15 years ago, James Cameron’s film Titanic captivated audiences worldwide and become one of the top grossing films in history. April 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the date the Titanic tragically sank on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, and several cruise lines honored the memory of that luxurious ship with commemorative cruises, and events to remember that ill-fated vessel.
On April 8th, 2012, the MS Balmoral departed from Southhampton, England and retraced the route of the Titanic, including stops in Cherbourg, France and Cobh, Ireland. The cruise actually recreated the boarding patterns of the real Titanic, with 1,500 passengers boarding in England and another 1,300 in Ireland. On April 13, the ship stopped over the site where the Titanic still rests on the floor of the Atlantic and honored those who lost their lives in the cold sea that night.
To recreate the journey of the largest, most luxurious liner of its time, the dining menu was identical to that of the Titanic, and the music and entertainment recreated that of the early 1900s. Throughout the cruise, lecturers and historians gave talks and presentations about the Titanic that educated passengers about life aboard the ship and what really happened when the Titanic struck the iceberg.
After visiting the site of the sinking the Balmoral continued on to Halifax, Nova Scotia, the final resting place of many of the Titanic’s victims, and then to New York City, Titanic’s intended destination.
MV Marco Polo
For those who wanted to commemorate the Titanic, but did not want to commit to a Transatlantic crossing, the MV Marco Polo offered a commemorative tour that visited Southampton – the departure point for the Titanic – Cherbourg, France, Cobh, Ireland and Belfast, Ireland, where the Titanic was built, as well as Liverpool, England, home to the former White Star Line headquarters and the Titanic memorial.
Like the MS Balmoral, the Marco Polo featured a menu based on the Titanic’s menus, and educational programs on the history of the Titanic. The Marco Polo also visited the site of the sinking of the Cunard vessel, the Lusitania.
If you missed one of these commemorative Titanic cruises – or you aren’t into full on Edwardian immersion, a transatlantic cruise is a good way to get the feeling of what it was like to travel 100 years ago. The Queen Elizabeth II is perhaps the best known ship to make regular crossings, but several cruise lines make regular trips. Transatlantic cruises often incorporate aspects of travel that were common during the Titanic era, such as afternoon tea and formal dinners. If you’re planning a Transatlantic voyage like the one the Titanic set out on, plan to pack multiple outfits – including formalwear – and to change multiple times a day.
A Titanic commemorative or transatlantic cruise might not be an option for all travelers. However, you can learn more about the Titanic and get a feel for the history of the ship with other trips. For example, several cruise lines now offer itineraries that leave from Boston or New York and travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where you can visit the gravesites of the 121 Titanic victims buried there. Trips to Belfast, Northern Ireland or Southampton, England also allow you to see sites that are integral to the history of the Titanic.
In all of the excitement during this centennial anniversary of the Titanic – and the re-release of the film – it might be easy to forget that the ship actually sank, and that more than 1,500 people lost their lives that night. For many, the Titanic remembrances will be somber occasions, designed to remember those who were lost in the tragedy. However, don’t forget the pageantry and tradition that has mad the Titanic an object of fascination even 100 years later.
This guest post was provided by Shannon Pierce, who is a freelance writer and cruise coordinator. She helps hundreds of people book great discount cruises, and believes that whether you are booking a Hawaii cruise or visiting New York City, it is important to get out and experience the world.