With the 101st anniversary of the Titanic sinking a few months behind us, some of you may be thinking that you'd heard the last of that fated ship for a while. Think again. The passenger liner that sank in April, 1912 continues to make waves in the 21st century, and Titaniacs the world over make treks to see and experience anything related to the ship and its sinking.
Just this month, in Belfast, a tender that ferried passengers boarding the Titanic in Cherbourg, France, reopened as a museum. The S.S. Nomadic (pictured) had spent years languishing – I saw her moored across the Seine from Paris's Eiffel Tower in 1999, windows broken and a plastic palm tree ingloriously placed on the top deck. In 2006, the Northern Irish city of Belfast purchased the Nomadic and transported it back to the Irish port where it was built in 1911. The ship, fully restored, now resides in Belfast’s new Titanic Quarter, a massive new development built on former docklands.
Stateside, Titanic aficionados visiting Orlando are flocking to Titanic The Experience, which features scores of artifacts picked up from the wreck-site, and includes tours led by actors portraying passengers and crewmembers from the ship. It’s been so successful in Orlando that the company behind it is opening another Experience venue in California this summer.
And while all this is happening, Australian billionaire Clive Palmer is working on his Titanic II, a near-exact replica of the original, that should be ready for passengers in 2016.
Museums, experiential entertainment venues, ill-conceived hotels, and entire city districts are all devoted to the ship. What is it about the Titanic that maintains our interest? According to Theresa Nelson of Titanic The Experience, the ship’s story “transcends time. One hundred years on it’s still drawing people in, and one hundred years from now people will still be interested.” In other words, like Celine Dion's epic ballad, Titanic nostalgia will go on as well.
Peter Schlesinger is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure.