Not sure what to make of plans to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic with a cruise on board Fred Olsen’s Balmoral.
The Transatlantic voyage from Southampton in April 2012 will follow in the doomed liner’s wake to Cherbourg and Cobh in southern Ireland, before heading west towards America.
There will be a special memorial ceremony between 11.40pm on April 14, when the Titanic hit the iceberg, and 2.20am on April 15, exactly 100 years after it sank.
Balmoral will then head to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where many of the Titanic victims are buried at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, and will then sail to New York, from where passengers can choose to fly back to the UK, or stay on board for the return crossing.
Throughout the cruise there will be talks and demonstrations on what life was like on board Titanic and the building of the ship. Balmoral will not be able to travel as fast as Titanic, so the departure from Southampton will be on April 8, 2012, two days earlier than her predecessor.
Fred Olsen Cruises, whose parent company coincidentally now owns the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast where Titanic was built, have chartered Balmoral to independent travel agent Miles Morgan. The cruise went on sale today, the 97th anniversary of the sinking, with fares per person ranging from £1,999 for the smallest inside cabin to £7,995 for the best suite. Details at titanicmemorialcruise.co.uk.
To be honest, I find the whole thing rather mawkish, and I hope the memorial service will not involve the ship’s orchestra playing Nearer My God To Thee on the open deck. One thing’s for sure. It will be a brave man who asks for extra ice in his gin and tonic.