The tragic story of the ocean liner that hit an iceberg and sank on April 14th, 1912, has been famous for a century. More than 1,500 lives were lost with the ship, and the event is considered one of the most romantically tragic in history. This reputation was enhanced by the film ‘Titanic’ in 1997, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Now, 100 years after the shipwreck, organizations across the globe have worked to commemorate the event and the lives lost. Memorial cruises were launched from New York and Southampton, tracing the doomed route of the Edwardian cruise liner and stopping at its final resting place to pray and commemorate the shocking deaths. Wreaths were thrown on the water, while guests reflected on the event and the numerous lectures they had attended while en route to the watery mass grave.
Helen Edwards attended a memorial cruise on the Balmoral. After learning about the Titanic’s history throughout the cruise, she explained that the undying appeal is a result of several aspects, such as romance, history, fate and tragedy.
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“There are all the factors that came together for the ship to be right there, then, to hit that iceberg. All the stories of the passengers who ended up on that ship,” she said. “It’s just a microcosm of social history, personal histories, nautical histories… Romance is an appropriate word right up until the time of the tragedy- the band playing, the clothes… And then there’s the tragedy.”
On the two Titanic memorial cruises, many of the passengers had a personal connection to the event. The travelers dressed in period-appropriate costume, and participated in the balls and formal dinners served to accentuate the drama of the era.
The cruises were surely breathtaking and emotional, and undoubtedly used all safety measures. Still, would you be willing to retrace the steps of an ocean liner that sank on its maiden voyage, despite its believed immortality?