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Titanic II: Take a peek inside replica set to sail in 2018

By Linda Stewart

These striking images reveal how eerily similar this new version of RMS Titanic will be to the original.

Although today's cruise ships feature plush facilities such as robot bartenders and giant slides, the Titanic II will stay true to the original, with one small swimming pool, Turkish baths and an Edwardian gym.

That's if it ever sets out to sea, of course. The launch of the ship, the brainchild of wealthy Australian businessman Clive Palmer, has been pushed back to 2018.

Like the original, built at Harland and Wolff in Belfast, it will offer first, second and third class cabins and dining rooms, a grand staircase, smoking room, Cafe Parisien and Marconi Room modelled almost exactly on renderings produced by Brisbane-based cruise line Blue Star Line.

Lovers of modern technology might find it unsuitable, with no sign of any TVs in the computer-generated images. But renderings show a helipad on the aft deck, something the original Titanic never had.

The images show the design will recreate the grand staircase, one of the most famous features of the Titanic, which set sail in April 1912 only to founder after hitting an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. It will also include the first class smoking room, made to resemble gentlemen's clubs in London.

The 6ft deep swimming pool was filled with salt water after the ship set sail. The vessel will recreate the Marconi Room, with a state-of-the-art system to let passengers send electronic messages.

Cafe Parisien, for first class passengers, was designed like a pavement cafe in the French capital, while third class passengers ate in communal dining rooms with a long table.

Blue Star Line says some of the elements will be retained purely for historical significance but will not be functional. The vessel will meet modern safety and design requirements, with a welded hull instead of a riveted one, diesel-electric propulsion instead of steam engines, stabilisers and high-tech navigation. There will also be enough lifeboats for all.

Titanic II will have 840 cabins and carry 2,435 passengers and 900 crew. Estimates of the cost range from £300m to £400m.

The cruise ship is being built at CSC Jinling Shipyard in China.

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