Almost exactly a hundred years ago, on the 10th of April 1912, the RMS Titanic, then the biggest ship ever built, set sail from Southampton in England for New York in the United States. This was to be her maiden (first) voyage, but tragically, also ended up being her last. For, on the night of April 14, the Titanic hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and rapidly sank.
The sinking of the Titanic was one of the worst maritime (ocean travel related) disasters ever. Not only was she the biggest ship to sail the oceans, she was also among the most luxurious. Thanks to her design, she was considered ‘un-sinkable’, a belief (something that people believed in) that was proved false just four days after she set sail.
A ‘floating’ hotel
The Titanic was designed to look like a luxurious hotel, an idea that was unheard of at the time. Rooms for first class passengers had wood paneling and ornate designs on walls as well as expensive furniture. For many passengers, it appeared as though a palace had been shifted to the ship. The Titanic even had a gymnasium, a swimming pool and a squash court to help passengers pass their time.
Despite her modern design, the Titanic lacked safety features that are now standard on ships today. Although she had over 2000 people on board, she carried life boats (small boats that could be used in the event of an accident to the ship) for just 1178 people. Over 1500 died as the ship sank in the freezing cold waters of the North Atlantic.
What remains of the Titanic today
As the Titanic sank, it broke into two and the broken ship gradually settled at the bottom of the sea. After being lost for many years, the wreck (remains) of the Titanic was discovered in 1985 – the ship now lies more than two miles below the sea’s surface. While he was making his movie on the Titanic, movie director James Cameron became fascinated with the shipwreck — so much so that he designed his own submersible (an agile underwater craft) that he used to explore the broken remains of the ship. Cameras were attached to the submersible that helped people on the surface of the sea view the ship’s luxurious cabins, its grand staircase and even the holds where the luggage of its long lost passengers and crew were stored.
You can even visit the Titanic!
Tourists can now visit the wreck of the Titanic in submersibles similar to the one used by James Cameron. The eight hour round trip takes people in pairs to the site of the wreck, which they will be able to explore. It won’t be cheap though – the trip, which includes a two week ship journey, costs around Rs.30 lakh for two people!
A ‘titanic’ movie
In 1997 film director James Cameron released a movie based on the sinking of the Titanic. Starring Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet, it went on to be one of the most successful movies of all time, earning almost two billion dollars. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, Cameron has now released the movie in 3D.
To the deepest of the deep
Cameron enjoys underwater exploration so much that he recently undertook a trip to the Mariana Trench – the deepest point in the oceans. That’s him stepping out of his craft after his epic journey.