Big Toys #TitanicII

Clive Palmer must have a death wish. How many people do you know who would name their new venture after something that epitomises what a colossal disaster can be. But he has. Scheduled to set sail in 2016, the Titanic II is a replica of the Titanic. Its namesake sank after hitting a giant iceberg in 2012. Almost 1,500 of her 2,200 passengers perished. What better gimmick than to announce its recreation 101 years after.

The idea is novel. Seafarers will dress in period costume, and the tub will ply the Titanic’s original route from Southhampton to New York. The food, drink and entertainment are all supposed to give patrons an authentic experience of the original voyage. It is promised that there will be enough life boats. Hold your breath though because it gets better. This one has wifi. The excitement is palpable… not.

Mr. Palmer is using his own resources to have this ship built. He should be asking some serious questions before putting his money where his mouth is. The global cruise industry has been in consolidation mode over the last two decades. A few players have filed for bankruptcy, and others have merged.

The Allure of the Seas, owned by Royal Caribbean, is the largest cruise ship on the seas right now. With 6,296 passengers and 2,384 crew, it is a colossus. Size in this industry, allows a company to spread its costs, and take advantage of scale. Cruise Lines also have a well-established marketing and sales network catering to a diversity of routes and lines, that helps them keep their costs down. Mr. Clive’s venture will have to charge a rich price to deliver the same kind of service. Loyalty will also be hard to cultivate with the customers. How often do I plan to take a ship to travel the several, usually cold(er), grey (er) and WASP (ier) route from New York to London? Let me think- none. I wish him luck though. He may have something there.

And for you historicists out there, don’t get too excited. This one is going to be made in China.

Titanic II: Image courtesy webshots from Blue Star Lines

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