'Disaster cruises' to mark Titanic's centenary
THE 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster is set to trigger a tourism bonanza with 'disaster cruises' to the spot where the great ship sank.
The liner sank with the loss of more than 1,500 lives in April 1912 after striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage -- and the Cork port of Cobh, then Queenstown, was the liner's last stop.
Now, cruise companies are offering tourists a chance to sail the exact same route as the Titanic -- from Cork and including a stop at the spot where she sank for the wreath-laying ceremonies and memorial.
Several of the cruises have already booked out despite the fact that they don't take place until 2012.
Companies offering Titanic-themed packages include Fred Olsen Lines which will use its luxurious liner, MS Balmoral, to re-trace the Titanic's final voyage.
The Fred Olsen offering has already been heavily booked -- with 16 of the 21 cabin classes already sold out.
Prices range from €4,000 to €8,000 with passengers being offered the same menus as those provided in 1912 -- and an identical musical and entertainment programme to that on Titanic.
Cobh is expecting a surge in Titanic-related tourism over the next two years as the centenary approaches.
Talks have been under way for three years now between Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, France and the United States over an international series of events aimed at marking the greatest maritime tragedy in history.