Exactly 1,309 passengers from all over the world set sail from Southampton on Sunday on a 12-night cruise aboard the Fred Olsen-operated cruise ship, the MS Balmoral, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic.
Why 1,309 passengers? Because that’s the same number of passengers that sailed on the Titanic.
In fact, the entire cruise is part of a meticulous effort to recreate the maiden voyage of arguably the most famous ship of all time – from the food on board to a live band playing music from the era.
Called the Titanic Memorial Cruise, the MS Balmoral will be the first cruise ship in history to retrace – and in some ways re-enact – the doomed liners route.
On Easter Sunday, the MS Balmoral set sail from Southampton en-route to New York, first stopping in Cobh, Ireland – just as the Titanic did 100 years ago – and is even planning on a visit to the Titanic site (41°43’57″N, 49°56’49″W) to host an April 15th memorial service paying tribute to the passengers and crew on board that fateful night.
Passengers on the cruise include relatives of those who lost their lives, relatives of survivors, authors, historians and people who are just generally fascinated by the Titanic story. Many even dawned 1912-period clothing.
The food on board will be based on the dishes served during the period and on the original cruise. The menu has been created to match those that were served on board and a formal dinner on April 13 will have a menu made up entirely of dishes which were served on the Titanic.
The cruise will even include the five-piece string-band that will recreate the soundtrack from the era for passengers. The musician’s heroic actions played a key role in keep passengers calm during that fateful night, as you’ll remember from James Cameron’s flick.
In addition to the events, guests will be treated to a line up of ten specialist lecturers that include some of the world’s leading experts on the ship and tragic voyage.
Miles Morgan, managing director of Miles Morgan Travel, the agency that is hosting the cruise said: “This cruise has been five years in the making and every step of the way we have sought to make it authentic to the era and a sympathetic memorial to the passengers and crew who lost their lives.”
What’s the significance of the MS Balmoral? The MS Balmoral is operated by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, whose parent company, Harland and Wolff, built the Titanic in Belfast.
Let’s just hope the cruise does not re-enact the original voyage too closely.