Some of you have read Lee's speech on Titanic II and are therefor excused. Sorry, I know it sounds like a rant. Maybe it is.
I worked at a privately-owned bank in Richmond for a while, right after Ballard
had found the ship. For some reason, a lot of the ship-making loans from around
Norfolk were made there. We went through three, I said three, Titanic II
applications that year. The idea won't float - pun intended. We did a
feasibility study on the first one - then just kept it around, as the
others wouldn't believe (we did retype the first page). The ship would
need extensive alteration in order to comply with current health and
safety regulations, including radar and sonar as well as certain things
being required to be handled by computer (all the fire and safety systems,
etc.), which was after the point in time I'm discussing, but are now required.
Then there's the idea of making money off this thing - which is, after all,
what bankers do.
Who would be the passengers on such a ship? At the moment, she is too small
to be a money-making passenger ship, unless you charged exorbitant amounts of
money - and for what? The "luxurious travel" of 1912 doesn't hold up today -
at all. First of all, the quarters - most the first-class quarters shared
bathrooms. So there's a major refit right there - and forget Third Class
OK, let's say we go ahead and make all the rooms the equivalent of First
Class, with bathrooms. Now what are you going to have the passengers do?
Please don't forget that the main pleasures were walking the decks, talking
(excuse me, "social intercourse" ) and eating - they spent the entire evening,
every day, eating! And changing clothes. Boy, did they change clothes.
Which means, as public spaces, we have a place to read books, a place to write
letters, a place to walk around the ship or sit and have a bit of broth and
biscuit, and two places to eat. Period. No cinema, no real bar, no golf,
no shuffleboard, one - repeat one - swimming pool, inside, 1/4 Olympic length,
and one squash court. That's it folks, them's the amenities!
So now you are going to ask people to spend thousands on one-way trips in this?
Or cruises? And who, pray tell, will be the clients? Yes, the first year
(if you're lucky) all the Titanic enthusiasts in the world will sign on -
for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This doesn't give much for the return-trip
crowd a lot of modern cruises plan for. So who next? Who would want to sail
on this thing?
At a dead minimum, at this point you need to spend at least half-to
three-quarters what you needed originally to re-outfit her as a normal
cruise ship. What's the point? Build a modern one immediately and be done
with it - who needs to waste what little profit you would make - and in
the cruise-ship business, trust me we are talking peanuts - to build
this thing? There are not enough Titanic enthusiasts in the world to make
this critter profitable.
It's dead in the water. Trust me.