The 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is quickly approaching.
To commemorate the tragedy that claimed the lives of over 1,500 passengers and crew on Apr. 14, 1912, Miles Morgan Travel is offering tickets to a Titanic Memorial Cruise.
A gentleman came into one of our travel shops five years ago and mentioned the idea to us. I couldn't stop thinking about it, Miles Morgan, managing director of the Titanic Memorial Cruise, said in an internal Q&A released by the company.
The MS Balmoral, which is to set sail from Southampton on Apr. 8, 2012, will pass by Cherbourg along the French coast before calling into the Irish port of Cobh, formerly called Queenstown, where the Titanic made its final port of call on Apr. 11, 1912.
At the port of Cobh, 1,309 paying passengers -- the same number that sailed on the Titanic -- will have the opportunity to engage in demonstrations and lectures as well as a Titanic Heritage tour, before continuing along the route of the RMS Titanic.
On Apr. 14, the MS Balmoral will arrive at the site of the historic vessel in the Atlantic Ocean. There will be a special memorial ceremony between 11:40 p.m. when the ship hit the iceberg and 2:20 a.m. on Apr. 15, exactly 100 years after the world's largest ship sank to the bottom of the ocean.
The cruise itself will be filled with unique activities and accents that will celebrate the Titanic's rich history.
The food served will be identical to the menu on the original voyage. There will also be music and dancing that is reminiscent of the music and dancing of the early 1900s, and lectures from historians who have studied the Titanic story.
For many, it is being a part, and taking part, in such a memorable piece of history . . . some of these people are looking forward to tasting the meals from that time, or even dressing up in period costume to enhance the experience, said Morgan.
After the memorial ceremony, the cruise continues on Apr. 16 and 17 to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where passengers have the option to visit Fairview Lawn Cemetery -- the site where 121 Titanic victims are buried.
On the final day at sea, the cruise will make its way into New York -- the planned final destination of the original voyage 100 years ago.
The 12-night cruise, including a flight back to the United Kingdom, costs between $2,000 and $6,500, depending on which type of cabin is chosen.
According to Morgan, it took just over three years to sell out all the cabins on the Titanic Memorial Cruise.
It was not a steady process but it went in 'bursts' -- invariably each time we received media coverage, said Morgan.
An article would appear in a newspaper somewhere in the world, or I'd get a phone call from a radio station in, say, Sydney or Buenos Aires, and instantly we'd receive more enquiries from that country.
Having announced the expedition three years before the year of the anniversary, this is the first time a travel company has sourced its own cruise vessel for a Titanic Memorial Cruise of this magnitude.
Because the modern cruise ship cannot sail as fast as the Titanic, the Balmoral will have to leave port in Southampton earlier than the original voyage so that it can reach the spot where she sank in time for the actual anniversary.
For more information, visit the Titanic Memorial Cruise website.