The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is fast approaching and there are several memorial events taking place.
HMS Titanic crashed into an iceberg on the evening of April 14 1912 and sank the next day, taking 1,500 passengers and crew with it. A hundred years on, two Titanic memorial cruises have been scheduled to enable descendants of Titanic passengers, enthusiasts and cruise passengers to be at the site where the Titanic sank on its maiden voyage.
Bill Willard, who developed the remote-operated vehicle, or ROV, that was used during the 1998 Titanic expedition, has organised an anniversary cruise with Azamara Club Cruises. Their 684-passenger Azamara Journey will sail out of Boston on 10 April to the site where Titanic sank. Historians and descendants of passengers and crew will be on board and an expedition ship equipped with an ROV will meet the cruise ship at the sinking site, to dive to the wreck and relay live video images.
Miles Morgan Travel, a British travel agency, has chartered Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral to sail from Southampton on 8 April to New York, passing the site of the disaster on 15 April. The trip will allow passengers to pay their respects at a special memorial service, which will take place at the exact place and time the Titanic sank 100 years before.
The ship will carry 1,309 passengers – the same number that sailed on the fateful voyage – and follow the same route as the Titanic, leaving Southampton before docking at the Irish port of Cobh (formerly Queenstown), where the Titanic made its final call on 11 April 1912. Interestingly, despite being built in 1988 the Balmoral is unable to sail as fast as the Titanic and will have to leave Southampton earlier than the Titanic did so that it can reach the spot where she sank on the anniversary.
Miles Morgan, managing director of Miles Morgan Travel, says: “The whole voyage will be steeped in Titanic history. The food served will match the sumptuous menus on the original voyage; the entertainment will include music and dancing in the style featured in those glorious times and there will be a chance to hear first hand from historians who have studied the Titanic story.”
The Titanic Memorial Cruise has proved very popular and tickets are now on a waiting-list-only basis. Alternatively though, there is a five-night mini cruise from Southampton on 3 April, calling at Liverpool, where the White Star line had its head office, and Belfast where the RMS Titanic was built.
Belfast is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s voyage with a new waterfront development and exhibition about what was then the largest ocean liner ever built. Interest in the doomed ship has barely flagged over the years and Belfast is taking full advantage of the anniversary with a dazzling array of exhibits detailing the Titanic’s luxuries and the myths and legends surround its sinking. Visitors can even explore the wreck at her resting place on the floor of the North Atlantic. The exhibition (titanicbelfast.com) opens on 31 March.
Also to commemorate the anniversary, two permanent exhibits at the Southampton Sea City Museum about the Titanic story and the city’s role as a major port from which the Titanic set sail will open in April. Four out of five crew members aboard the ship hailed from Southampton, and the losses to the city were significant. For more information about the museum, visit seacity.co.uk
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