Cruise History: The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic is to be marked with a cruise that will follow the ship’s original route. Bookings for the historic cruise opened today – exactly 97 years after the Titanic was lost – with the departure date set for early April, 2012. The Balmoral, operated by Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, whose parent company Harland and Wolff built the Titanic, has been chosen for the voyage.
It will carry 1,309 passengers – the same number that sailed on the fateful voyage – on the same route as the Titanic, leaving Southmapton in early April 2012 before docking at the Irish port of Cobh (formerly Queenstown), where the Titanic made its final call on April 11, 1912.
The cruise will continue to follow the route of the Titanic and, on April 14, it will arrive at the exact location the vessel sank some 100 years before, where there will be a special memorial ceremony between 11.40pm (when the ship hit the iceberg) and 2.20am on April 15 (when the ship sank).
Despite being built in 1988, the Balmoral is unable to sail as fast as the Titanic and will have to leave Southampton earlier than the Titanic did so that it can reach the spot where she sank on the anniversary.
After the service the cruise continues to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where excursions include a visit to the Fairview Lawn Cemetery where 121 Titanic victims are buried, before finally arriving in New York.
“The whole voyage will be steeped in Titanic history. The food served will 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,” he said. “We have started taking registrations earlier than planned as there were so many rumours circulating on the internet about plans to mark the anniversary. The fascination for the Titanic is as strong as ever.”