Titanic II! Replica of doomed ship to set sail in 2018

The Titanic II gets ready to sail
The Titanic II gets ready to sail   

Ever heard the story of the RMS Titanic and thought: "Wish I'd been there"?

Well, now you can be. Sort of: A replica of the ship, which infamously was declared "unsinkable" and promptly sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg in 1912, killing 1,503 people, is being built for a whole new journey across the Atlantic.

The Titanic II project is the ambitious brainchild of Australian billionaire Clive Palmer. The real estate/coal mining magnate had announced his plans in 2012 to have it ready for this year, then ran aground for a time. But now, apparently, the ship will sail after all.

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It won't be precisely like the original: In order to meet modern safety standards, reported the Belfast Telegraph, it will have a welded and not riveted hull and be about four yards wider. But like the original, it will have first, second and third-class tickets for sale.

And presumably the new liner will feature more lifeboats; there were too few to accommodate the passengers on the original ship, and when those were launched they tended to hold only a fraction of capacity. It is considered one of the primary reasons so many ultimately died when the ship sank.

"The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you'd expect on a 21st century ship," James McDonald, global marketing director of Palmer's company Blue Star Line, told the Telegraph.

The new ship will be almost 300 yards long and 57 yards high, with nine floors and 840 cabins that can hold 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members. It will have a swimming pool, Turkish baths and gyms, among other amenities.

And yes, cruise-goers will undoubtedly realize that despite the name Titanic, those dimensions make it only a smaller cousin of some of today's luxury liners.

McDonald said that some relatives of passengers on the original ship have called building a new Titanic insensitive, but in general they've received a positive response so far.

The cost of the voyage (which will take it from Jiangsu, China to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates) has not been announced yet, but Blue Star reportedly has had offers of up to nearly $1 million for a passenger.

By Randee Dawn, TODAY.com/money.
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