New Titanicfeasible or folly

For me it seems that some people doesn't exactly understand what a modern Titanic theme / look alike cruise ship would be.

The project mission should be to design a modern cruise vessel which is fully competitive against any other cruise ship. The ships exterior should remind Titanic ( colors, superstructure with 4 funnels ext.)and A, B and C decks interior would be a close replica of the Titanic + D-deck reception room and first class dining room. No 2nd and 3rd class cabin or public spaces. The ship should of course have all the basic entertainment and other time killing facilities that other cruise ships have today.

The marketing idea / niche would be to offer a Titanic first class style cruise experience for specially those who love the Camerons Titanic movie. 4 funnels and the superstructure doesn't give a good base for a functional sundeck , therefore the ship should be design and classificated for short international cruises (2-3 night cruises) Short international cruise classification would reduce the amount of life boat capacity needed.
>>For me it seems that some people doesn't exactly understand what a modern Titanic theme / look alike cruise ship would be.<<

The bankers who looked at the proposals do. More to the point, they understand just how narrow the market is because they had profressional analysts give the markets and the prospectus a very thorough examination. Had they found anything to indicate that the proposals had a reasonable chance of success in the long term, there would have been little problem in gaining the loans to make it happen. That nobody went for it speaks volumns.
First of all Michael H. one of the most common rule of tum highlighted at universities of economics considering the evaluation of a business plan / idea is that never evaluate the idea by an attitude/logic that if the idea would be great someone would have already done it. So just try to simulate what the world would be like if this logic described above would make any sense. We would then have only one company with one idea and business concept in every field of business.

Financing of a cruise ship is mostly very low risk for the financial bankers, because it's very common that the ship yards government (country) gives almost 100 % guarantee for the construction costs of the vessel. This means that if the vessels operating company / "owner" fails paying the bankers they get their money back from the tax payers of the country in which the vessel was built. RCCL's Oasis and Alluer (built in STX ship yard Finland) financial risk is 98 % on Finnish tax payers, because Finnish government gave the bankers 98 % guarantee for the vessel construction financing.

Commercial bankers risk is based on additional financing other than vessel construction. The additional financing comes from general project administration costs generated before the first passengers board the ship on the maiden voyage. This of course means that the company which want to build a ship needs some own capital as well or other guaranties and maybe a security as well. The vessel it self can not be a security because the government guarantee giver has the ship as a security for the construction financing guarantee.

Government risk investment companies (the guarantee giver) evaluate the risk by calculating the vessels average cabin rate needed in oder to gain a break even result with the average occupancy % of the already operating cruise ships. They do not focus on the details of the business plan and the marketing plan nor do market research. Government guarantee givers goal it to create jobs for people at the ship yards. This means the decision of giving guarantees is some what a political decision which is based on the fact that cruise ship capacity grows slower that demand and if a new cruise ships average cabin rate is competitive agains other already operating cruise ships the risk is low.

I personally think some of the reasons why all these Titanic projects have failed is that they all didn't have a good business plan and expertise for the project and of course they all had also unrealistic hopes and ideas about how much a large amount of people would pay for "Titanic" cruises.
I personally think that if you want an idea of how well a Titanic replica will do, all you have to do is look at how well other similar ventures with old technology are doing, such as historic railways running on steam power. For the most part, they aren't doing well. Interest in preserved technology is limited at best, at least here in the states, and the economy is putting a crunch even on those that DO have interest. Now consider that an AUTHENTIC Titanic replica, operating on steam, would be many times more expensive to run. As an example, a Union Pacific "Big Boy" Locomotive consumed up to 12 tons of coal per hour when working at full power. At her normal cruising speed, Titanic would have consumed (by my own napkin math) around 27-28 tons per hour. Obviously she used her fuel much more efficiently, producing 8-9 times as much horsepower for "only" around double the fuel, but the cost would still be prohibitive, and that's before you factor in the other added costs of operating a large vessel.
Not only that, you have the problem of finding/training people qualified to run reciprocating steam engines, a technology that was already dated in Titanic's time. To make things even more painful, the Titanic is not especially large by the standards of modern cruise ships, and a very large portion of her internal space is taken up by cargo holds, her power plant and propulsion machinery (read "space that is not carrying or entertaining revenue-earning passengers). Of course, you could always scrap all that, install a modern diesel-electric power plant and make use of the increased space for more passenger cabins and amenities, but then it's not much of a replica, is it?
>>Financing of a cruise ship is mostly very low risk for the financial bankers, because it's very common that the ship yards government (country) gives almost 100 % guarantee for the construction costs of the vessel.<<

Tell that to the cruise lines which have failed trying to appeal to a niche market. Hell, even those with mass market appeal fail and you don't have to take my word for it. Go to the archived stories on the Cruise Critic website or backtrack to what I've collected in the New Age Of Passenger Liners folder.

The problem with the Titanic and Titanic themed cruises is that the niche which would be interested is narrow in the extreme. It's only next year for the centinary of the disaster that any have even been planned. Nothibg is seriously in the works for 2013 and there's a reason for that. People who care about the 100th Anniversery don't give a flip about the 101st.

Given the drop in interest in Titanic over the past ten years, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure things out and the banks which were approached had the question studied by professionals who actually knew what they were doing and understood the markets.

Oh, one other thing: Take a look at current events. The United States isn't the only country with a debt crisis, and with bread and butter programs being canceled or severely cut, any sort of funding/subsidies and or gaurantees for private business ventures are going to be seen as difficult if not outright impossible to justify.

Like it or not, unless somebody can make one helluva convincing case that this prospectus would be a sure thing, it just ain't gonna happen. That's the blunt reality.

But if you wish to try it, I wish you luck and every success!
I'm afraid I'm with Raymo on this one.

There's no romance in finance. (Is there a song about that?)

Old marketing and economic concepts reign supreme.

Financing the construction of a passenger vessel is one thing... keeping it competitively running is another. At the moment, the cruise ship market seems fairly well balanced, However, ship's are very sensitive to fuel costs, international safety regulations and labour laws and, since they range world-wide, to political situations. They are also exposed to the insurance market. Once a ship has been built, it is extremely expensive to bring it to dock for a re-fit to keep up with what's on offer by other cruise companies.

I am reminded of the heady days of the Orient Express.

The 1947 side paddle wheeler PS'Waverley' is the last ocean going paddle steamer. The cost of keeping her afloat is outrageous and depends very much on charity.

Penny for the Titanic Gov?

>>I'm afraid I'm with Raymo on this one.<<

Unfortunately, the song you're attributing to Raimo is the one I'm singing Captain Jim. Fantasy and wishful thinking is one thing, reality in all it's unpleasant splendor is another matter entirely.

Regarding the Titanic shemes he's talking about, I strongly doubt any of their promotors had a business plan beyond lining their own pockets. Too many schemes have come and gone, along with their websites, never to be heard from again.

Can you say "fraud?"

I knew you could!!!
Adding my two cents/pennies to the replica idea.

As a working copy is utterly impossible, any modern "Titanic" cruise ship would bear no resemblance to the original at all. You might get some tacky decorative touches "based" on the original. A few modern ships have staircases inspired by Titanic's. The former R1-R8 ships for example, and the Queen Victoria. The Cunarder's staircase is actually quite nice in my opinion.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about taking a cruise on a ship named Titanic anyway, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence!

A static land-based replica? Oh sure that would be great, but very costly and I doubt it would be worth it. Again, it might actually end up being somewhat tacky to maximise the profits. I'm thinking ridiculous, tasteless souvenirs and such.

I doubt such a thing could ever truly feel realistic, no matter how authentic it might look.

I've visited the S.S Great Britain a couple of times, now that thing (though extensively reconstructed) is the REAL deal, you just can't replicate that. The whole experience of seeing that ship was amazing, her incredible history and the fact she's in the very dock she was built. I remember trying to shut out all the modernity around me, and imagined I was on board her the first time she left Bristol.

The White Swan Hotel in Alnwick has a lot of Olympic's fittings such as the lounge panelling. It's a nice little hotel and I've been lucky enough to visit, and sit in Olympic's "lounge!"

Yep, only a replica which never left its port would be possible if it was to be done as an exact replica, and even then i'm not sure if all of the modern safety requirements would be sufficiently met - you know how fussy the rules and regulations are with that sort of thing these days.

So it would be a novelty, definitely, and i've no doubt would be hugely popular for a time. But, like all novelties, it would wear off, and eventually become a deserted ship floating in its port with only the occasional group of people on her, as with a few other great passenger liners gone by....

Have you been to the Mauritania pub in Bristol, Anneliese, which has the panelling from that ship? It's actually rather oppressive, if also quite impressive. How the Victs / Edwardians did love their massive mahogany etc. I once had a wardrobe in herited from my granny. It was about the size of a small cottage, in dark walnut with creaking doors, and not the sort of thing you really wanted to sleep near as it sort of loomed over you.
Hi there,
My twopennysworth here.
At Christmas, my son and I had our Christmas dinner at the White Swan Hotel in Alnwick and I have to tell you that the Olympic lounge was a terrific venue. It was easy to imagine we were on board either the Titanic or the Olympic.
As boring as it might seem. I have to forget the romantic nostalgic notions of building a full size working operable replica of the Titanic for many reasons. Cost, modern health and safety regs., novelty or rather the realistic waning of such etc. etc. I would love to see it happen and work, I doubt however if it would. Glimpses of the ships as we enjoyed at Christmas will have to suffice.