An Australian billionaire said Monday he'll build a high-tech replica of the Titanic at a Chinese shipyard and its maiden voyage in late 2016 will be from England to New York, just like its namesake planned.Here's the thing: The Titanic was luxurious by the standards of its day. By the standards of today's cruise industry, a first-class cabin on the old Titanic might as well be below the waterline of today's cruise ships.
Weeks after the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original Titanic, Clive Palmer announced Monday he has signed a memorandum of understanding with state-owned Chinese company CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the Titanic II.
"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic, but ... will have state-of-the-art 21st-century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," Palmer said in a statement. He called the project "a tribute to the spirit of the men and women who worked on the original Titanic."
Only the relative handful of private suites had their own bathrooms. For the rest, the first class passengers had to make an appointment to take a bath. Most first-class cabins were less luxurious than a room at Motel 6.
Besides the changes in technology, the difference was the mission of cruise ships then and now. Before the Jet Age, cruises were taken for transportation. Which, for the most part, is not why people take cruises today.
Sure, a lot of people will initially book a trip on Titanic II. That'll last until word gets around that a Edwardian-age superliner was, by today's lights, cramped and boring. My guess is that T-II will end up being parked somewhere as a low-rent attraction. More likely is that it will be cut up for scrap before it is ten years old.
Still, the guy behind it will lose less money that was blown on LightSquared...