on one of the decks.
The dining conveniences included four restaurants and the first lass dining saloon with 550 seats, six of which were at the Captain’s Table.
Source: Life On The Titanic
The Splendor of the Accommodations
Titanic’s first class had 416 cabins and staterooms, of which 39 were the private suites with luxuriously furnished bedrooms and separate toilet facilities. All of these suites were located on the Bridge and the Shelter decks.
Each of the suites and some of the more expensive and exclusive staterooms was decorated in different styles, from Louis XVI and XV, to Georgian and Queen Anne stylings. There were also 350 more affordable cabins with single beds situated in first class.
There Was Nothing Else Like It on the Ocean
The luxurious lifestyle of the first class passengers on the Titanic was enriched with superb public areas which were designed with equal attention to detail as the private suites.
These first class facilities, besides the already mentioned restaurants, included a lounge, reading room, smoking room and several cafes on Titanic’s verandas and terraces.
This image shows the ship’s Cafe Parisien, a popular eating area inspired by charming boutique establishments which were Paris signatures at the time.
The Grand Staircase and Dome
The most impressive decorative component of Titanic and a source of great pride for the White Star Line was the Grand Staircase. This fascinating piece of functioning art was made of polished oak wood, wrought iron and carefully selected glass.
The Grand Staircase was placed right underneath a majestic and constantly illuminated dome, and its centerpiece was a massive, carved clock panel.
Titanic’s elite used this resplendent staircase to enter their elegant first-class dining room.
Some of the Luxury Money Could Buy
The Reading and Writing room was primarily intended for the ladies to use while the gentlemen enjoyed their conversations in the smoking room. Located on the first class A Deck, this luxurious space was painted in bright hues and fully equipped with everything the gracious ladies might need.
There was a large fireplace that complemented the pleasant atmosphere of the reading room with added warmth, and a large bow window through which the ladies could keep an eye on what was happening on the Promenade Deck.
"Not Even God Himself Could Sink This Ship."
Titanic’s journey started with the expected pomp and circumstance. Everyone was excited about the largest passenger ship in history, and everyone believed it was unsinkable.
The legend says when the Titanic was launched on May 31, 1911, an employee of the White Star Line stated, “Not even God himself could sink this ship.”
Sadly, only ten months later the now-infamous deadly event proved him wrong. Titanic was sunk by an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Everyone Thought Titanic Was Immune to Disaster
Despite how incredible it may sound today, people of that time genuinely believed that Titanic was practically unsinkable. Such opinion was mainly based on the universal praise published by the press. Even when reports of the accident started to become public on the morning of April 15, 1912, White Star Line vice-president, Philip Franklin stated:
“There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers.”
Looking Back at What Went Wrong
In spite of a century having passed and the ongoing insight gained from the Titanic disaster, it’s still difficult to say what exactly went wrong that caused the ship to sink so quickly.
According to a BBC article written on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the sinking, there were concerns over the ship’s design, the selection of the appropriate materials and of course the ill-fated decisions that were made during the voyage.
A Possible Explanation?
The analyses suggested that the ship might have sunk so fast because of the insufficient height of the bulkheads which were only three meters (10 feet) above the water’s surface and unable to prevent breaches from flooding the entire ship.
The ship’s hull was built from reinforced steel plates “glued” together by myriads of rivets. Tests showed that these plates were brittle and fragile at icy-cold water temperatures and that the quality of the rivets might also have been questionable.
The Unthinkable Happens to the Unsinkable Titanic
“Deeply regret advise you TITANIC sank this morning after collision with iceberg, resulting in serious loss of life. Full particulars later.” This was the statement of J. Bruce Ismay, Director of the White Star Line, issued upon arriving in New York City.
This was preceded by the events of April 14, 1912, at precisely 11:39 pm, when the iceberg “responsible” for the sinking of Titanic was spotted for the first time, but it was already too late to avoid the crash.
The following hours were to become an unfolding nightmare for the passengers of the grand ship.
Source: Titanic: ‘Iceberg Right Ahead’
Titanic Was Never Prepared For Anything But Smooth Sailing
Titanic would hit the iceberg at 11:40 pm. Forty minutes later Captain Smith issued an evacuation order, commanding his crew to start loading the lifeboats. By the captain’s request, the priority was given to women and children.
It soon became apparent the number of lifeboats on Titanic was far from sufficient to accommodate all of its desperate passengers. The ship’s blueprints and safety outlines originally planned for there to be 48 lifeboats, but only 20 were brought along.
Source: Titanic Lifeboats
Panic Set in Quickly
Two of the boats were wooden cutters with the carrying capacity of 40 people each. There were also fourteen wooden boats that could accommodate up to 65 people each and four folding lifeboats with the capacity to fit 47 people each.
That means only 33% of the total number of passengers and crew members had a chance to find a place on one of those lifeboats. The remaining 67% of the people on the Titanic were doomed as the ship began to be completely swallowed by the ocean.
Help Was on its Way, but Not Soon Enough
Those fortunate enough to board one of the lifeboats floated around the sinking Titanic in a dazed hope that help would arrive momentarily.
Lost, frightened, hungry and cold, people were huddled in the boats; some tried to help and rescue their fellow passengers and crew from the freezing water while others were too scared to do anything. The help was indeed on its way, but the race against time was, unfortunately, a losing one.
Rescue Slowly Arrives for the Passengers
At the same time, while the very poorly organized evacuation was taking place, another ship began making attempts to assist. The Carpathia received Titanic’s emergency request for help and hurried towards the sinking vessel, but as she was about 93 kilometers (58 miles) away from the collision site it took her about 4 hours to get there.
It was 3:30 am the morning of April 15th when the Carpathia’s emergency alert rockets were spotted in the sky and gave a glimmer of hope to the surviving passengers.
Source: Titanic Timeline
The Herculean Efforts of the Carpathia
About one hour and ten minutes after Titanic slid beneath the freezing cold waves of the Atlantic, the Carpathia finally arrived to find floating lifeboats scattered over the surface of the ocean and no Titanic in sight.
This despite the Carpathia increasing its maximum speed from 14.5 knots to 17 knots by diverting power from its heating system to its engines.
706 people survived the night’s horrors: 492 passengers and 214 crew members.
Source: Titanic Survivors
The Deadly Human Cost of Titanic's Sinking
The majority of passengers and crew members who started Titanic’s maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 10, 1912, never made it across the Atlantic.
Only 31.6% of the total number of people aboard survived the sinking of this “unsinkable” ship.
Most of the survivors, 61%, were First Class passengers. About 42% were traveling in Standard Class and only 24% were Third Class passengers. 75% of the survivors were women.
Halifax's Grim Role
In the first hours after the fatal collision, there was hope among officials in New York that Titanic would still make it to Halifax, the closest port that was 700 nautical miles away from the accident site.
The reports said that special trains were sent to Halifax with immigration officials and some of the passengers’ relatives as soon as the news broke, but it was all in vain. Only the dead were brought to Halifax.
Source: Titanic Information
What Happened to the Children?
There were 107 children traveling on the Titanic and only about half of them made it to safety, most as orphans.
Among the surviving children were these two boys, Edmond and Michel Navratil. They were traveling under the false names of Lolo and Mamon Hoffman since their father kidnapped them from their mother before leaving with the youngsters for New York thinking that his wife was having an affair.
A Father Says Goodbye to His Family
Michel Navratil remembered the words his father said as he placed him and his brother in a lifeboat:
“My child, when your mother comes for you, as she surely will, tell her that I loved her dearly and still do. Tell her I expected her to follow us so that we might all live happily together in the peace and freedom of the New World.”
When the Navratil brothers reached New York, they were taken in by a French-speaking survivor. Their mother found them a month later after seeing their picture in a newspaper.
A Shocked World Learns of the Disaster
The first reports of the Titanic disaster and the unfolding tragedy that came with it were initially wired on both sides of the Atlantic from the Carpathia. The whole world was in shock to learn that the unsinkable ship was gone, taking 1,500 lives with it.
As the first survivors reached the shores of New York three days after the wreck, their testimony and stories helped piece together the last moments of the Queen of the Ocean and its ill-fated passengers.
Coping With Tragedy
The tragedy surrounding Titanic was commemorated in songs too. Many artists expressed their sympathy and sadness by writing tunes about the loss of the passengers as well as the fearlessness of the crew that died trying to save as many people as they could.
Some of these tributes sang of the grief, some of the pride and even the outrage provoked by the disaster. “My Sweetheart Went Down with the Ship” was one example of those that sang about love.
Source: Comfort, Courtesy, Safety, Speed
Titanic's Ghostly Skeleton Is Finally Discovered
The Titanic tragedy will always be remembered as the most devastating in the history of ocean liners. This dreadful event raised many questions, but most of them remained unanswered for decades due to unclear circumstances and conflicting specific details.
Even the wreck of the Titanic remained lost for over 70 years. It wasn’t until 1985 that Robert Ballard finally discovered Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean thanks to Argo, a deep-sea vehicle equipped with cameras which could be remotely controlled.
The Story Behind Finding the Titanic
Robert Ballard and his team of oceanographer scientists were on a U.S. Navy-commissioned mission when Titanic was found. Their original primary task was to locate two nuclear submarines in the region, but they made a deal that if they completed this mission before the agreed deadline they could use the rest of the budgeted time to search for Titanic.
It turned out that Ballard and his team had two weeks to investigate Titanic’s wreckage whereabouts, and on September 1, 1985, they got lucky.
The Feeling of Death In the Water Still Lingered
Thanks to the development of the robotic submersible technology that Ballard and his team created and agreed to use in the U.S. Navy’s investigation of the wreckage of sunken U.S. submarines, Titanic was located.
Its discovery provoked some ambivalent feelings. “It was one thing to have won — to have found the ship,” Ballard explained. “It was another thing to be there. That was the spooky part. I could see the Titanic as she slipped nose first into the glassy water. Around me were the ghostly shapes of the lifeboats and the piercing shouts and screams of people freezing to death in the water.”
Eerie Reminders From a Ship's Watery Grave
Images captured by Argo and Angus, two unmanned mini-submarines designed to take photos, revealed a great portion of the ship, including the area where the famous “Grand Staircase” had once stood.
The inside of the wreck was still filled with scattered pieces of furniture and other astonishing artifacts, including a sealed case of champagne. Many personal belongings of the passengers and crew members were also discovered, but their remains were forever lost to time and the sea.
Leaving Titanic to Rest
Ballard used the media attention to remind everyone that the wreck of the Titanic must be treated with care and respect. He became an opponent of any attempts to retrieve any of Titanic’s artifacts.
“The Titanic lies now in 13,000 feet of water… There is no light at this great depth and little life can be found,” Ballard stated. “It is a quiet and peaceful place — and a fitting place for the remains of this greatest of sea tragedies to rest. Forever may it remain that way.”
The Public Sees Titanic for the First Time in 100 Years
The initial search of the shipwreck lasted only four days, as an approaching storm forced the team to pack up its equipment and leave the site.
They soon returned home with the exclusive footage and photographs of their incredible discovery. An army of journalists, reporters and TV crews were waiting for them when they docked in Massachusetts, eager to spread the news across the globe backed up with never-seen-before images of the Titanic’s wreckage.
Titanic Takes Over Hollywood
The discovery of the Titanic wreck in 1985 was, of course, a huge deal. It opened up opportunities for research and a better understanding of the ship itself and its fatal destiny.
The tragic saga of the Titanic was brought back to public attention again in 1997 with James Cameron’s Oscar-winning movie “Titanic.” For the first time in 85 years, the public was able to see what life was like on board, from a fictionalized Hollywood romantic perspective at least.
Is There Really Going to Be a Titanic II?
In the year that marked the centenary of Titanic’s maiden voyage, news about plans for the construction of Titanic II appeared in public for the first time, but soon fell silent.
The story was recently revived with the announcements that “Titanic II could sail as soon as 2022,” as reported by CNN Travel. This new Titanic would be an identical replica of the original one, but better equipped with safety features and modern navigation technology.
The Big Plans for a New Era
As the work on Titanic II was resumed, Blue Star Line, which is backing the project, revealed more details about the ship. According to news releases from Blue Star Line, this brand new Titanic will be a nine-decked ship with 835 cabins and the capacity to carry 2,435 people.
Just like the original Titanic, accommodations will be available for first, second and third class passengers. Current plans have the maiden voyage departing Dubai for an arrival in New York City.
What the Titanic II is Promising
All those who dream of having the first-class experience of the original Titanic will soon be able to fulfill their wishes on a new one. Travelers on Titanic II will be able to enjoy the same luxury experiences as were had by passengers in 1912.
All of the luxuries that existed on the original Titanic will be carefully replicated both in private and public areas, including the swimming pool.
Bringing the Past to Life
Located on the middle deck of the grand ship, the saltwater swimming pool was designed for the enjoyment of first class passengers. The dressing rooms and the showers were installed right next to the heated pool.
Besides the exclusive pool, there were other top-notch facilities for first class passengers only. The gentlemen could also enjoy exquisitely decorated Turkish baths with hot and cold water, a steam room and private toilets for a one dollar fee.
The new Titanic promises to offer nothing less.
Elegance for Everyone
Titanic II’s maiden voyage will mirror that of Titanic’s, and following that plans are in the works for the ship to offer round-the-world cruises.
Those who decide to make the journey in the third class will use the cabins like the one depicted in this image. The main difference between the old and the new Titanic are the safety standards. Unlike it, Titanic II will have plenty of lifeboats for all class passengers.
The Big Question: Why?
“In 1912 the Titanic was the ship of dreams. For over a century Titanic’s legend has been powered by mystery, intrigue and respect for all she stood for,” said Clive Palmer, an Australian billionaire who supports the project to BBC News. He adding:
“Millions have dreamt of sailing on her, seeing her in port and experiencing her unique majesty. Titanic II will be the ship where those dreams come true.”
When Will You Be Able to Sail on Titanic II?
The plan to build a replica of the Titanic was initially introduced in 2012 when Clive Palmer publicly announced the project for the first time. Three years later it was suspended due to financial difficulties, but the dream has not been abandoned.
The exact date of a maiden voyage is still yet to be set. Reports are suggesting that 2022 could be the soonest Titanic II embarks for life on the sea, but a spokesperson for Blue Star Line company has yet to confirm that deadline.