To Build a New Titanic?

It has this year suddenly been proposed by many to realize a dream many have long nurtured...to construct a new ship in the image and/or memory of the legendary RMS Titanic.

In order to sort out the rash of differing proposals and visions and to offer my own thoughts on the issue,I have created this web page.
The latest additions here...the Nostalgia Cruise Lines page disappears...Emanuel Huard gives details and plans a fourth ship and moves his website twice...Nodwell adopts the South Africans...a South African web page at last...Much news and new management at "Titanic 2012"...another entry,"Red Star Lines", comes and folds and revives and reforms in record time!
For general Titanic information,start your web crawl at Jim Sadur's Titanic page.

It's certainly true that the $600 million spent on tickets to the Cameron film in the USA and Canada through August 27,1998(let alone the $1224 million spent elsewhere through mid-November 1998) would suffice to build a new ship on the model of the old.Even though the money would not have to be spent so fast,however,it would be a lot harder to raise.

All with thoughts on this issue,or additions/corrections for the below,are welcome to email me. But let us examine the players and ideas...

The Gigantic Project

Who?

Nic Wilson and Bruce Moffat,Australia

What?

"A sister ship to RMS Olympic,RMS Titanic,and HMHS Britannic"

When?

2012 (centennial)

Website?

No longer...was part of Nic's site on Titanic and its sisters.

What For?

Operational details never made clear.

Comments

Officially "shelved" after the announcement of the Navratil and South African-British bids(see below)...awaiting their outcome. Name Gigantic,intended by White Star for a ship of this class, was favored for the ship(I like it myself for a tribute ship).
One of many hopefuls to wish Harland & Wolff to build the new ship,though despite their archive site the builders of the Olympic class are long gone from the passenger ship business.

Contact

Nic Wilson

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White Star Lines Ltd.

Who?

Walter Navratil,president,Anna Voelcker, G&E Business Consulting & Trust(Basel,Switzerland), John Henry Brebbia,Titanic Development Corp.(Las Vegas)

What?

A "$500 million full-size replica"

When?

To sail on 90th anniversary in 2002

Website?

First Swiss site
New Swiss site
Worked from April until placed "on hold" by Internic June 22:
American mirror
"Ready in about a week"(webmaster claim Apr 12):
UK mirror

What For?

One round trip,UK-US,then conversion to cruise ship.

Comments

Modernized,oil-fuelled.Announced April 6,1998 in New York Post and on wires,with note that they need additional investors to raise their $500 million.Group claims to have "copyrighted" the name RMS Titanic, though it seems the Royal Mail would have jurisdiction over what ships may be called Royal Mail Steamers.(Not that this is insuperable... there would likely be a market for surface mail that was carried on the Titanic).

Tickets on the crossing would be priced $10,000 to $100,000.

G&E is reportedly owned by an architect.Brebbia,a lawyer,heads TDC, which is trying to do merchandising based on the Titanic and White Star names,to which the group's rights are themselves questionable. (Numerous groups use them in the USA alone,and a retired UK bus driver claims to have bought them from Harland & Wolff(!)).

No idea if president Walter Navratil(who lives in Austria) is related to Titanic survivor Michel Navratil(who lives in France).Swiss site makes broad claim to be successor to old line,with no justification.

Contact

Anna Voelcker,Daniel Signer

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RMS Titanic Shipping Holdings

Who?

Shipbuilder Sarel Gous and others,based in Durban,South Africa with British financing

What?

A "modernized replica" apparently called "Titanic II"

When?

To sail on maiden voyage December 29,1999

Website?

Semi-official
(Hosted by the Titanic Society of South Africa)

What For?

A working transatlantic liner like the original

Comments

On announcement April 7,1998,it was claimed that the identity of a British finance house pledging $400 million to the project would be announced April 8...but all that was announced then was that Saatchi & Saatchi was handling their PR.

Later it was stated that Sunray Development was the finance company (a loan,not an investment,and $691 million,of which $477 million would pay for the ship).

They claim to have negotiated exclusive use of the original plans with Harland & Wolff,though Gous's company would build this ship in Durban...modifying the harbor to make it possible.

Their December 1999 in-service date seems highly optimistic. They propose to carry 2600 passengers on a Titanic-size ship... the QE2 never carries over 1750 despite being twenty thousand tons larger... it would be quite an irony to see the ship that was a byword for size and luxury reincarnated as the smallest,most crowded ship in its market.

The crowding has not stopped them seeking even more exorbitant prices than Navratil's group...$30,000 for a third class cabin, $380,000 for "Imperial class"...by way of comparison the Grand Suites on the QE2 now cost(before the customary discounts) about $45,000 per voyage in the peak season and the winter is as far from peak season as you can get.(Some sources give the top fare as only about $170,000)

However,it is commendable that this group does propose to actually build and operate their ship as a liner...unless a recent Popular Mechanics article is correct that they plan to convert to tropical cruising just like the Swiss-USA group.

Contact

None Known

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White Star Lines Foundation

Who?

Jim Sullivan,Executive Director,and others

What?

An "Olympic class steamer" built at Harland & Wolff and apparently called "RMS Titanic Centennial"

When?

2012 for centennial

Website?

Yes

What For?

A floating museum only...though if it is not moored in Belfast it will have to travel somewhere from H&W

Comments

A nascent nonprofit organization.Offers memberships,hopes to offer scholarships.In view of the other syndicates they are considering a land-based museum or a replica of an earlier,smaller White Star ship.They indicated plans to start a "White Star Lines Ltd" of their own as a for-profit merchandising arm...but with confusion with other claimants an issue,this will be renamed.

Contact

Jim Sullivan,Executive Director

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Note that the real historical White Star Line merged into Cunard decades ago. Mark Nichol has a page about them.
For all the rush to use the name(see above and below) the historical company was only using the name as a d/b/a until the 1920s,being corporately Oceanic Steam Navigation Co. Ltd.

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Thomas Andrews Trans-Atlantic Line

Who?

Josh Behn,president,Ben Fields,and others

What?

"full sized,near exact replica" (called Titanic)

When?

Centennial in April 2012

Website?

Yes

What For?

Transatlantic crossings and historical cruises
"Every voyage would be a historical recreation of life on Titanic...minus the iceberg and sinking"

Comments

Of all the proposals,the most determined to replicate the original as closely as possible...down to the 1st/2nd/3rd class accomodations and menus and keeping all modernized elements camouflaged out of sight. Behn wants to avoid any structural or visible difference from the 1912 original wherever possible.

Coal powered,with the number of passengers clipped to 900 to minimize increase in lifeboat capacity.Crew 900 also.

Has lately sent inquiry to Harland & Wolff and implies future of project may hinge on response.H&W wants to see financing,he is looking for backers.

Despite long lead time,now taking reservations for 2012 voyage. Estimated ticket prices astoundingly cheap,$1000 3rd/$2000 2nd/$4000 1st,now retracted in favor of "all under $10,000".

Associated with the Raise The Titanic Foundation which recently abandoned hope of refloating the original and closed its website.

Formerly used names White Star Line Inc., Trans Atlantic Inc.
Based in Massachusetts and in Utah(Behn,from Brockton,is a BYU student).

Contact

Josh Behn(AOL address)
Josh Behn(college address)

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Nostalgia Cruise Lines

Who?

Douglas Hoefle (and prospective investors)

What?

A 980-foot 80,000 ton cruise liner called Titanic with design elements from the original

When?

Subject to financing(nominally 2000)

Website?

Gone!
Removed September 1998

What For?

Annual Atlantic crossings,otherwise cruises in various areas of the world at their high seasons

Comments

Conceived as a business school project.The ship would replicate first class cabins only,the space occupied on the original by second and third class cabins would be taken up by modern amenities...there would,however, be five classes of accomodation,priced from $3000 to $8700(large suite) for an Atlantic crossing.

Design of this ship is clearly not on the Titanic's proportions,as scaling the Titanic up to 980 feet long yields only about 63,500 gross tons.

Budgeted at only $300,000,000 to build,less than any other project (though in proportion to the cheaper costs of cruise ships), but has an operational plan which no others have published.

A successful Titanic would spur this line to reconstruct other storied ships,including the SS United States,even though the original still exists and could use restoration.

Proposes a deal in customer service operations with Ritz-Carlton.

Treated the Navratil group's announcement as a realization of this dream...continued to offer proposal on Web for a while,but reports that Carnival,which was buying control of Cunard but then had yet to close the deal,is trying to stop anyone from building a new Titanic!(Nor will they themselves)

Contact

Douglas Hoefle

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Titanic 2012

Who?

Nicole Gaston,Montgomery,Alabama, Kevin Krzyzanski,Michigan,Stanislav Yefanoff,Moscow

What?

"An exact replica of the original", "with only necessary modernization"
said modernization "will be disguised so as not to destroy the appearance"
Possibly named Titanic II

When?

Centennial in April 2012

Website?

Just registered,unused
(Registered April 8 but placed "on hold" by InterNic Apr 27)
Present plans "not known"

What For?

Transatlantic liner at least once a year..."Voyages from Southampton to New York and other major ports throughout the world"

Comments

Group formed over the Internet,formerly also included Tom Hatley,Erin Collier.

Modern engines and safety precautions,but "we plan to have everything the same,cabins,furniture,crew outfits,silverware,dishes,a band of that era, etc." Also hoping to have Harland & Wolff construct it.Ship may make trips "elsewhere" and be displayed as a museum when not handling passengers or after retirement.Fares "affordable to everyone" after maiden voyage.

"We are contemplating a merger with several other small groups like ourselves.If this does come about,many of our plans are likely to change in order to compromise".

Aka Titanic 2.

Contact

Tom Hatley(inactive)
Nicole Gaston
Stanislav Yefanoff

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SS Titan Ltd.

Who?

Joseph Ricker,president,Ronald Rust,Tom Hansen, and others

What?

"A ship honoring the Titanic" (named Titan)

When?

Target date was 2001,now June 2002

Website?

Yes
(A merchandising site,intended May 5 to be ready June 10, was been postponed several times and recently promised for imall.com...in October a page on their own domain was added for it)

What For?

"used for shipboard tours and excursions from every world port including the Great Lakes"

Comments

Only entry here announced via email to the page maintainer.

Based in Minnesota,one trusts that their "Titan" will not suffer the fate of Morgan Robertson's fictitious one!

Ship is to be "a coal and oil powered concept",and they hope to deal with Harland & Wolff on construction.Fares "affordable","similar to a luxury hotel's rate for an evening",frequently involving an overnight "cruise to nowhere" from rotating ports of call...ship would be open for tours in daytime and then sail with passengers each night of its visit to a port.

Planned to be selling merchandise and have prospectus available by June 10...then July 10...awaited the "Titan-wear" until October....now they have the merchandise.

Contact

Joseph Ricker

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Titan Development Corporation

Who?

Lonnie Morse,CEO,Richard McCain,president,and others, Plymouth,New Hampshire

What?

"A repro Titanic"

When?

Subject to financing

Website?

None

What For?

a floating hotel with offices

Comments

Morse has been actively working toward this for about 12 years, and planning before that.He has devised detailed plans for a giant resort and convention center,probably in Georgia,budgeted over $2,400,000,000,centered on a lake with the ship in it and including a Titanic museum.Ship would be built in sections in Nova Scotia.

Aka "The Titan Project".

Contact

No email

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Titanic II

Who?

Emanuel Huard,Charlesbourg,Quebec,Canada(president),
Conrad Huard,vice president,White Star Lines Inc.

What?

"I will buy the plans of the ship and I will make it rebuild in the least detail...to have the most perfect reproduction than possible"
(H&W,however,has apparently offered him a more modern design)
(his first language is presumably French) Ship to be called Titanic II
(And other ships,see below)

When?

"2002 or 2012" (was leaning to centennial,now 2002)

Website?

First(bilingual)
Second(bilingual) (Both disappeared November 1998)
Third(bilingual)
(Only worked during November 1998)
Latest(bilingual)

What For?

cruising to visit the Titanic wreck site and assorted ocean crossings (including Pacific at times)

Comments

Like Behn,E. Huard is a teenager and obsessed with accuracy.

However,he plans 40 to 50 lifeboats,and both "marvellous coal" and oil fuelled engines as well as electric motors.He intends Harland & Wolff to do the construction.Passenger capacity over 2100.

Huard hopes to patent the idea of rebuilding the Titanic for 2002 or 2012,which seems unlikely;has been working on this for two years.His company,"White Star Line Inc.", should not be confused with name formerly used by Behn's venture; incorporated January 1998 and registered office is said to be a cattle shed.Now also called White Star Trans-Atlantic Line.
Claims copyright on the "Titanic II" name and nine-figure financing from various sponsors.

Recently planned to leave for Belfast July 20 "to sign papers for the rebuilding of Olympic,Titanic,and Britannic".Returned saying he had a contract for "Titanic II" and that the others would be signed for in September...now says this is a six month option expiring January 25,1999.(RMS Titanic Shipping Holdings claimed a similar deal...is theirs dead?)No confirmation from H&W...he quotes a letter from them and reports he has sent a deposit for a study.

New website showed new Britannic as a hospital ship and called it "HMHS", but now corrected;it will be a "cruise ship" and apparently be called Gigantic.In 2014 plans to add a replica of Empress of Ireland to line.

Until recently offered Hoefle's business plan(slightly edited) as Huard's own despite Huard wanting to build a rather different ship from Hoefle.

Assumes that he can turn a $300,000,000 profit on the first voyage! Maiden voyage plans include a halt and lifeboat tours at wreck site. Quoted fare prices have varied,even between English and French; now standardized on $5000 3rd class,and $12-30,000 2nd and $15-60,000 1st class. In any event,investors of over $100,000 get life tickets.

Plans an expanded merchandise line soon(Kangaroo waistcoats?).

Contact

Emanuel Huard

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Titanic 2(Nodwell)

Who?

J. Aaron Nodwell,"shipbuilder"

What?

A replica called "Titanic2"

When?

2002

Website?

Used to have one that disappeared with former oceanl4738@aol.com address

What For?

Crossing,then cruising,then museum

Comments

Nodwell previously said he worked for Huard,and with Harland & Wolff;Huard said he was negotiating with Nodwell but then disowned him "forever" August 10,1998.
He has made extravagant claims(similar to Huard's) and has used the alias Alexander Butwick almost in self-parody.Once said he was 29,now 16.

Nodwell says after the first crossing,ship will cruise for 20 years and then become a museum.Also hints,improbably,at exemption from SOLAS lifeboat embarkation deck elevation requirement(see below).

Recently has indicated he had abandoned his project,but now claims the South African project(above) is "his" and that the guesswork-laced conceptions in the Popular Mechanics article represent the "actual design".

Contact

Aaron Nodwell

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Project Titanic

Who?

Peter Bayliss,Project Manager,Crieff,U.K.,and "anyone with enough money"

What?

"A modern replica of Titanic"

When?

Intended for 2012 centennial

Website?

Yes

What For?

Transatlantic liner but with offices for rent

Comments

Oil-fuelled...passenger capacity greatly reduced to make room for offices and much larger third class cabins(class names retained but classes will not be separated;dining arrangements allow others into FIrst Class dining saloon to take up seats opened by capacity reduction). Cargo capacity expanded,Smoking Rooms reduced.Ship may be operated by an established shipping line and hotel and restaurant staff will be outsourced to a hotel group.

Contact

Peter Bayliss

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Red Star Lines(Name subject to change)

Who?

Billy Gray,Panama City,Florida

What?

A new shipping line beginning with a new "Titanic" 1260' long,160' beam,265' high(but "designed to look exactly like the original did")
and then larger ships!
Now instead an exact replica...

When?

Intended to begin with 2012 centennial

Website?

Old
Lasted about two days...then returned...now only referral to 2nd
Second
Latest

What For?

Transatlantic liners in summer, in some plan versions cruising in winter
Now proposed as strictly educational,occasional crossings

Comments

Look at his website,he changes too often to cover

Generally diesel-fuelled four-funnel designs,but Gray intended the Titanic to have coal-powered reciprocating steam engines,which he budgeted at the same $300,000,000 ones just like the original's would cost,though these would be tasked with pushing a much larger ship substantially faster(40-45 knots,he said at first,then 20-30).

Then he learned that reciprocating engines shorten ship life, and dropped this.

And then he decided to have only exact replicas of old ships built,for non-profit educational purposes,hoping to cross the Atlantic at times despite rules against old style ships in service.

Gray is fourteen years old.He is the epitome of the teenager-type project on this list(see Behn and Huard)...long on enthusiasm and short on expertise.Wanted money,as everyone here does...his budgets for these ships ran up to $5,000,000,000.

Has approached SS Titan,Huard,and possibly others with offers of assistance in return for lifetime 1st class travel and "a master key" and requests for crew positions.

He intended to follow the new "Titanic" with a larger new Britannic, then an even larger new Olympic,then a still larger "Atlantic",with an "Oceantanic" presumably larger yet waiting on whether the others made money.Past that,"Red Star" and "Pacific" were possible but unbudgeted...and "Shining Star"...dreamed of a huge fleet including smaller vessels...then suddenly gave up.

Provides rudimentary,arbitrary,naive plan drawings on request...his plans changed constantly in a business proposal that lasted about two days.

Lately says he is back in business...seeking to incorporate or register,which he had not.Then he said he would be a for-profit entity with Pacific and other subsidiaries.THEN he said he had no money to register and would merge or fold.THEN he said he would be a non-profit,taking donations,offering trips to the disadvantaged, and building only three ships...or not...and abandoning the Red Star name.Now projects incorporation for 1999.

He also would like to buy and refurbish the SS United States. Said Gibbs & Cox had agreed to design his ships.

Proposed cheap ticket prices.

Contact

Billy Gray(inactive address)
Billy Gray(active address)
Billy Gray

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Liners & Shipping Link Page

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My Own Thoughts

Will any of these projects come to fruition?
Or are they just feeble hopes and dreams?

They may all chase the rainbow,but if a ship does get built it would be the greatest shame of all to see one built that is unworthy of the legacy it claims.

One thing I most dearly hope to see is the building of an honest-to-God LINER rather than the chubby,indolent *cruise ships* that have taken over the passenger ship industry. It's like the sidekick of a vanished superhero swabbing off his mystique and doing nothing but getting fatter...a liner goes someplace across the ocean,a cruise ship hugs coasts and goes around in circles.

The Navratil group in fact lacks the gumption...after one UK-US-UK round trip,they plan to convert their ship for cruises.Such conversions do happen,but I wonder if they understand what it takes.Accuracy in replicating the Titanic translates into differences from the cruiser paradigm.Hoefle tosses the Titanic design to the winds...I think any deviation from the Titanic's proportions should be as needed for speed, as the Titanic is honored by building a liner,not a cruiser! Ricker's group envisions only cruise-style use even while maintaining the original design.

In any event,an exact replica of the Titanic could not legally operate,thanks to what happened to the Titanic.I'm not sure how much latitude has been envisioned in the Gigantic Project as a "sister" to the Olympic/Titanic/Britannic...the 48 full-size lifeboats Harland & Wolff recommended and planned building the ship with although White Star insisted little need be added to the legally required 16 would be alteration number one,followed by the other safety improvements on the (nonetheless quickly sunk) Britannic... from a practical standpoint,required changes would take the form of conformance to the Safety Of Life At Sea(SOLAS) Convention of the International Maritime Organization.This would cover numerous facets of design,construction,and operation.

For example,there would have to be massive fireproofing,cabin arrangements would have to be reorganized,stairways and doors would have to be added,lifeboats would have to be nearer the water...

However,this would really be just the beginning of differences between the Edwardian concept whose keel was laid in 1909 and a ship that could be constructed and operated today.The Titanic had coal-fired steam engines that took a crew of 329...which today would be an unbelievable expense,people do not work for 1912 wages!Recall that the Royal Yacht Britannia was retired because its 1980s-refitted 1950s technology was too inefficient for the 1990s.(Coal would run afoul of pollution regulations also).

Nor is it responsible to neglect all the advances that have taken place in metallurgy,propeller design,and other facets of naval architecture...the poor quality steel in the Titanic cracked easily. Hydrodynamics,computer modelling...the Titanic was pushing the envelope of technology in its day,would a fitting tribute to it fail to do so?

Clearly a modern powerplant would be required,with the attendant changes in interior architecture (space not taken by furnaces and engine crew would need new uses).If it was desired to have four funnels on top for "the Titanic look",they would all or nearly all be dummies rather than the one dummy on the original.While modern steam engines are possible,the leading manufacturer has quoted $200,000,000 as a ballpark figure (half the money it would cost to build a modern ship twice the size... OR a Titanic clone,which would cost more due to various inefficiencies).

This is a special interest of mine,as I am privy to certain proprietary engineering technologies that I would love to see debut in such a high-profile showcase...it is some years from an engineering demonstration but certainly should be usable by 2012 (although not 1999 or 2002) given financing.I have read that the Titanic's 30,000 hp engines were "the size of a three-story house"... It should soon be possible to make engines twice as powerful fit in a kitchen!

What I am building up to is the fact that replicating the Titanic in body can not replicate it in spirit,conveying to the new century what the Titanic conveyed to its time.It was,then,the longest,widest,largest ship of all time...a replica would be the smallest liner constructed for generations.
Hardly befitting the name "Gigantic"!And as for "Titanic",I fear that the connotations of romance would be outweighed by those of tragedy in seeking to get travellers.Let there be ONE Titanic...its memory honored by its children,not its perforce-inaccurate clones.

Certainly it is beyond us to bring back the time when it had the significance embodied in the fact the Atlantic could ONLY be crossed by sea,even if we wanted to...air travel rules the roost there. To be the latest in transportation,a new ship would need to be a rocket.

For a long time liners did dominate passenger shipping,in numbers, in size,and in speed.Even as their market share shuddered in the 1950s, then collapsed in the 1960s(my grandmother sailed on the Oslofjord and Bergensfjord as long as she could),they remained the largest ships into the 1970s,when the QE2 and the France(now the cruiser Norway) were close to 70,000 tons while no cruiser was even 50,000.

In the 1980s,however,Royal Caribbean launched the Sovereign of the Seas, first of a generation of 70,000 ton cruisers that are now plying the seas in dozens...and in a future economic downturn will likely clog scrapyards. Now the Carnival Destiny,101,000 tons,has just been dethroned as the largest passenger ship of all time by the 109,000 ton Grand Princess, and next year Royal Caribbean strikes back with the 136,000 ton Voyager of the Seas,first of three "Eagle Class" ships.

Westin Hotels and partners are angling for a government subsidy to build a 250,000 ton "World City"...a $1,400,000,000 project.An even more ambitious project is the Freedom Ship City,aka City at Sea...4310 feet long, 725 feet wide,100 small engines...basically a 25-story building filling a barge and topped by an airstrip.

Oil tankers have set records for length(1504 feet),and breadth(259 feet), that are unlikely to be attained by any passenger vessel(unless one considers the last-named concept likely)...a million-ton vessel on the Titanic's proportions would not break that breadth record!

(Tankers are generally measured by deadweight tonnage,their cargo capacity,passenger ships by gross tonnage,their enclosed space... but the largest tankers exceed the World City in gross tonnage,and passenger ships are nothing next to tankers in deadweight... displacement tonnage,used for warships,is another yardstick)

Clearly,the superlatives among ships that the Titanic embodied are out of reach of the budget for a replica.

The superlatives that might be attained...even the Eagle class cruisers are to be shorter than the France-now-Norway,despite twice the tonnage; a cruiser is simply different from a liner in design.A length of 1036 feet would make a ship the longest passenger vessel in history.

Volume of course goes up as the cube of linear dimension...it would take about a 23% increase in dimensions of the Titanic to make the gross tonnage go from 46,000 to 86,000...which would surpass the old Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary as the largest liner in history,though well short of the new mega-cruisers.This could bear the "Gigantic" name with some dignity...even though many passengers would have been on bigger cruisers.

Titanic 2...or Titanic times 2?

A 26% increase could bring the volume to twice the tonnage of the original,perhaps the most fitting factor...at 92,000 tons and change still smaller than the new mega-cruisers and narrower(116.5 feet) than the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary,but at 1112 feet longer than not only any liner ever,but any cruise ship or aircraft carrier ever...however the World City,proposed above,would be longer still(over 1200 feet).

One record the Titanic did not go after was that of speed...for over a century after the 15-day Atlantic crossing by the Great Western in 1838,the "Blue Riband",from the 1930s in the form of the Hales Trophy, was handed between liners that lowered the record past nine,eight,seven,six,five,and four days.
In 1952 the SS United States captured it from the Queen Mary, going from Ambrose Light to Bishop's Rock in 3 days,10 hours,40 minutes...an average speed of 35.59 knots.(Its top speed was officially 41.75 knots and reputedly higher).

In 1990 the Trophy was handed,under protest,to a catamaran ferry that went 36.65 knots as it was delivered to Great Britain, and a motorized racing yacht lodged a 53-knot claim in 1992 that despite the Guinness Book was apparently unsuccessful;in June 1998 a new ferry being delivered to Spain claimed the Trophy at 38.77 knots, and in July 1998 a sister ferry did the North Atlantic route at a speed that,with a detour,was recorded at 41.284 knots, reaching Bishop's Rock in under three days from Nantucket.(Here are a news story and puffery-filled press release about this). These records are beyond hope for any Titanic replica,but a new ship,much larger,that embodied the SPIRIT of the Titanic could have a chance.

Right now the transatlantic market belongs to the aging QE2,which would probably be driven out of business by a new ship that outmatched it in luxury,size,and capability.(I'm not sure if Cunard,now controlled by Carnival,will even keep it going to 2012 anyway).
On June 8,1998,Cunard announced a "Queen Mary Project" to create what they claim would be the largest and most luxurious "true oceanliner" ever,but Carnival's track record with Holland America and Carnival brand ships shows they are not good judges of liner heritage...if good at evoking it in order to make more money on modern "floating brick" cruisers.It can be taken as a given that they will not challenge for speed,and they seem unlikely to want to build a ship too large for the Panama Canal,though their Destiny class of Caribbean cruisers(no liners they!) are too fat.

The QE2 has deliberately slowed its crossings from 5 to 6 days,as ships can not compete for Atlantic crossings on either speed or price anyway...but I think a new ship that could do it would be well advised to run both fast and slow crossings,as the "Blue Riband Run" might appeal to the person who was short of vacation days while a weeklong crossing could attract those who wanted to savor the experience. A Titanic clone,however,would compete at a substantial disadvantage in either the liner or cruiser market that would only be increased with future newbuildings.

Hoefle doesn't get into the engineering at all,and envisions a deal in accomodations with the Ritz-Carlton group...for my money,if hotels are to be involved in the creation of the ship's accomodations,they should be Titanic victim J.J. Astor's prides, the Waldorf-Astoria and the St. Regis,and for symmetry probably the Savoy from the London end.(If Astor's daughter-in-law, the renowned philanthropist Brooke Astor,is around for the launch,she might be a logical christener).

There have been few internal details announced about the British/ South African ship,but to put 2600 passengers on a 46,000 ton ship is clearly not the modern norm,and I'm not sure what SOLAS has to say about crowding.They propose fewer third class cabins and more high end ones,presumably using up the space they save by reducing crew size. As a direct competitor to the QE2 on the transatlantic route, it may suffer despite plans to be "as elegant as the original" and meet modern safety standards.The 1912 customer had likely had experience of more crowded ships,but not the modern customer.

Here is an information chart on how ships have grown,and space per passenger increased,over the years.

A cautionary note here might be the Italian liner Michelangelo, built in the 1960s,roughly the tonnage of the Titanic but only as many passengers as the QE2...it had trouble filling its berths and did not last long in the jet age.Titanic mystique should not be counted upon to make the difference for a ship.

There is(despite the Nostalgia plan and the Navratil $10,000 minimum passage cost for the maiden voyage) certainly a market for cheap cabins for the can-barely-afford-it Titanic fan,and third class on the original was NOT the same as "steerage" accommodation on the more downmarket steamers that then catered to the emigrants en route to Ellis Island.(There's a difference between Spartan and squalid).

I doubt the skepticism I'm evoking here appeals much to the connoisseur of the minutiae of the liner that went down 86 Aprils ago... but the largest,longest,fastest liner of all time is the idea that stirs my blood.

I am setting up a new page dedicated to the ship *I* would like to see built, which inherits some comments on this formerly on this page.

(Incidentally,I hope that if any of the new syndicates do build their ships,they have the good sense to pledge lifetime free first class travel to any survivors of the Titanic still alive at launch...an offer unlikely to be accepted,but only fitting!)

All these conflicting yet dovetailing visions out there!! Why can't all these dreamers get together,pool their resources...

.....and build it MY way?

It seems too early to tell whether ANY project to duplicate the Titanic in either body or spirit will come to fruition...though perhaps too late to be setting sail from Southampton in just 20 months.But if done,I think it is vital that it be done WELL... well enough to coax a sixth star from raters who only offer five.

The worst thing that could happen is for a Gresham's Law of the Sea to take hold,a project rushed and cutting corners driving others out of the fray and building a flimsy ship that draws little appreciation (let alone sinks!) and winds up losing money.The new ship,if there is one,should become as much a byword for excellence as the old has been for tragedy.Built to endure beyond its contemporaries in both form AND spirit.

Perhaps it will never be more than a dream,but where are we with no dreams?

Louis Epstein

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