It has only been open for two months, yet one of the main attractions at Titanic Belfast appears to be plagued by gremlins.
The Shipyard Ride was plugged as one of the highlights of the £97m attraction, yet visitors are complaining that despite paying full price to get in, they’ve been left disappointed after finding the ride wasn’t operating.
Visitors take a cage lift to climb a representation of the huge Arrol gantry that was used to build the Titanic and Olympic before walking along planks of wood with exposed steel girders to get a feel for the conditions in which the workers once toiled.
They then enter a six-seater cart which descends into the dark bows of the construction to watch workers shaping girders in a furnace and hammering rivets into the hull as a voiceover describes the difficult conditions. The ride twists, turns and rotates before passing through a scale replica of a section of Titanic’s rudder.
One of the first to complain of his disappointment was Stanley Hughes.
After queuing for an hour, he was told that the car ride round the Shipyard had broken down.
“If we are asking visitors to travel from all over the world, we will have to do much better. Many people were angry and frustrated with the delay so someone who had travelled many miles would be incandescent,” he said.
And it seems the glitches have been more than just a one-off. There have been more complaints about the shutdown of the Shipyard Ride. One visitor said the Shipyard Ride was operating but the visuals and audiotrack were out of sync.
And the most recent stoppage took place over the Bank Holiday weekend when actor Séainín Brennan tweeted about her disappointing visit last Saturday. She posted: ‘Just out of @TitanicBelfast. Very disappointed that a section of it was closed! Not informed when buying tickets. #Fail.’
In its terms and conditions, Titanic Belfast warns that from time to time, parts of the attractions may be closed for maintenance or for technical reasons.
‘Tickets will not be refunded and no compensation will be paid in the event of such closures,’ it states.
Meanwhile, customers are eagerly waiting to see if any further opportunities arise to visit Titanic Belfast’s replica of the Grand Staircase. A row erupted after it emerged that the staircase would not be included in tours of the attraction.
A spokesman for Titanic Belfast said: “Regrettably, the Shipyard Ride was not operational for a period of time over the bank holiday weekend. Signage relating to this was posted throughout Titanic Belfast before entry, and visitor experience staff also communicated this to visitors on arrival. An exciting announcement about special dining experiences for the public in the spectacular Titanic Suite and The Bridge will be announced in the next few days.”