In 2012, 100 years after the deadliest maritime accident in peacetime history – the Titanic Memorial Cruise will set out on a journey in the “footsteps” of the original vessel. The ship will follow Titanic’s original itinerary from Southampton across the Atlantic to New York, and hopefully arrive intact. Personally, I find the thought of going on a cruise in the footsteps of Titanic quite morbid, unless it’s done to say a final goodbye to relatives. However, if this is your cup of tea, there are still a few cabins left. I can’t help thinking that profiting from the deaths of others and making it a tourist attraction is in a moral gray zone (and yes, I’m well aware that this is not a single case).

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Like many others of my generation, my first association when I hear the word Titanic is Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s epic romance, one of the most heartbreaking catastrophe romance movies 12-year-old me had ever seen. Still I find it sad that my strongest association to this maritime disaster is a 1997 movie instead of the original incident. Many of the passengers going on this memorial cruise obviously also share this association, but do not find the thought of acting on it as repelling as I do. Passengers have been criticized for planning fancy dress parties where they will dress up as characters from the movie. In this article a passenger is putting it this way:

“I like the idea of a costume party, yeah yeah. Now tell me – who will be dressing up as my wife’s great grandfather? More specifically, who will be taking a memorial plunge in the 30 degree [fahrenheit] Atlantic ocean at the place where he met his death 98 years ago to experience what was described by survivors as “a thousand knives going into the body”?’

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Kate and Leo in Titanic (1997)

In the very unlikely case that you haven’t seen the movie or read about the accident, long story told short:

Titanic was the largest passenger steamship of its time, and considered to be the safest vessel in the world when it hit and iceberg and sunk on its maiden journey in 1912. The ship sailed out with 2,227 passengers, but carried lifeboats for only 1,178. The lifeboats were safely placed on the first class deck making it difficult for third class passengers to get rescued. The ship also had a women and children first policy, but “bloodmoney” bribes making it possible for rich men to escape was not uncommon. Around 1,500 persons died in the accident.

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The original Titanic

Would you consider going on such a memorial cruise or do you share my disapproval?

 

Kathrine Opshaug Bakke Kathrine Opshaug Bakke, editor at Travelettes from 2009 to 2013, wrote this post. Originating from Norway, she has been living in Berlin, Lisbon, and Stockholm the past 6 years.

She loves cities with imperfect facades, photography, traveling by bike, vintage hunting, and everything that comes with cheese. Follow her visual diary at anchoredpaperplane.com.

Tags movie