Does Titanic II Tempt Fate?

An Australian businessman is recreating the most infamous cruise ship in history.

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An artist's rendering of Titanic II

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More than 100 years after its ill-fated Atlantic crossing, the Titantic will navigate the ocean waters once again. Or at least, a modern replica of it will. Australian businessman Clive Palmer plans to build a copy of the ship that will recreate the original Titanic's doomed voyage across the Atlantic starting in 2016.

The Titanic II will offer some modern upgrades to the original ship, including air conditioning, but will otherwise seek to maintain the 1912 authenticity in design and decor. Its building, which will be done by Chinese-state owned CSC Jinling Shipyard, must also be done in accordance with current safety rules and shipbuilding requirements.

Palmer's company Blue Star Line will run the ship, which is being designed by a Finnish company who said it will be "the safest cruise ship in the world." The original Titanic was thought to be the "unsinkable ship"—until it hit an iceberg and more than 1,500 people died—but Palmer declined to say his modern version would be invincible. "Anything will sink if you put a hole in it," he said. Palmer added, "I think it would be very cavalier to say" it would be indestructible, but didn't acknowledge that building a replica of a ship that killed so many people could be tempting fate.

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The 21st century version of the ship will have more lifeboat capacity than passengers, as well as extra escape staircases. It will also be smaller than many modern cruise ships, and some say Palmer's reincarnation of the Titantic may have a difficult time competing. Cruise industry analyst Jamie Katz said:

People are going to be really cautious or superstitious regarding getting on a second version of the Titanic, or it could be a really compelling idea for history buffs who really want to live the story or the legend behind it …There's an audience for all sorts of cruises.

Passengers will be able to purchase tickets for different classes which, much like the on the original boat, will be kept separate on the ship. Rooms will also have 1912-style clothes available for wear, if passengers care to take their experience a step further back in time. The cost of the project is unknown, and prices for the six-day Atlantic Ocean passage have yet to be announced.

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