The Titanic II Ship Explained

Time to grab your life vests and popcorn, people, because Titanic: The Sequel is here. And we don't mean the follow-up to James Cameron's 1997 landmark disaster film featuring everyone's favorite stern-of-the-ship celebrity embrace. We mean an actual ship bearing the not-at-all-cursed name of the vessel at the heart of history's greatest maritime catastrophe in 1912. Let's just hope that the personnel on board are sufficiently trained in emergency measures this time. 

The upcoming version of the Titanic is less of a tribute or inspired successor than it is a blow-by-blow reproduction of the tragic original. In what might be the strongest evidence of a reincarnated individual driven to fix the mistakes of a former life, the Titanic II — as it's cleverly named — comes to us solely via Australian billionaire Clive Palmer. Palmer wants to recreate the original Titanic exactly as it was, down to the table layouts, banisters, and era-accurate, third-class food. The toilet situation, however, seems like it'll be updated to modern standards.

Palmer's rationale is, uh ... iffy, if admirable. As CNN quotes, he intends the Titanic II to bring humanity together in peace and harmony. "We all know how to make war," he said, "We get armies and we fund wars. People know about that. But it is a lot harder to make peace. To make peace you have got to stick with it every day. You progress inch by inch." Therefore: Titanic II.

[Featured image by Unknown Author via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled]

A billionaire's pet project

Australian billionaire Clive Palmer's 2024 Titanic reproduction idea is itself a reproduction of the same idea he had in 2012. Back then, he had a press conference in London to announce the idea. When asked at the time if the whole thing was a gag, Palmer said, "It's a lot more fun to do the Titanic than it is to sit at home and count my money," per The Guardian. He also stated that he had "enough money to build the Titanic 10 times over." That might have been hyperbolic, however, because the Titanic II will likely cost from $500 million to $1 billion, and Palmer is worth about $4.3 billion, making him the 732nd richest person in the world and the 13th richest in Australia. 

Nonetheless, at the moment it seems like plans are full steam ahead and all hands on deck. Palmer intends to send out orders for materials in June, sign contracts in December, start construction in January 2025, and finish construction by 2027. Then, in a bold move, he wants to recreate the Titanic's original Southampton, England to New York, U.S.A. voyage that year.  

When Palmer announced his Titanic II the first time in 2015 his plans fell through because of business shenanigans between the Chinese company Citic and one of Palmer's own companies. After that, Palmer re-announced the plan in 2018 and intended to launch in 2022. COVID, however, delayed the project to its current timeline. 

Copy-pasted from the original

To be clear, billionaire Clive Palmer doesn't just want to build a ship in honor of the Titanic or model the design of a new ship after the Titanic. He wants to pull a Ship of Theseus and rebuild the original Titanic piece by piece — just without the original materials. The Titanic II's official promo video features a montage of pictures of the OG Titanic, and drops words like "style," "luxury," "elegant," "opulent," "lavish," and in case you missed it the first time: "elegant." Palmer himself shows up later in the video to state, "We want to recreate in Titanic II the whole experience, the wonder that was in Titanic, and I think we can do that." His company Blue Star Line will undertake the task.

The dimensions and specifics of Titanic II differ only marginally from the original. The new ship is 833 feet long, 175 feet tall, 105 feet wide (13 feet wider than the original), and holds 2,345 passengers across nine decks (the original had 10 decks) and 835 cabins (the original had 840 cabins). The Blue Star Line official Titanic II site shows digitally rendered pictures of three of the Titanic II's copy-pasted locations: a cafe, the bridge, and the grand staircase. If the new version stays true to form, then it'll have different decks like the Promenade Deck and the Saloon Deck, Turkish baths, a reading room, lounge, reception area, smoking rooms, pool, gym, period-accurate live music, games, and much more.

 [Featured image by Unknown Author via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled]

Cosplay encouraged

Just to be extra, extra clear: Clive Palmer doesn't intend for people to stroll on board the Titanic II in cargo shorts and flip-flops. The Titanic II's staff will be dressed in Edwardian style, behave that way, speak that way, and it's hoped that passengers will do the same. In other words, the Titanic II is an immersive theme park and LARP (live-action role play) where everyone pretends that they've entered a bygone era. 

As the Blue Star Line website explains, shipboard games don't include PS5s, but shuffleboard and deck quoits (similar to horseshoes). Cocktails come from the 1910s, as does the music and dances like waltzes and jigs, and events like masquerade balls. Blue Star Line outlines the food offered in its grand dining hall, including hors d'oeuvres like canapés à l'Amiral, soups like consommé Olga, entrees like beef sirloin with chasseur sauce, and deserts like Waldorf pudding. And if you don't know what any of those things are, you're not alone. 

And speaking of which: The Titanic II recreates the first, second, and third class experiences, with third-class passengers having access to "stew and mash" at long cafeteria-style tables instead of the fancy stuff listed above, per Forbes. That's not that any class will lack comfort and some of the aforementioned "luxury," though. Second-class rooms are "adorned with fine furnishings and soft, inviting hues that exude a sense of warmth and tranquility," while third-class rooms offer a "snug haven for rest and relaxation during your voyage."

[Featured image by Francis Browne via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled]

Updated safety protocols and equipment

At this point it's time to address the iceberg in the room: What about the Titanic II's safety? It's not unreasonable to assume that some folks might be creeped out by the idea of getting aboard the recreation of a ship with a deathly and disastrous past. After all, the original failed in every way when it came to safety protocols. Even simple, common sense things like the number of lifeboats got overlooked because lifeboat numbers at the time were legally based on the weight of the ship. The Titanic, however, was made of steel and not wood. 

This time, it looks like billionaire Clive Palmer has thought of such obvious safety concerns. As the Blue Star Line website shows, the bridge of Titanic II will look the least like the original bridge. Sure, it's got an old-fashioned steering wheel near the front windows, but it's also got a console and captain's seat that looks lifted from "Star Trek" — judging by the digital render. There are "state-of-the-art navigation systems, advanced radar technology, and modern communication devices" intended to enhance safety while not "compromising its [the Titanic II's] historical charm." Plus, a dedicated deck will be exclusively dedicated to lifeboats and incorporate some other features needed in an emergency situation. Even the location of the captain's seat will provide improved visibility out into the seas.

[Featured image by Library of Congress via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled]

A question of price and need

All in all, the one thing that Clive Palmer hasn't locked down yet is the Titanic II's price. But if we're going by the original Titanic, there's a pretty yowzas difference between first class and third class, and even third class isn't that cheap. In modern terms adjusted for inflation a first-class suite would cost $130,000 — a berth (bed) alone cost $4,591. Second-class tickets were $1,834, and third-class $1,071. But, we're guessing that if folks really want to dive into the whole early 20th-century immersive fantasy thing they'd be willing to cough up the cash for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As CNN quotes Palmer, "Millions have dreamt of sailing on her, seeing her in port and experiencing her unique majesty. Titanic II will be the ship where those dreams come true."

That being said, CNN's headline asks a pertinent question that might get overlooked in all the cosplay preparation: Did anyone ask for this? That's not to say that the public always clearly demands the things it wants before someone creates them, but still: Is a new Titanic really something that anyone wants or needs? Diehard Titanic fans — and there's bound to be at least a few on Earth — might balk at such a question and just get swept up in the hype. Everyone else might lean more towards the skin-crawling feeling associated with a living recreation of a symbol of death and failure of human judgment. 

[Featured image by Thomas Barker from Cork Examiner via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled]