Titanic II

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Jan C. Nielsen

Member
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering a proposal to build the "Titanic II."

It will be an exact replica of the Titanic, built in Finland for $160 million, and transported to the United States for $90 million. It will be a 568 room floating hotel, docked at Pier 35. Rooms will cost from $250-$500 per night.

Apparently, the idea originated with the proposal for docking the Lurline, which lacked financing and eventually sank of the South African coast on its way to the scrappers (see text under "Preservation of S.S. Lurline").

One spokeperson stated:

"This is going to be real. In other words, you can't raise the Titanic from the bottom of the ocean, unfortunately. But when you walk aboard, you won't be able to tell the difference between this Titanic and the one that sailed out of England in 1912."

For more information, see the following:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/examiner/archive/2000/11/02/BUSINESS8451.dtl

Apparently, this project has very strong political backing, including the support of San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown - - who is a powerful component of the Tom Burton Democratic political machine out here. So, quite frankly, this no "pie in the sky."
 
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Mike Herbold

Member
Thanks for that, Joe. What a great addition that would be to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39.
Keep us posted.
 
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Richard A. Krebes

Member
This "Titanic" replica would be merely a gold-plated dog or cat! A MASSIVE one at that.
So they thought retrofitting the S.S. Lurline into a dockside hotel would have been too expensive but they can spend, all tolled, 250 million bucks on a GOLD-PLATED DOG OR CAT of a "Titanic replica"?! Fire and thunder! Why couldn't they have raised 250 millon to at least BUY the Lurline before she was slated to be scrapped, and then sank en route to her meeting with the torch?
Maybe they thought a stupid T. replica would rake in the bucks more than an ORIGINAL thing like the S.S. Lurline would've, so funding for saving her was lukewarm thanks to that mindset.
Hell's fire! We've done a LOUSY job of preserving our historic ocean liners, and the fate of the S.S. Lurline is yet another pathetic example. Especially when you compare it with the gold-plated dog or cat that they want to now put in the place slated for her. Ugh!
Sorry to be so pumped-up, I just love history and relish its preservation and heartilly DISLIKE inane ideas like building a "Titanic II".

Richard K.
 
J

Jan C. Nielsen

Member
Richard,

I couldn't agree more with you (see the thread on "Preservation of the S.S. Lurline"), and I'm very simpathetic to your support for the S.S. United States. Why not take that ship and put out here?

However, you have to understand the people. Willie Brown absolutely has to have the most glamorous, new things imaginable. For example, since the 1989 earthquake (wherein San Francisco's Bay Bridge to Oakland was damaged) there's been a proposal to build a new Bay Bridge. The State designed a very ordinary looking bridge, that would do the job effectively. Willie Brown and Jerry Brown (the mayor of Oakland) have made a big political issue about this - - they want a bridge that's going to really be something to impress everyone!

Willie Brown built a new ball park, and got approval for a new $100 million football stadium. It's obvious that the Titanic II project fits the bill.

I have to confess, though, I would like to go aboard Titanic II and walk around - - maybe save someone who's jumping off the stern (just a joke).
 
J

Jan C. Nielsen

Member
Here's another, more detailed article on the "Titanic II." As you can see from reading it, there's some real local political muscle behind this project. Although the newspapers are making fun of it, Titanic II would apparently generate a lot of revenue for the port, and given what happened with the movie, it can't be wistfully discounted.

The Port Authority conducted a closed door session about the project. It's been put off until November 21, 2000.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2000/11/02/MN107589.DTL

I know some members don't like the idea of a replica. I don't like all the commercialism, either. Further, at least arguably, the whole idea is a bit morbid, i.e., reconstructing and reliving one of the deadlist single disasters of the Twentieth Century. It is like the proposal Disneyland floated some years ago in connection with building a pre-Civil War historical theme park in Virginia. In particular, one of the things they wanted to do was re-create exactly what it was like to be a slave!


But I'm open to the proposal, especially inasmuch as it's going to be set up here. Concededly, often a lot is promised about building an "exact" replica - - but then isn't delivered. The real value of this is in it being an exact duplicate - - not a Las Vegas parody, or a Disneylandish facade.

However, assuming this is a ship that truly duplicates the Titanic, what do you think would be the benefits for Titanic researchers?

I was thinking that it would be interesting to take her out off Point Reyes on a calm, moonless night, and actually make an assessment of how far one can see in such conditions - - with only the ship's lighting. It's always been a mystery to me about how well anything could be witnessed aboard Titanic, between 11:40 p.m. and 2:20 a.m. Certainly, James Cameron's lit up North Atlantic in the movie "Titanic" was absurd enough.

I imagine a real life Titanic would enable researchers to better assess the movements that the passengers purportedly made around the ship on April 15, 1912. It might be easier to understand why so many Third Class people died in the disaster, by evaluating first hand the means for them to get to the boat deck. These are just some thoughts. Anyone else?
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
With enough recreated tooling and techniques which haven't been used for at least half a century, I suppose they could do just about anything they wated to. The problem is that to build the replica exactly, they would have to resort to riveting nearly the entire hull and that just isn't done anymore. Nor are reciprocating steam engines manufactured any more, or a lot of the other equipment and fittings for that matter.

Then there is trying to find a way to make the decor and fittings fireproof or fire rersistant, and getting people competant to operate machinary and equipment which hasn't been used for over half a century. I'm just scratching the surface here, but you're a smart guy, Joe. I think you can see where I'm going.

If San Fransisco is serious about this, then I wish them luck. I don't think it'll happen, but if it does, it's going to cost them a helluva lot more then $100 million.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
J

Jan C. Nielsen

Member
Of course, you were right on the money with S.S. Lurline, Michael. Here, however, there appears to be real money available to build it, and a likelihood that the project will realize enormous revenues. Somehow, when there's plenty of money around, that talks, and you-know-what walks. So, we'll see.

Apparently, though, the original type of engines aren't going to be in it. Also, since parking is difficult at Pier 35, cars will be parked in the "bowels" of the ship. There's a 16-page glossy brochure out there that I'm going to try to get ahold of. The newspapers have been having a field day with this, for example:

"Yet it seems fairly obvious that no idea is too outlandish for the port, not even a concept based on a maritime disaster in which an estimated 1,522 people perished. After Titanic, can a Hindenberg zepplin ride be far behind?"

"But this being San Francisco, may be people think having the Titanic here would be an appropriate symbol for the times, a monument to the era when the city sank under the weight of its own great vision for a tourist-laden tomorrow."

(San Francisco Chronicle, November 5, 2000).
 
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Richard A. Krebes

Member
"Yet it seems fairly obvious that no idea is too outlandish for the port, not even a concept based on a maritime disaster in which an estimated 1,522 people perished. After Titanic, can a Hindenberg zepplin ride be far behind?"

I couldn't agree more with that comment from the Cronicle.
Decadence, decadence, decadence....my, my, my.

Richard K.
 
Michael H. Standart

Michael H. Standart

Member
Hi Joe, I think you may be talking about another Micheal in reference to the S.S. Lurline, but that is one ship I would have enjoyed seeing preserved. I saw the write up on her in that Ocean Liners website you posted a link to and the interiors were in great condition. Unfortunately, the hull wasn't. Still, if she couldn't be saved, better the ocean as a resting place then the scrapyard.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
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Randy Bryan Bigham

Member
Dear Joe,

I thank you for sharing all this great info.

I have some conflicting views about a Titanic replica but for the most part I think it would be incredible if it can be accomplished - with taste.

To avoid the inevitable criticisms of morbidity and hype, the organizers should surely - and early on - align themselves with historical associations and experts to give it credibility and viability as something beyond a theme park. It will be a media balancing act with which the most savvy publicist will have difficulty. I'd like to see THS, BTS, and our own fab ET, involved in the project which will give it needed cachet.

Wouldn't it be great to see THS headquarters installed there or at least their museum, if the project pans out?

An information bureau and gift shop along the classy lines of those at the MMofA in NY or the V&A in London would also be great.

Although the tourist dollar will be unabashedly sought, I think the further the promotional campaign distances itself from a traditional tourist angle, the more sound and successful the project will prove. Hollywood will of course have to be enlisted but there'll be no shortage of stars interested. Maybe Cameron can do opening ceremonies flanked by Titanic society big-wigs culled from the various groups.

If for no other reason, a Titanic replica could be of inestimable value to Titanic enhusiasts as a memorial for wouldn't it be ideal to have a memorial wall erected on the boat deck perhaps with the names of the lost? There could also be plaques placed at the lifeboat stations recording the names of the saved. I can also see plaques commemorating certain events or eulogizing various individuals placed at different locations throughout the ship. It might seem at first a bit solemn for a hotel to have such reminders but in the long run I think they'll prove useful in at least preserving a mood of respect. Remember, if they don't enforce a dress code (which I think they should but probably won't), the effect of this great liner will be very much compromised, what with T-shirt clad and flip-flop shod sightseers streaming through the place. So the appropriate reverence will need to be pulled from somewhere. (Oh, just the thought of the grand staircase being trodden by tacky tourists in shorts and ball caps is enough to make me want to rethink this as maybe not such a good idea!!!)

Another thought is that, even if all the staterooms aren't reproduced, surely a goodly number will be from the various classes and they could be called by the name of their original occupant and supplied with illustrated brochures of biographical info on that person which will make guests appreciate the room all the more. (Hopefully it won't have the effect of being too haunting.)

Anyway, I trust we'll hear more in future, Joe, about this. I really wish them luck. Its a good idea but they'll need some seasoned guidance for it to take off.

All best wishes,

Randy

PS) If the Titanic replica is promoted as being a tribute to the by-gone era of steam travel and in particular the grandeur of the Titanic - and of course as a memorial honoring the disaster - I think the accusations which press nay-sayers will doubtless come up with can be counteracted. Don't you think?
 
J

Jan C. Nielsen

Member
Randy,

Thanks for your feedback, I was thinking along the same lines. I got a feeling, too, that the developer would like to get input from ET, THS and the others about the project. As a recent article points out, the project's promoters recognize that there is a "niche" ready-made market out there, i.e., Titanic buffs, for their project. They definitely want to bring them in.

Here is an article that appeared on NBC news, and Reuters.

http://www.msnbc.com/484804.asp

The developers are discounting some of the morbidity in the newspaper stories - - they say that Titanic was one of the most beautiful ships ever built, and therefore people can appreciate it for that, aside from the disaster.

Another thing worth mentioning, is that if there was such a ship, people could get their fill of Titanic there, and then leave the original wreck alone.

As I read more about it, I'm not sure how exactly it will duplicate the Titanic. It appears to be as much as 50-100 feet shorter, and its interior may be more luxurious than the original.

One of the dissenters on the Port Authority is dead set against it. But the real political muscle is with Mayor Willie Brown's office, and the developer has strong connections there. So we should hear something more around November 21, 2000. Take care.
 
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Mike Herbold

Member
Joe:
Could you check that NBC address again. I couldn't get it to open.
 
J

Jan C. Nielsen

Member
Here's the address, Mike. Sorry if I got it wrong the first time.

http://www.msnbc.com/news/484804.asp

I called developer Hans Ullmark's office this morning and asked for a brochure. I left a message on Ullmark's message machine. Neither Willie Brown's nor Dennis Wong's offices had the brochure, and they referred me to Ullmark.
 
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Randy Bryan Bigham

Member
Joe,

I absolutely agree that Titanic II could create a much-welcomed diversion from current salvage antics on the actual wreck. For this reason alone I pray the project will go forward.

Randy
 
Tracy Smith

Tracy Smith

Member
Will they build a replica of the Californian to be docked across the bay in Oakland???? LOL!
 
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