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The 2012 Titanic Memorial Cruise

Written by Rick Archer
February 2012

Rick Archer's Note:
  Here is a brief blurb from a Travel Magazine commenting on the upcoming Titanic Memorial Cruise

After the eerie coincidence of the Costa Concordia disaster 100 years after the Titanic, are you feeling lucky enough to take on the Curse of the Titanic?  After 100 years you would assume the cruise industry would figure out how to provide functioning lifeboats, but the Concordia disaster dispelled that false illusion rather abruptly.

Nevertheless, with the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic just around the corner, the NY Post reports that people "are lining up to reserve a spot on a cruise ship that will follow the Titanic's ill-fated route in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the liner's trip to the bottom of the Atlantic."

The ship will depart April 10, 2012, and is expected to make it all the way to New York this time on the 18th (fingers crossed!)

How much does a spot on the ship cost this time around?  $3,000.  That's sounds expensive, but it is quite a deal depending on your perspective.  If they followed the original prices today, it would cost anywhere from $172 (third class) to $69,600 (first class)!  

The ticket price includes food served to "match the sumptuous menus on the original voyage; the entertainment will include music and dancing in the style featured in those glorious times and there will be a chance to hear first hand from historians who have studied the Titanic story."

Lest global warming breaks off a few giant icecaps just in time for Mother Nature to offer her own tribute for the event, let's hope they have enough life boats this time around.

Teaching Dance on the Titanic Memorial Cruise

Rick's Note:  I have wanted to go on this trip from the moment I first heard about it. It turned out that Marla has also been studying this same trip with an envious eye.  Only one problem - we couldn't afford it.

Then out of nowhere on Friday, February 17, we got an email asking for someone to teach dance on this trip.  I estimate it took me two minutes to get permission from Marla, then hit reply and say "Yes!!"

So Marla and I will be teaching dance aboard the Azamara Journey during its Memorial voyage in mid-April, 2012. Since the ship is at sea for all but one of the eight days, our responsibilities will be extensive.  Guess what?  We get to teach Ragtime!  Have I ever danced Ragtime in my life?  No. 

I looked it up on the Internet.  Fortunately it doesn't look too tough. Coming on the heels of our recent Panama Canal trip, this is an exciting opportunity.  I promise to give everyone lots of pictures and lots of stories from our adventure!!


The Hundred Year Titanic Memorial Cruise

April 15, 1912 - April 15, 2012


"Iceberg, Right Ahead!!"

Twenty minutes before Midnight on April 14, 1912, those words rung out on the bridge of the Titanic.

Reacting quickly, First Officer Murdoch ordered an abrupt turn to port and full speed astern, which reversed the engines driving the outer propellers

Thanks to the sharp turn, the ship's starboard side clearly missed the visible part of the iceberg.  However beneath the water, the massive iceberg was much wider. 

The underside of the Titanic brushed against the deadly edges of the iceberg.  This buckled the hull in several places and popped out rivets below the waterline. The glancing blow created a total of six leaks in the first five watertight compartments. Murdoch then ordered hard right rudder, which swung Titanic's stern away from the iceberg.

The fifth compartment was breached for only 10-15 feet, but this was the killer blow.  The watertight doors were shut as water started filling the five compartments - one more than Titanic could stay afloat with.

Two and a half hours later, the Titanic would disappear beneath the freezing waters of the Northern Atlantic.

The Titanic carried 20 lifeboats with a total capacity of 1,178 persons.  There were 2,223 people on boardThis meant that automatically over a thousand people were surely doomed to die.  However, due to extreme incompetence on the part of the staff in dealing with the lifeboats, the death total was far worse.  Of a total of 2,223 people, only 706 survived; 1,517 perished. 

Thanks to James Cameron's Oscar-winning 1997 movie, most of us are keenly aware of the extent of the tragedy.

"It is unsinkable!  God Himself couldn't sink this ship!!"

Titanic was the largest passenger steamship ever built at the time.  Thanks to improvements in engineering design, the ship was said to be unsinkable.  Sadly the iceberg proved that theory incorrect.  The shock of hearing the Titanic had sunk was so profound that now a hundred years later, every time something goes wrong, we refer to it as "Titanic Disaster" or a "Titanic Upset".  The Titanic simply wasn't supposed to vulnerable.

It was an important event because so many people died when the ship sank, due mainly to the lack of lifeboats.  After the sinking, no ship was ever again allowed to set sail unless there were enough lifeboats for everyone on the ship.  The sinking of the Titanic is still considered the deadliest peacetime ocean disasters of all time.

  100 Years Later - Titanic Voyage to Restart as Azamara Journey

A century after the Titanic set sail on its fateful voyage across the Atlantic, a second historic cruise will depart New York City on April 10, 2012.

Guests can book the eight-night charter voyage on the deluxe 694-guest Azamara Journey, which will feature a series of Titanic historian lecturers.

On the April 14 anniversary, guests on Azamara Journey will join the 1,309 aboard another Titanic Memorial Cruise, Balmoral, at the site of the original ship’s sinking for a memorial service. 

Balmoral, which will sail from Southampton, England, sold out last October, and has an extensive waiting list, according to Titanic Memorial Cruise.

Azamara Journey will call at Halifax, Nova Scotia, which has one of the most moving and intimate connections with the Titanic disaster, becoming the final resting place of many of her unclaimed victims.

Here, among a number of excursion options, guests will have the opportunity to visit Fairview Lawn Cemetery where victims of the sinking are buried.

“Our original Titanic anniversary cruise aboard Balmoral sold out last fall to over 1,300 people from 24 countries, including 350 from the U.S.,” said Miles Morgan, managing director of the Titanic Memorial Cruise.

“Many passengers either had relatives on the Titanic, or have a lifelong fascination with the story. We are expecting that Azamara Journey, with only half the Balmoral’s capacity, will sell quickly.”

The exclusive charter aboard Azamara Journey offers guests a European-boutique hotel ambience with fine cuisine, wines from around the world, and wellness and vitality programs.

Prices start at $4,725 per person, double occupancy, while suites, which start at $6,750 per person, offer additional luxury amenities such as English butler service and a private portrait sitting.


Controversy over the Titanic Re-Enactment Cruise

Rick's Note: It turns out there has been criticism of this trip.  The cruise line has taken heat because it appears to be exploiting interest in the tragedy.  Personally, I don't agree.  I feel the trip focuses well-intentioned scrutiny on one of the most enduring tragedies of history.

As far as I am concerned, I am going to pay my respects to the people who suffered such a terrible end.  In the process I will review the names of the heroes and the cowards and learn more about human behavior under stress.

That said, I believe it is only fair to give voice to the dissenters as well.  Here is an interesting debate that took place on Cruise Critic back in 2011.  I think does a good job of looking at the Reenactment from all angles. 


Did anyone else get this email from cruisecritic advertising a cruise to celebrate the 100th birthday of the sinking of the titanic? Many people died on the titanic and many more lost loved ones. What thoughtless imbecile came up with this idea to advertise a cruise?


I don't think anyone is 'celebrating' the sinking of the Titanic.

Its the 100th anniversary of probably the most famous shipwreck in maritime history and there is still huge interest worldwide.

It doesn't bother me whether one cruise ship or a dozen descend on the area in which the Titanic went down next April 15th. Personally, I would have issues with the 'grave robbing' that has gone on since Robert Ballard discovered the wreck in 1984 .


I have to agree with the first comment. What shall we commemorate next? A cruise to mark the bombing of Hiroshima? An overnight in New York to visit the site of 9/11?  Maybe anchor somewhere to pay homage to those who died in a tsunami?

These are just money making exercises for which the owners of the vessels - and it isn't just Azamara - should be profoundly ashamed. No doubt the cruise lines will site "public demand", and there may well be some relatives of those who perished for whom it will be a poignant event. And no doubt because they are arranging these "charter" voyages as a public service the cruise lines will be giving their profits to maritime charities.


I think perhaps 'tasteless' comes to mind. I accept the fascination held by some regarding the Titanic, but I recall the chartering organisation's enthusiastic initial pitch for this cruise and it did verge on crass and tasteless.

Personally I find the idea of encouraging passengers on board to dress in period costume when the vessel will be at the site of a maritime grave to be beyond tacky and insensitive.

I can't imagine the outcry if similar disrespect was shown for other sites (particularly those in the United States, as previously pointed out).


IMO, it appropriate to commemorate the heroism and self sacrifice of so many who gave their lives in this tragedy. It is also appropriate to recognize the effect of this in changing the attitude and regulation resulting in the Safety of Life at Seas (SOLAS) internationa laws that make cruising MUCH safer.

Each time I have a mandatory lifeboat drill, rather than griping about 20 minutes spent NOT enjoying my cruise, I wonder what effect it would have had on the Titanic if it had been in force, and obeyed by the captain and cruise line.

There have been several incidents during the last 20 years that demonstrate that the sea is a cruel mistress, and respect for the dangers is warranted.


I don't think it is disrespect, but rather more of an interest in an event and keeping history alive. Reenactments of wars that took place in the U.S. are very popular. People dress in period costume for the Revolution and it appears that they do it for entertainment.  People dress in period costume for the Civil War and no one seems to care.  There doesn't appear to be an outcry over this practice, so why should there by an outcry over a Titanic memorial?


I agree, it is better that this is commemorated in this organized way than in other ways.  Just because a cruise liner has to be used to reach the sight does not lessen the commemoration.  Just as taking school children to the trenches in France involves a holiday run by profit-making organizations but the impact of the trip on the children can be significant and lasting.  The cruise ship is just the vehicle. 



The Story of the 1912 Sinking of the Titanic

Rick's Note:
As part of our
2006 New England Cruise,
Marla and I had the chance to visit the Titanic Museum in Halifax.  We quickly discovered that Halifax was closely involved with the enduring tragedy of the Titanic.

Halifax was the closest port to the spot where the Titanic went down.  Everyone in the city knew something was going on because the distress signals were relayed through the city. 

As a result of its proximity to the wreck site, Halifax sent several boats to help.  Those boats soon discovered the grim reality.  Sadly, those same boats would return to Halifax carrying the many dead bodies.

Because Halifax lost several of its own citizens in the tragedy and because so many passengers from the Titanic now rest here, Halifax has long felt a keen connection with this terrible tragedy. 


Moon may have contributed to Titanic sinking
2012-03-07 13:30


A century after the Titanic disaster, scientists have found an unexpected culprit for the sinking: The moon.

Anyone who knows history or has seen the blockbuster movies knows that the cause of the transatlantic liner's accident 100 years ago in April was that it hit an iceberg.

"But the lunar connection may explain how an unusually large number of icebergs got into the path of the Titanic," said Donald Olson, a Texas State University physicist whose team of forensic astronomers examined the moon's role.

Ever since the Titanic sank in the early hours of April 15 1912, killing 1 517 people, researchers have puzzled over Captain Edward Smith's seeming disregard of warnings that icebergs were in the area where the ship was sailing.

Smith was the most experienced captain in the White Star Line and had sailed the North Atlantic sea lanes on numerous occasions. He had been assigned to the maiden voyage of the Titanic because he was a knowledgeable and careful seaman.


Greenland icebergs of the type that the Titanic struck generally become stuck in the shallow waters off Labrador and Newfoundland, and cannot resume moving southward until they have melted enough to re-float or a high tide frees them, Olson said.

So how was it that such a large number of icebergs had floated so far south that they were in the shipping lanes well south of Newfoundland that night?

The team investigated speculation by the late oceanographer Fergus Wood that an unusually close approach by the moon in January 1912 may have produced such high tides that far more icebergs than usual managed to separate from Greenland, and floated, still fully grown, into shipping lanes that had been moved south that spring because of reports of icebergs.

Olson said a "once-in-many-lifetimes" event occurred on January 4 1912, when the moon and sun lined up in such a way that their gravitational pulls enhanced each other.

At the same time, the moon's closest approach to earth that January was the closest in 1 400 years, and the point of closest approach occurred within six minutes of the full moon. On top of that, the Earth's closest approach to the sun in a year had happened just the previous day.

"This configuration maximized the moon's tide-raising forces on the Earth's oceans," Olson said. "That's remarkable."

His research determined that to reach the shipping lanes by mid-April, the iceberg that the Titanic struck must have broken off from Greenland in January 1912. The high tide caused by the bizarre combination of astronomical events would have been enough to dislodge icebergs and give them enough buoyancy to reach the shipping lanes by April, he said.


Olson's team has sought to use tide patterns to determine exactly when Julius Caesar invaded Britain and prove the legend that Mary Shelley was inspired by a bright full moon shining through her window to write the gothic classic Frankenstein.

The team's Titanic research may have vindicated Captain Smith - albeit a century too late - by showing that he had a good excuse to react so casually to a report of ice in the ship's path. He had no reason at the time to believe that the bergs he was facing were as numerous or as large as they turned out to be, Olson said.

"In astronomical terms, the odds of all these variables lining up in just the way they did was, well, astronomical," he said.

The research will appear in the April issue of Sky & Telescope magazine

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