It’s official. The season for commemorating the centenary of the most famous foundered ship in history is here. While there have been occasional blips on the radar screen — like the auction of these artifacts, for instance — we haven’t noticed any iceberg-sized anticipation … until now, that is.
On Sunday, the first part of a four-part miniseries about Titanic hit the airwaves in the U.K.; “Titanic” airs in the U.S. on ABC starting April 14. Produced by Julian Fellowes, creator of “Downton Abbey,” the show has garnered mixed reviews, with the Daily Mirror nicknaming it “Drownton Abbey.”
Then there are the two Titanic-themed cruises, created by Miles Morgan Travel, leaving from both sides of the Atlantic. A memorial cruise on Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral will follow Titanic’s route out of Southampton. The cruise swings by Cherbourg, France, before stopping in Cobh, Ireland and then contines on to 41°43’57″N, 49°56’49″W, the coordinates where the Titanic met its end, for a memorial service.
The second cruise on offer is an anniversary cruise sailing from New York (where the Titanic would have completed its maiden voyage) on Azamara Journey. The cruise calls at Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic houses some of the best-preserved artifacts from Titanic. The Nova Scotia Archives houses the most complete known record of bodies recovered from the site, and the Fairview Lawn Cemetery houses the remains of many of those who died in the disaster. From Halifax, Journey will meet up with Balmoral at sea for the anniversary and memorial services.
The new Titanic Belfast museum, a modernistic building designed by architect Eric Kuhne, brings together as many visual representations of Titanic’s iconography as it does on the stories behind Titanic’s construction while centering itself squarely on Belfast’s role in the disaster. Describing itself as “The World’s Largest Titanic Visitor Experience,” Titanic Belfast is built to resemble the hull of four ships from the ground, while from the air the building forms a white star — a nod to the White Star Line, which operated Titanic.
After we posted an item on the “Titanic” TV series on our Cruise Critic U.K. Facebook page, several folks weighed in on the subject, and opinions are as varied as you might imagine.
Cheri Embree was totally into it: “I will be watching it. We are actually hosting a Titanic party at our home on the 14th.” And Talia Knezic concurred: “I’ll watch it. There’s a Titanic 3-D movie also coming out in a week or so and I’d like to see that too.” (Talia is referring to the re-release of James Cameron’s Oscar-winning blockbuster, 1997’s “Titanic,” which is returning to a theater near you in 3-D on April 4.)
Not so fast, said Sue Reid,, who “watched it but felt a bit uncomfortable because of the Concordia tragedy too soon.” And Hedy Sherman First would have none of it: “I will not watch it. I am going on a cruise soon and don’t want to have nightmares!! Enough sinking ships already!!!”
We wonder: Is it too much? Has Titanic fever turned to fatigue? And what of the numerous comparisons with the Costa Concordia disaster — there’s the upcoming “Disasters at Sea: Why Ships Sink,”‘ also scheduled to air in the U.K., which will focus on the two ships while attempting to “tell the captivating stories of many infamous shipping tragedies” and purportedly examining the science behind at-sea disasters.
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