Put on your finest evening gown—and maybe pack an extra life jacket just in case—the Titanic II is set to make her maiden voyage in 2022.
Over 100 years since its namesake tragically sank in 1912, Titanic II will chart a course through the same waters and make the exact same journey, but hopefully without a similar disastrous end. Outfitted with the latest navigation systems, safety technology and yes, more than enough lifeboats, this ship will visually replicate its predecessor while rivaling it with plenty of modern features.
Australian businessman and multi-millionaire Clive Palmer's Blue Star Line shipping company is behind the $500 million project and first introduced the idea in 2012. Rather than be built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, like the original liner, Titanic II is being constructed in China and experienced a halt in development back in 2015 over financial disputes with the Chinese government.
Now, it appears construction is back on schedule and the company has proudly announced the ship will hit the waters in 2022, sailing from Dubai to Southhampton, England, and then finishing its voyage in New York.
The vessel will be a near exact replica of the luxurious Titanic, featuring the same cabin layout and almost the same amount of passengers (2400) and crew (900). The opulent designs go so far as to include a replica of the infamous staircase, which featured largely in James Cameron's 1997 film, so expect plenty of pictures to be taken here by eager fans of the romantic disaster flick. A video on the company's website outlines even more extravagant features on the ship, including formal dining rooms, smoking rooms, and a Turkish bath.
In an interview with MSN, Palmer explained, "The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southhampton to New York, but she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivaled attention, intrigue, and mystery in every port she visits."
To avoid disaster, Titanic II will have a welded, not riveted, hull, and the interior mechanic designs will, of course, be upgraded to meet today's safety regulations. In all other senses, though, this truly will be the ship of dreams realized once again and passengers will be privy enough to experience the same look and feel of the original doomed ocean liner.
First, second, and third class tickets will be available for purchase. Until then, tourists who feel they can't wait that long to experience the Titanic (and who have plenty of cash just lying around) can buy a ticket to dive down to the wreck of the original ship. The American company OceanGate plans to offer diving trips in 2019 for anyone willing to make that eery journey down to the depths of the North Atlantic — and anyone willing to pay $105, 129 USD for a ticket.
For the rest of us, we'll simply have to wait and see whether Titanic II will reach its proposed 2022 voyage — originally planned to set sail in 2016, and then pushed to 2018 before reaching its newest launch date, the project certainly seems more like an intriguing fantasy than a reality for now.