Titanic to make a comeback?

Yes. A million times, yes.

I am a 90’s kid, but I have a penchant for Victorian era corsets and 1950’s a-line dresses; anything with a sprinkling of late 19th or mid-20th century to full-blown, subculture revival. There is not a single major negative I can see to Australian billionaire Clive Palmer’s idea to revive the class and sleek sex-appeal of famous ocean liner Titanic for the modern age. Palmer has officially put the plans in motion to build a “full-scale recreation” and, if all goes well, we be ready for her maiden voyage in 2016. His commitment to detail is so great, that he intends to make 98% of the Titanic II historically accurate: 3 tier class tickets, decor, everything.

His ideas are not without skeptics, however. Die-hard ocean liner enthusiasts feel that certain details like Titanic’s rivet work made the original ship what she was – details that cannot be replicated today. I will argue that those types of details can be fabricated while maintaining building and safety standards. It’s the law after all, and the materials used in the construction of the new ship will have been thoroughly inspected for any imperfections. The beauty about this ambitious project is that modern technology will give Titanic a second chance at life and serve as historical context for the younger generations.

A replica of a 3rd class stateroom  courtesy of Katie Talks Carolina dot-com.

I will agree with the nay-sayers on one level: the majority of vacationers are used to ocean liners with amenities such as movie theaters, rock walls, shopping malls…something that is nothing less than a floating miniature city. One marketing challenge would be to fit some modern amenities into the small ship. Also, most 21st century passengers will not be too keen on the idea of being restricted from certain areas of the ship because they purchased a lower class ticket. Historical accuracy cannot be fully maintained in this regard. I don’t think 3rd class passengers today would appreciate those iron gates intended to block access to higher decks of the ship, if they were never able to lock in the first place. Would passengers even buy a ticket to stay in a 3rd class room? Having to do your business in front of your other bunk mates is very much like the setup of a prison cell. And what about lifeboats? Those are kind of important. 21st century children would need to carry ten packs of batteries and three different Game Boy devices just to keep themselves entertained, unless those kids are used to going to renaissance faires with their parents. They understand how to keep busy without modern technology.

As much as I would love to see a fully functional commercial ocean liner that once existed over 100 years ago, for the investor and company to turn a profit, there will need to be some modern marketing magic involved, and unfortunately for vintage enthusiasts everywhere, that also involves some modernization to an otherwise historically accurate recreation. It’s a necessary sacrifice.

I don’t personally know Clive Palmer and yet I wholeheartedly believe in his idea. I can see his vision to fruition, but with a few spins of my own. Make several ships available for conventions and recreate an entire line of era ocean vessels, from the 1900’s to the 1970’s. The ships can be theme ships along with their eras. They do not need to make transatlantic crossings, but they can operate like modern ocean liners – taking passengers on week to two-week long trips with calls-to-port all over the world.

A technology wing can incorporate steampunk computers and accessories, like this keyboard design by Jake von Slatt.

My favorite idea to market the Titanic II: Steampunk conventions. Steampunk subculture has a huge cult following around the world and fits perfectly into the 1912 world of Titanic. Independent clothing, jewelry, authors, artists, photographers, etc can be invited to sell their work and give lectures. “Period” clothing can be made available for rent. I’m sure there will be more than enough steampunk crazed-fans who would be willing to stay in 3rd class stateroom replicas. I would. Hell, last time I was on a cruise, I was only in my room for a total 5 hours a day. 4 was to sleep, one to shower and get dressed. I was wandering drunk around the rest of the time…when I wasn’t exploring the call-to-ports, completely sober. Boston was a different story, however. I digress – how awesome would it be to see a flood of people dressed in steampunk attire getting off of a Titanic replica? Yes. Totally awesome.

I will be buying a ticket to travel on Titanic Redux.

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