Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Titanic memorial cruise sets sail

People wave at the Balmoral cruise ship as it leaves Southampton docks on the official Titanic centenary voyage
Passengers onboard the Balmoral cruise ship wave as they leave Southampton docks on the Titanic centenary voyage
Titanic leaves Southampton on her maiden voyage in 1912 (AP)

Descendants of those who died in the Titanic disaster 100 years ago have set sail on a memorial cruise to the site of the wreck.

The MS Balmoral left Southampton on Saturday on a 12-night cruise to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the liner that hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage.

The same number of 1,309 passengers - not including crew - are aboard the MS Balmoral as on the ill-fated ship with around 50 having a direct family connection to the sinking.

The ship also has the same port of departure in an effort to recreate the voyage of arguably the most famous ship of all time at a cost of between £2,799 and £5,995 per person. But the Balmoral had to leave two days earlier than the Titanic did as it cannot steam as fast.

In keeping with the theme, food on board is from the menus of the White Star Line ship that sank on April 15 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives.

The organisers have even hired a band - the five-piece Grupetto from Belgium - to play era style music in honour of the Titanic's musicians who are said to have played until the ship sank.

People from 28 different countries have booked to travel and retrace the liner's original route. Those who have paid to go are from Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, South America and the USA.

Many turned up in Southampton on Saturday in period costume dressed as first class passengers, crew or steerage passengers. All must be hoping this particular ship makes it to New York - unlike its predecessor.

There will be a special memorial service for passengers above the wreck site on April 14 starting at 11.40pm, when the ship hit the iceberg and another at 2.20am on April 15 when it sank.

The Fred Olsen Cruise Lines operated MS Balmoral has been chartered for the event by Miles Morgan Travel, which specialises in tailor-made holidays.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz