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Sunday 20 January 2019

Titanic II: Two replica ships vie for title, but will they ever be built?

2019 opening a possibility

RMS Titantic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912. Photo: Getty
RMS Titantic departing Southampton on April 10, 1912. Photo: Getty
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Titanic model in Harland Bar. Photo: Press Eye/Darren Kidd

Soo Kim

Almost 106 years since the tragic sinking of RMS Titanic, and 20 years since James Cameron’s dramatic movie, will promised replicas ever be complete?

In recent years, travellers have been teased with the idea of reliving the glamorous era (minus the sinking) on board life-size replicas of the ship, such as one currently being built in China.

The Qixing Energy Investment Group first announced the project in 2014 and the construction, which began in 2016, has been in full swing since. 

As of September last year, the ship known as the Romandisea Titanic was reportedly half complete, with six of its nine decks built. Images released in December showed the bow taking shape.  

While it will be the exact size of the original vessel (measuring 269 metres long and 28 metres wide), China’s Titanic will not be sailing across the ocean and will instead be permanently docked on the Qi river in Sichuan's Daying county of south-west China.

Visitors will, however, be able to stroll around replica interiors, including a ballroom, theatre, swimming pool and cabins, indulge in a similar banquet enjoyed on the vessel and take part in themed parties and games.

Seven Star International Cultural Tourism Resort, a new amusement park complex planned in the country with the capacity to accommodate up to 5,000 tourists.

The ship is also aiming to provide tourists with “spiritual satisfaction”, a spokesperson for the resort told the Mail, serving as a reminder of how passengers on board the Titanic comforted each other in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

Plans for an experience simulating how it felt for those on board when the Titantic struck the iceberg and sank were scrapped after family members of the victims and survivors of the tragedy objected.

China’s replica is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year and opened to the public in 2019.

As for those keen to cross the seas on a version of the historic ship, don't hold your breath. The Blue Star Line’s long-awaited Titanic II - the other life-size replica in the pipeline since 2013 - has yet to begin construction.

Last year, the Australia-based company unveiled renderings of its planned lavish interiors, which will be remarkably faithful to the original design features, with amenities including Turkish baths, an Edwardian gym and the grand staircase, one of the most recognisable features of the Titanic.

But the date of its inaugural journey, originally scheduled to take place last year from Southampton to New York and then slated for this year, travelling instead from Jiangsu in China to Dubai (where the company is reported to have business partners), is also yet to be confirmed.

The Titanic II is the brainchild of the Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, whose Jurassic Park-inspired dinosaur theme park in Queensland shut in 2016 only two years after opening.

Blue Star Line has been contacted for an update.

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