Is Titanic II an Elaborate Hoax?

March 3, 2013 | By | 10 Comments

Australian multi-millionaire rock-er Clive Palmer has been continent-hopping to promote Titanic II, a 55,000-ton, 2,435-passenger replica ocean liner set to launch in 2016. The drip campaign began in April around the 100th anniversary of the original doomed voyage. Revelations have been made about No. Two’s three-class setup, its vintage gymnasium reminiscent of a medieval torture chamber, the period garb hanging bathrobe-like in cabin closets and the abundance of lifeboat capacity.
Under the flag of the newly created Blue Star Line, version 2.0 will purportedly offer traditional Atlantic crossings between Southampton and New York. It will also, according to official brochure materials, “circumnavigate the globe.”

Red flags are flapping like the mouth of a first-class socialite after too many Manhattans. There’s the reputation of Mr. Palmer, a man associated with grand gestures, like a proposition to resurrect a dinosaur or the suggestion that the CIA and Greenpeace are bedfellows.
Titanic II, we’re told, will be built by Chinese yard CSC Jinling — an outfit that’s never built a cruise ship. The State-run facility specializes in bulk carriers, something Mr. Palmer certainly has need of in his line of work (minerals). It’s notable that, besides Titanic II, Blue Star Line has also commissioned CSC to build said carriers, according to a piece from China Daily published in May. At the time of press, a language barrier prevented me from obtaining additional information (“Sorry, sorry, sorry [click]” was the only available comment.) Questions about the choice of yard — why not opt for one of established powerhouses in Finland, France, Germany or Japan? — have also been sent to Crook Group, the Australia-based agency representing Blue Star Line.
And, while a memorandum of understanding was signed by line and yard in April, an actual deal has yet to be sealed.
Adding to the confusion are brochure materials that mention oddball marketing opps: See your company logo on a flag hoisted from one the three flag poles as the ship draws crowds in international ports; see your logo on “king of the world from the bow” pics sold to the public; name one of the luxurious facilities onboard.
Then there’s the question of size. At about 55,000 gross tons and carrying a maximum occupancy of 2,435, Titanic II will have the lowest passenger-to-space ratio of any cruise ship in the industry by some 25 percent. Not any luxury ship, but any mainstream ship. At 128,500 tons and a capacity for 4,724 passengers, Carnival Breeze, one of the most cramped mega-ships, offers more room to roam. Never mind the lack of amenities, like cabin TV’s.
Here’s a final rhetorical inquiry: Are there really enough fans of Titanic history to shell out for a cramped historical re-creation experience on a regular basis? “There’s probably a couple thousand people in the world who’d be fascinated by a transatlantic crossing on a replica of the Titanic,” maritime historian Peter Knego told NBC News. “It would also have to compete against the Queen Mary 2, and there are times that the QM2 isn’t even full.” In 2012, there were two 100th anniversary Titanic theme cruises. One, which was marketed for years, sold out. The other did not. Both were on ships far smaller than Titanic II. Still, Mr. Palmer has been widely quoted saying 40,000 people have signed on the Blue Star Web site to buy tickets on the maiden voyage. I’ve signed up, too — for the mailing list. I’ve been unable to find an actual place where you can register to secure a spot on the maiden voyage. A release on the site adds that, “among those interested, were 16 who were willing to pay between $750,000 and $1 million for a spot.”
Even with questions swirling about legitimacy, the names involved are very real — especially Finland-based Deltamarin, an industry-leading naval architecture and design firm that’s been commissioned to ensure Titanic II is compliant with safety and construction regulations. The firm has an impressive resume, having worked in various capacities on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships, Disney’s Dream-class pair and Celebrity’s Solstice-class quintet. I’ve reached out to Deltamarin with questions on the project. At press time, a rep said they were working on getting answers.
As to the feasibility of such a project, there’s little doubt. “Technically, I see no reason why it couldn’t happen,” said Nick Savvides, editor of Naval Architect Magazine. “Of course, a modern version has to take into account certain elements like damage stability, use of materials and safety equipment.”
Savvides added that, despite CSC Jinling’s lack of experience with cruise ships, the yard could indeed tackle the superstructure. He and other experts, however, agree it doesn’t have the expertise required for the complex and costly interiors, renderings of which show elaborate period-style paneling, wainscoting and glass work styled after the original Titanic. Savvides suggested that a very high proportion of the finishing work would have to be contracted out.
I’m confused. Is it an ambitious pipe dream, an elaborate ruse for ruse’s sake or a publicity stunt ultimately tied to one of Palmer’s other, more realistic projects? It’s hard to know.
When Mr. Palmer was asked this question directly at a recent press conference, he had a one word response: “Bull****.”
“If it’s a hoax, no one told us about it,” Crook Group’s Steve Connolly added.
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    Comments

    10 Responses to “Is Titanic II an Elaborate Hoax?”

    1. Simon Veness
      March 2nd, 2013 @ 11:40 am

      This is a fascinating debate currently. Here at World of Cruising magazine we’ve already made it clear we think these ‘plans’ are an elaborate con job on the world’s media, as it seems clear no-one could build a ship of 1912 vintage with the construction techniques and styles of today. It is a total pipe-dream (at best) and, until it actually sets sail, we remain sceptical in the extreme. Just for starters, would YOU want to sail in 3rd class (the biggest section, in terms of passenger numbers, of the original Titanic), sharing bathroom facilities with dozens of others, eating in a cramped communal mess room and having all the entertainment facilities of a Victorian pub and virtually no deck space? I just don’t see it.

    2. Dana Pierson
      March 4th, 2013 @ 11:35 am

      Funny, I have the same one-word reply as the owner. What are the odds?

    3. Paul Hinds
      March 6th, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

      Interestingly I already commented, with much the same reservations, as the author before I saw this article.

      Impossible to see how this ship could be viable unless it was a 300 passenger lux ship – requiring extensive changes from original.

      All those liners made their costs and much of their profit from the 3rd class trade – which mostly disappeared with the immigration law changes in the USA during the 1920’s-30’s.

      As previously commented other than a PR stunt for a radically different ship or a “Hoax” can’t see this project and doubt steel will ever be cut.

    4. jnik
      March 11th, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

      I might want to see it and take a tour of it. But I wouldn’t take a trip on it, especially cross – Atlantic. I might like to do an Alaska Cruise – better chance of seeing icebergs on that route.

    5. Randall in North Dakota
      March 13th, 2013 @ 1:30 am

      Although this ship would attempt to duplicate the 1912 ambiance as closely as possible, there would be many modern amenities, such as outdoor food and drink venues as well as hot tubs and ship wide WiFi. I don’t see there being 3 classes of main dining rooms nor cabins without bathrooms. Most Titanic aficionados are already used to modern cruise ships and wouldn’t want to give up any modern amenities, except maybe a water slide. As a seasoned cruiser, I feel I can safely say “fear not, you wouldn’t be disappointed.”

    6. Alexandre Deblois
      May 17th, 2013 @ 12:25 am

      Titanic II will be built. I am a huge fan of the Titanic and I would love to sail on this ship. I have only one phrase for those of you that find this project as not doable: DEAL WITH IT. This ship will be built, and if you don’t want to go on it, don’t. Go back to your multistory apartment blocks with no class. I’ll sail on a ship that actually looks like a ship, not a floating condominium filled with cheap bazaar stalls and neon lights everywhere.

    7. Andrew Learmonth
      January 7th, 2014 @ 2:19 pm

      Alexandre Deblois

      A huge fan??
      itanic isn’t a rock band,lol!

    8. Sarah E. Martin
      April 8th, 2014 @ 7:29 pm

      Well, I think that this is an excellent project with great potential! It’s so exciting to see something like this happen. A very brave move by Mr. Clive Palmer, and Delta Marine of Finland certainly has the expertise to oversee the design of the new Titanic. As a Titanic enthusiast myself (As Alexandre Deblois wrote above), and a freelance Industrial Designer, I was so happy to hear of this project, that I sent some design proposals for interior lighting to Delta Marine to see if they could use some new concepts using the artistic movements of 1912 as inspiration! Can’t wait for the new ship to be built and sailed in 2016!

    9. Aishia
      May 21st, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

      Would love to take a tour but would never sail on her.

    10. Luke Yates
      June 2nd, 2014 @ 10:31 pm

      I say good on the bloke, For mr Palmer to go out of his way to fullfil his own ambitions and dreams he carries the key to the insight of al those that share the same passion. Titanic undoubtably was the ship that was doomed thing of the past titanic 2 will be the ship that will go down in history is the one that bloomed and gloomed. This may be an insight of something good coming from something so bad, Like i have seen and read in this convo we can give the man the benefit of the doubt to pull this off is something trully unimaginable for some but it is possible. And what a ship it will be too. with no offence to Mr Palmer like others have said i would like to see this ship look on board but not so keen and eager to be going on any voyage

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