Titanic II blueprints unveiled, to set sail in 2016

Titanic
Second time lucky? An Australian billionaire has unveiled the blueprints for a successor ship to the doomed ocean liner Titanic, saying that the nostalgic trans-Atlantic voyage could set sail in 2016.

"The Titanic was the ship of dreams. Titanic II is the ship where dreams will come true," Australian billionaire Clive Palmer said yesterday at the Intrepid, Sea, Air & Space Museum, where he showed off the blueprints.

He said its maiden voyage will trace the trans-Atlantic crossing of the Titanic and could take place in 2016. Palmer said construction is scheduled to start soon in China, the New York Post reported.

Palmer plans to build Titanic II, a cruise ship that will be a near-replica of the luxurious liner that hit an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic on its maiden voyage to New York in 1912.

More than 1,500 people perished on the doomed vessel but Palmer insists he's not tempting fate this time around.

This Titanic will have enough lifeboats, Palmer said.

But while the builders of the original Titanic said it was designed to be unsinkable, Palmer wouldn't repeat that boast.

"Anything will sink if you put a hole in it," Palmer said.

"I think it would be very cavalier to say it".

"One of the benefits of global warming is there hasn't been as many icebergs in the North Atlantic these days," Palmer joked.

He plans to recreate the full Titanic experience, from glorious original interiors, such as the grand staircase and Turkish bath to old-time class divisions.

Like its namesake, Titanic II will have three passenger classes and "no mingling", Palmer said.

Palmer said 40,000 people have expressed interest in tickets for the maiden voyage, taking the original course from Southampton, England, to New York. He said people are inspired by his quest to replicate one of the most famous vessels in history.

"We all live on this planet, we all breathe the same air and, of course, the Titanic is about the things we've got in common," he said. "It links three continents."

Depending on their "class", passengers will be seated in the gilded dining room or at long, common tables. They'll find period clothing in their cabins if they want to go back in time.

There will also be modern luxuries like air-conditioning and safety changes that comply with current requirements. For example, there will be enough lifeboats for everyone aboard.

Markku Kanerva, sales director at the company designing the vessel, said it would be the "safest cruise ship in the world ".

Palmer, who created the Blue Star Line company last year, said he expects very shortly to sign a contract with China's CSC Jinling Shipyard to build the ship

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