Taking advantage of what could possibly be the most morbid and long-lived dinner theatre ever performed, over 1,300 passengers boarded the MS Balmoral in Southampton on April 8, 2012 to retrace the route of the most famous maritime disaster in history.
A century after the Titanic took its nosedive into the icy deep, the disaster remains alluring to people all over the world, so much so that memorial services, displays, and cruises have popped up all over the globe to celebrate and remember the 1,514 lives lost.
The most decadent and possibly fate-tempting of these memorial celebrations has to be the Balmoral’s reenactment of the tragic voyage, a 12 day cruise retracing the steps of the doomed vessel 100 years earlier. Passengers, many of them direct descendants of original passengers and dressed in period clothing, will dine on the original menu, enjoy a 5-piece band performing the set list of the doomed musicians before them, and sail to the site where so many souls were lost, hopefully returning unscathed to the Titanic’s intended final destination, New York City.
While the Balmoral is a fine ocean liner with much in common with the famous “Ship of Dreams”, this is not her first voyage, nor her first dabble in disaster. In January, 2009 the ship came across some fiesty weather during a cruise, smashing through 50 ft. waves and 60 mph winds. Two passengers were seriously injured, but no one lost their lives. The Titanic recreation was not without complications – the ship was delayed, forced to turn back to Cohb, Ireland due to an undescribed medical emergency onboard. Setting sail again to cross the Atlantic, they were undeterred by foreboding bad weather, and managed to make it to the site of the disaster in one piece.
The ship, along with others, is spending April 15th at the wreck site, holding mass and ceremoniously remembering the dead. Then, off to Halifax, to visit the cemeteries in which many of the passengers have relatives buried.