Social and Cruise History: Sinking feeling: unease about Titanic II plan… cruising for masochists and ghouls?

Social and Cruise History: Sinking feeling: unease about Titanic II plan…

Titanic-ExteriorTitanic II…

I agree with Hazel Gaynor’s piece in the Irish Examiner. The “Titanic II” is just another media gimmick. No one in their right mind is going to sail across the Atlantic on some seven day recreation of a pre-World War I Disney-ride.  Imagine being aboard an old style ship divided into classes dressed in uncomfortable turn of the last century clothes. It you look at the menus for the RMS Titanic they reflect the times. The macabre tragedy surrounding the RMS Titanic is similar to recreating the American space shuttle, Challenger, that exploded and killed all seven astronauts. Do you honestly want to spend a week on the “Challenger”  or the old fashioned RMS Titanic?  Talk about creepiness… 

Courtesy of the Irish Examiner:
Are plans to recreate the 1912 voyage a homage to history, or just insensitive, asks Hazel Gaynor

By Hazel Gaynor
EARLIER this year, Clive Palmer, Australian mining mogul and billionaire, held a glitzy press conference in New York to announce his plans to build Titanic II, the flagship of his shipping company, Blue Star Line.

The ship will be built in China and will set sail in 2016. Reaction was incredulity and ridicule — yet 40,000 people have still applied for tickets for the maiden voyage. Offers of $1m have reportedly been made for first-class cabins.

Building Titanic II, which will recreate Titanic’s maiden voyage, is viewed as insensitive, courting disaster, and a mockery of the memory of those who died this month in 1912.

Public rooms are more like film sets. As for the accommodations, is anyone going to sleep in these narrow style bunk beds? Who would go Third Class – only a masochist!

Dave Fredericks, a descendant of a Titanic survivor from Southampton, is supporting a petition to block Titanic II.

“When asked why he is building Titanic II, Clive Palmer arrogantly responds ‘because I can’. I say the question should not be ‘why he is building it?’, but, more, ‘should he be building it?’ And, respectfully and morally, the answer to that question must be no,” Fredericks says.

Michael Molloy, from the Addergoole Titanic Society, is open-minded. “For April 2012, a local group of enthusiasts built a large scale model of Titanic and launched it on Loch Conn, so, actually, Lahardane labour built Titanic II in the memory of the Addergoole 14. “It would be very nostalgic, and fitting, if relatives of those on RMS Titanic were given the opportunity to travel as a group on one of the Titanic II voyages. There would be stories to tell then,” Molloy says.

Helen Benziger, great granddaughter of Margaret ‘The Unsinkable Molly’ Brown, agrees. “I will be on the maiden voyage of Titanic II. I am hoping for the same cabin as my great grandmother. It would be amazing to finish the voyage for her,” Benziger says.

Third-Class-Dining

Third Class dining room on the “new” Titanic…

A Titanic II would be of huge interest, a fascinating opportunity to revisit history. “Passengers on, and visitors to, Titanic II will have a historical interest in the ship, in the same way as those who visit ground zero or the green fields of France,” says Michael Martin, who runs the Titanic trail tour in Cobh.

“It is not disrespectful to do that and we don’t denigrate people for revisiting those places of historical tragedies. Titanic was an immense tragedy, but that doesn’t ring-fence it from being of historical interest.”

Historical interest aside, is it moral to build a replica of a ship that is synonymous with such awful tragedy?

“Questions of morality were raised about the Balmoral as it recreated Titanic’s maiden voyage to mark the centenary,” says Martin.

“For the relatives, it was very meaningful for them to recreate the journey. In terms of using the Titanic name, there is a naval tradition to use ships’ names on multiple occasions, despite sinkings and loss of life.”

That Titanic II will be built in China, and not in Belfast, like the original, has been a matter of debate.

A spokesperson for Titanic Belfast says. “While there are many great reasons to be proud of our ship-building heritage, Titanic Belfast is utmost respectful and mindful of the loss of life on RMS Titanic. As the authentic home of Titanic, it would be natural to expect Titanic II to dock in Belfast. It would not be a case of the Titanic coming back, more so a near-replica of RMS Titanic being built to sail in its name. Titanic Belfast would naturally welcome its arrival into Belfast.”

It remains to be seen whether Palmer’s ambitious project will come to fruition. After all, he is a man who doesn’t have the best maritime track-record, with one of his luxury super-yachts, worth a reported $5.3m, almost sinking off Queensland’s Gold Coast last week.

Whatever your own views on Titanic II, even die-hard enthusiasts should prepare to be underwhelmed. “Titanic would be a very small ship by today’s standards,” says Martin. “Some vessels which now come into Cobh harbour are three times the size.”

*Hazel Gaynor’s Titanic novel, The Girl Who Came Home, is available on the Amazon Kindle store.

For more on Titanic II, CLICK HERE

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About Michael L. Grace

MICHAEL L. GRACE is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. SNOOPY continues to be one of the most produced shows (amateur & stock) in America/Worldwide and has had long running productions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in London's West End. There are over 100 individual productions every year. He has written movies for TV, including the award-winning thriller LADY KILLER, various pilots and developed screenplays for Kevin Costner and John Travolta. Besides co-writing and co-producing SNOOPY, he wrote and produced the one-man play KENNEDY. He produced P.S. YOUR CAT IS DEAD by pulitzer prize winning author James Kirkwood. He wrote the stage thriller FINAL CUT which had productions in the UK, South Africa and Australia. His one-man play, KENNEDY - THE MAN BEHIND THE MYTH, was developed for HBO and has starred Andrew Stevens, Gregory Harrison and Joseph Bottoms. He has recently been involved in European productions with CLT-UFA, Europe's leading commercial television and radio broadcaster. He wrote MOWs THE DOLL COLLECTION, THE BOTTOM LINE and LAST WITNESS for German television. While in college and graduate school he worked as a foreign correspondent for COMBAT, the famous leftwing Paris daily, and as a travel writer. He visited more than 50 countries. He struggled as an actor, then joined the enemy and entered the training program at William Morris. He became a publicist and worked for Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley's manager, at Paramount and MGM. He followed with a brief stint as a story executive, working in the frantic horror genre period of the early 80s and wrote THE UNSEEN. He went onto write for episodic television and develop series pilots. He was a continuing writer on such series such as LOVE BOAT, PAPER DOLLS, and KNOTS LANDING. He developed screenplays for such major award winning directors as Nicolas Meyers, Tony Richardson and J. Lee Thompson. He has written for all the major networks and studios. He has been hired numerous times as a script doctor, doing many uncredited rewrites on TV movies and features. He is currently writing A PERSON OF INTEREST, a thriller novel, and, IT'S THE LOVE BOAT... AND HOW IT CHANGED CRUISING BY SHIP a non-fiction book dealing with how the hit TV series as a major cultural phenomenon and altered the style of cruising by ship. He was raised in Los Angeles. He attended St. Paul's, USC and the Pasadena Playhouse. He received a B.A from San Francisco State University where he majored in theatre arts and minored in creative writing. He is listed as a SFSU leading alumni. He also apprenticed at ACT - The American Conservatory Theatre. For a brief period he had intentions of becoming an Episcopal(Anglican) priest and attended seminary at Kelham Theological College in the UK. When "the calling" wasn't there, he left seminary and did graduate work at the American University of Beirut. He has guest lectured at USC, UC San Diego, McGill, Univ. of London and the Univ. of Texas on the business aspects of making a living and surviving as a writer, focusing on development hell, in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Grace is a lifetime member of the Writers Guild of America, the Dramatist Guild and former regional chairman of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He resides in Palm Springs.

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