Cruise Eyes on all things Titanic

This being Titanic Weekend, here are three little stories you may not have heard or read…

* * * * *

Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of wireless technology that is everywhere today, was supposed to be on the Titanic, 100 years ago tomorrow. His technology was in use on many ships by 1912 so he and his wife and infant son were invited to make the Titanic's maiden voyage.

However, urgent business in New York meant Marconi had to be there earlier, so he sailed on the Lusitania, which left five days before the Titanic. His wife and four-year-old son were still booked to follow him to New York on the Titanic, until a fever ruled out travel for the youngster. Had they been on board, it's unlikely Marconi would have been in a lifeboat, occupied mostly by women and children.

The irony was not lost on historians, in particular the erudite John Maxtone-Graham, frequently a guest presenter on cruise ships and author of Titanic Tragedy, published last month:

"If not for Marconi, there would have been no survivors. His invention saved 710 people, and if he'd been on the Titanic, it wouldn't have saved him."

* * * * *

The Titanic was the largest, more luxurious ship on the seas at the time of its fateful maiden voyage.

How much have times changed in 100 years?

Given that the "size" of a ship is usually measured by how many passengers it can carry, today's equivalent of the Titanic would be two Royal Caribbean ships, Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas, each with a capacity of 2,435 passengers — identical to the Titanic. All but two of Royal Caribbean's other 20 ships carry more people than the Titanic. Only four of Carnival's 24 ships carry fewer…and seven of 16 in the Princess fleet.

In actual size, the Titanic's tonnage (volume of the ship) was 46,328 GRT (Gross Register Tonnage). The tonnage of the two biggest cruise ships of today are Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas is 225,282 GT (Gross Tonnage, the new measure for volume, from the hull in). Titanic was 882.5 feet long; today's two giants are 1,181 feet long. Titanic had nine decks. Oasis and Allure have 16. Titanic was 240 feet, top to bottom. The other two are 310 feet, top to bottom.

You could accommodate more than twice as many passengers on the Royal Caribbean behemoths.

* * * * *

One of the passengers on the Azamara Journey that will cruise to the exact spot, and at the exact time, of the Titanic's sinking is the great-granddaughter of one of the victims and earlier this week was part of an oh-oh moment on CNN.

Sharon Willing, whose great-grandfather Herbert Chaffee put his pregnant wife in the last lifeboat to leave, was being interviewed by CNN anchor Suzanne Malveaux. Towards the end of the interview, Malveaux asked her guest about something purposefully left behind in the cold waters of the Atlantic by her great-grandmother.

"Really?" said the astonished descendant. "What was it?"

"A jewel," said the flustered Malveaux, who appeared to be the victim of a sloppy researcher. "That's what we were told by your family."

"I didn't know that," Sharon Willing replied.

Days later, porting in Halifax en route to the site, she was interviewed by local media and asked the inevitable question about the moment she'll be at the scene where a man she never knew had perished.

"I would like to say hello and goodbye…right there," she told the Chronicle Herald's Lois Legge. "I just want to see him, and I think I will.


Carnival Splendor
7 nights
June 3, 2012
Long Beach (return): Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta
Inside:  $629
Cost per day: $89

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.

  • Categories

  • Archives