The 2012 Titanic
Rick Archer's Note: Here is a brief
blurb from a Travel Magazine commenting on the
upcoming Titanic Memorial Cruise
After the eerie coincidence of
the Costa Concordia disaster 100 years after the
Titanic, are you feeling lucky
enough to take on the Curse of the Titanic?
After 100 years you would assume the cruise industry would figure out how to
provide functioning lifeboats, but the Concordia
disaster dispelled that false illusion rather abruptly.
Nevertheless, with the
anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic
just around the corner,
the NY Post reports that people "are lining up to
reserve a spot on a cruise ship that will follow the
Titanic's ill-fated route in commemoration of the
100th anniversary of the liner's trip to the bottom
of the Atlantic."
ship will depart April 10, 2012, and is expected to make it all the way to New York
this time on the 18th (fingers
much does a spot on the ship cost this time around?
sounds expensive, but it is quite a deal
depending on your perspective. If
they followed the original prices today, it would cost
anywhere from $172 (third class) to $69,600 (first class)!
ticket price includes food served to "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."
global warming breaks off a few giant icecaps just in time
for Mother Nature to offer her own tribute for the event, let's
hope they have enough life boats this time around.
Teaching Dance on the Titanic Memorial Cruise
I have wanted to go
on this trip from the moment I first heard about it. It
turned out that Marla has also been studying this same trip
with an envious eye. Only one problem - we couldn't
Then out of
nowhere on Friday, February 17, we got an email asking for
someone to teach dance on this trip. I estimate it
took me two minutes to get permission from Marla, then hit
reply and say "Yes!!"
So Marla and I
will be teaching dance aboard the Azamara Journey during its
Memorial voyage in mid-April, 2012.
Since the ship is
at sea for all but one of the eight days, our
responsibilities will be extensive. Guess what?
We get to teach Ragtime! Have I ever danced Ragtime in
my life? No.
I looked it up
on the Internet. Fortunately it doesn't look too
tough. Coming on the heels of our recent Panama Canal trip,
this is an exciting opportunity. I promise to give
everyone lots of pictures and lots of stories from our
Hundred Year Titanic Memorial Cruise
April 15, 1912 - April 15, 2012
"Iceberg, Right Ahead!!"
Twenty minutes before Midnight on
April 14, 1912, those words rung out on the bridge of the
Murdoch ordered an abrupt turn to port and full speed astern, which reversed the engines driving the outer
to the sharp turn, the ship's starboard side
clearly missed the visible part of the iceberg.
However beneath the water, the massive iceberg was much wider.
The underside of the Titanic brushed
against the deadly edges of
the iceberg. This buckled the hull
in several places and popped out rivets
below the waterline. The glancing blow created a total of six leaks in the first
five watertight compartments. Murdoch then ordered hard right
rudder, which swung Titanic's stern away from the iceberg.
compartment was breached for only 10-15 feet,
but this was the killer blow. The
watertight doors were shut as water started filling the five
compartments - one more than Titanic could stay afloat with.
Two and a half hours later, the Titanic would disappear
beneath the freezing waters of the Northern Atlantic.
The Titanic carried 20
lifeboats with a total capacity of 1,178 persons.
There were 2,223 people on board.
This meant that automatically over a thousand people were
surely doomed to
die. However, due to extreme incompetence
on the part of the staff in dealing with the lifeboats, the death
total was far worse. Of a total of
2,223 people, only 706 survived; 1,517 perished.
Thanks to James Cameron's
Oscar-winning 1997 movie, most of us are keenly aware of the
extent of the tragedy.
"It is unsinkable! God
Himself couldn't sink this ship!!"
Titanic was the
largest passenger steamship ever
built at the time. Thanks to
improvements in engineering design, the ship was
said to be unsinkable.
Sadly the iceberg proved
that theory incorrect. The shock of hearing the
Titanic had sunk was so profound that now a hundred years
later, every time something goes wrong, we refer to it as
"Titanic Disaster" or a "Titanic Upset". The Titanic
simply wasn't supposed to vulnerable.
It was an
important event because so many people died when the ship
sank, due mainly to the lack of
lifeboats. After the sinking,
no ship was ever again
allowed to set sail unless there were enough lifeboats for
everyone on the ship. The sinking
of the Titanic is still considered the deadliest
peacetime ocean disasters
of all time.
Years Later - Titanic Voyage to Restart as Azamara Journey
A century after
the Titanic set sail on its fateful voyage across the
second historic cruise will depart New York City on
April 10, 2012.
Guests can book the eight-night charter voyage on the deluxe
694-guest Azamara Journey, which will feature a series of
Titanic historian lecturers.
On the April 14 anniversary, guests on Azamara Journey will
join the 1,309 aboard another Titanic Memorial Cruise,
Balmoral, at the site of the original ship’s sinking for a
will sail from Southampton, England, sold out last October,
and has an extensive waiting list, according to Titanic
will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, which has one of the most
moving and intimate connections with the Titanic disaster,
becoming the final resting place of many of her unclaimed
Here, among a number of excursion options, guests will have
the opportunity to visit Fairview Lawn Cemetery where
victims of the sinking are buried.
“Our original Titanic anniversary cruise aboard Balmoral
sold out last fall to over 1,300 people from 24 countries,
including 350 from the U.S.,” said Miles Morgan, managing
director of the Titanic Memorial Cruise.
“Many passengers either had relatives on the Titanic, or
have a lifelong fascination with the story. We are expecting
that Azamara Journey, with only half the Balmoral’s
capacity, will sell quickly.”
The exclusive charter aboard Azamara Journey offers guests a
European-boutique hotel ambience with fine cuisine, wines
from around the world, and wellness and vitality programs.
Prices start at $4,725 per person, double occupancy, while
suites, which start at $6,750 per person, offer additional
luxury amenities such as English butler service and a
private portrait sitting.
Controversy over the Titanic Re-Enactment Cruise
Note: It turns out there
has been criticism of this trip. The cruise line has
taken heat because it appears to be exploiting interest in
the tragedy. Personally, I don't agree. I feel
the trip focuses well-intentioned scrutiny on one of the
most enduring tragedies of history.
As far as I am
concerned, I am going to pay my respects to the people who
suffered such a terrible end. In the process I will
review the names of the heroes and the cowards and learn
more about human behavior under stress.
That said, I
believe it is only fair to give voice to the dissenters as
well. Here is an interesting debate that took place on
Cruise Critic back in 2011. I think does a good job of
looking at the Reenactment from all angles.
CRUISE CRITIC COMMENT 1
Did anyone else get this email
from cruisecritic advertising a cruise to celebrate the
100th birthday of the sinking of the titanic? Many
people died on the titanic and many more lost loved
ones. What thoughtless imbecile came up with this idea
to advertise a cruise?
CRITIC COMMENT 2
don't think anyone is 'celebrating' the sinking of the
Its the 100th anniversary of probably the most famous
shipwreck in maritime history and there is still huge
It doesn't bother me whether one cruise ship or a dozen
descend on the area in which the Titanic went down next
April 15th. Personally, I would have issues with the 'grave
robbing' that has gone on since Robert Ballard discovered
the wreck in 1984 .
CRUISE CRITIC COMMENT
have to agree with the first comment.
What shall we commemorate next? A cruise to mark the
bombing of Hiroshima? An overnight in New York to visit
the site of 9/11? Maybe
anchor somewhere to pay homage to those who died in a
These are just money making exercises for which the
owners of the vessels - and it isn't just Azamara -
should be profoundly ashamed. No doubt the cruise lines
will site "public demand", and there may well be some
relatives of those who perished for whom it will be a
poignant event. And no doubt because they are arranging
these "charter" voyages as a public service the cruise
lines will be giving their profits to maritime
think perhaps 'tasteless' comes to mind. I accept the
fascination held by some regarding the Titanic, but I recall
the chartering organisation's enthusiastic initial pitch for
this cruise and it did verge on crass and tasteless.
Personally I find the idea of encouraging passengers on
board to dress in period costume when the vessel will be at
the site of a maritime grave to be beyond tacky and
I can't imagine the outcry if similar disrespect was shown
for other sites (particularly those in the United States, as
previously pointed out).
CRUISE CRITIC COMMENT 5
IMO, it appropriate to commemorate the heroism and self
sacrifice of so many who gave their lives in this
tragedy. It is also appropriate to recognize the effect
of this in changing the attitude and regulation
resulting in the Safety of Life at Seas (SOLAS)
internationa laws that make cruising MUCH safer.
Each time I have a mandatory
lifeboat drill, rather than griping about 20 minutes
spent NOT enjoying my cruise, I wonder what effect it
would have had on the Titanic if it had been in force,
and obeyed by the captain and cruise line.
There have been several incidents during the last 20
years that demonstrate that the sea is a cruel mistress,
and respect for the dangers is warranted.
CRITIC COMMENT 6
don't think it is disrespect, but rather more of an interest
in an event and keeping history alive. Reenactments of wars
that took place in the U.S. are very popular. People dress
in period costume for the Revolution
and it appears that they do it for entertainment.
People dress in period costume for
the Civil War and no one seems to care. There
doesn't appear to be an outcry over this
practice, so why should there by an outcry over a
CRUISE CRITIC COMMENT 7
agree, it is better that this is commemorated in this
organized way than in other ways. Just
because a cruise liner has to
be used to reach the sight
does not lessen the commemoration. Just
as taking school children to
the trenches in France involves a holiday run by profit-making
organizations but the impact of the trip on the
children can be significant and lasting.
The cruise ship is just the vehicle.
The Story of
the 1912 Sinking of the Titanic
Rick's Note: As part of our
2006 New England Cruise,
Marla and I
had the chance
to visit the Titanic Museum in
We quickly discovered that Halifax
was closely involved with the enduring tragedy of the
Halifax was the closest port to the spot where the Titanic
went down. Everyone in the city knew something was
going on because the distress signals were relayed through
As a result of its
proximity to the wreck site, Halifax sent several boats to
help. Those boats soon discovered the grim reality.
Sadly, those same boats would return to Halifax carrying the
many dead bodies.
Because Halifax lost several
of its own citizens in the
tragedy and because so many passengers from the Titanic now
rest here, Halifax has long felt a keen connection with this
Moon may have
contributed to Titanic sinking
A century after the Titanic disaster, scientists have found
an unexpected culprit for the sinking: The moon.
Anyone who knows history or has seen the blockbuster movies
knows that the cause of the transatlantic liner's accident
100 years ago in April was that it hit an iceberg.
"But the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large
number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic," said
Donald Olson, a Texas State University physicist whose team
of forensic astronomers examined the moon's role.
Ever since the Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15
1912, killing 1 517 people, researchers have puzzled over
Captain Edward Smith's seeming disregard of warnings that
icebergs were in the area where the ship was sailing.
Smith was the most experienced captain in the White Star
Line and had sailed the North Atlantic sea lanes on numerous
occasions. He had been assigned to the maiden voyage of the
Titanic because he was a knowledgeable and careful seaman.
Greenland icebergs of the type that the Titanic struck
generally become stuck in the shallow waters off Labrador
and Newfoundland, and cannot resume moving southward until
they have melted enough to re-float or a high tide frees
them, Olson said.
So how was it that such a large number of icebergs had
floated so far south that they were in the shipping lanes
well south of Newfoundland that night?
The team investigated speculation by the late oceanographer
Fergus Wood that an unusually close approach by the moon in
January 1912 may have produced such high tides that far more
icebergs than usual managed to separate from Greenland, and
floated, still fully grown, into shipping lanes that had
been moved south that spring because of reports of icebergs.
Olson said a "once-in-many-lifetimes" event occurred on
January 4 1912, when the moon and sun lined up in such a way
that their gravitational pulls enhanced each other.
At the same time, the moon's closest approach to earth that
January was the closest in 1 400 years, and the point of
closest approach occurred within six minutes of the full
moon. On top of that, the Earth's closest approach to the
sun in a year had happened just the previous day.
"This configuration maximized the moon's tide-raising forces
on the Earth's oceans," Olson said. "That's remarkable."
His research determined that to reach the shipping lanes by
mid-April, the iceberg that the Titanic struck must have
broken off from Greenland in January 1912. The high tide
caused by the bizarre combination of astronomical events
would have been enough to dislodge icebergs and give them
enough buoyancy to reach the shipping lanes by April, he
Olson's team has sought to use tide patterns to determine
exactly when Julius Caesar invaded Britain and prove the
legend that Mary Shelley was inspired by a bright full moon
shining through her window to write the gothic classic
The team's Titanic research may have vindicated Captain
Smith - albeit a century too late - by showing that he had a
good excuse to react so casually to a report of ice in the
ship's path. He had no reason at the time to believe that
the bergs he was facing were as numerous or as large as they
turned out to be, Olson said.
"In astronomical terms, the odds of all these variables
lining up in just the way they did was, well, astronomical,"
The research will appear in the April issue of Sky &