WOULD YOU fancy taking a cruise along the same route as the Titanic’s disastrous journey of 1912 – on the 100th anniversary of its sinking?
A Titanic Memorial Cruise set to sail from Southampton on 8 April, visit Cobh the following day, and then continue on to New York city has already sold out.
Fred Olsen Cruises says that the MS Balmoral can carry around 1,300 passengers and a crew of 510.
The Balmoral will follow the same route as the Titanic’s maiden voyage and will pause at the site of the ship’s sinking (41°43’57″N, 49°56’49″W) for a memorial service marking the 100th anniversary of the 15 April 1912 disaster. A wreath will be laid at the scene in memory of the 1,517 victims.
Although there are no places left on the Balmoral, a sister cruise ship the Azamara is setting out from New York on 10 April and will also be at the Titanic site for the anniversary commemoration.
One of those who will be setting sail from Southampton on board the Balmoral this April is historian Dr Michael Martin, creator and operator of the Titanic Trail historical walking tours in Cobh.
Martin will be presenting a lecture to the Balmoral’s passengers which will “place the Titanic in its proper historical context on the day it visited Cobh,” he told TheJournal.ie.
“There’s been a lot of Hollywood narrative over the years, but the reality is that it was pretty much a routine visit on an ordinary day, with another group of emigrants leaving Cobh. It was a very short visit to the outer realms of the harbour for just an hour and a half.”
He will also be focusing on the activities surrounding the Titanic’s visit in April 1912.
“Cobh is unique in that the buildings and piers which were there at the time are still here,” he said.
Unlike many of the Titanic’s original passengers, Martin plans to disembark at Cobh: “Having spend 23 years in the navy, the Atlantic does’t hold that much of a thing for me!”
Martin is also introducing a special tour throughout 2012 which will bring visitors along the same short journey the Titanic passengers who boarded at Cobh took from shore to ship.
He said that although prospective passengers wouldn’t want to be superstitious about heading out around the same date as the Titanic did 100 years ago, he sees the Balmoral’s journey to the Titanic site as a “meaningful gesture”.
It’s hard to pin down why exactly the Titanic has captured the public’s imagination for so long, he said, but the ship’s loss is “a very worth historical study” as it raises questions about decision-making and safety at sea, as well as providing information on a very interesting cross-section of society at that time.