Category Archives: Titanic Expeditions

Adriatic, Biggest Ship Yet Built, to Start It in May

The Britannic was the third in the Olympic series, after the Titanic, and was appropriated by the British government as a hospital ship.

The Britannic was the third in the Olympic series, after the Titanic, and was appropriated by the British government as a hospital ship.

This press release was carried in newspapers to herald the launch of the new White Star liner Adriatic:

SHE WILL CARRY 3,000 SOULS

And Have a Turkish Bath, Plunge, and Orchestra Aboard—Line to
Liverpool to Stay.

With the putting in commission next May of its new steamship Adriatic, which will be not only the largest steamship in service anywhere in the world, but the finest product of marine architecture yet designed, the White Star Line announced yesterday the inauguration at that time of a new line between New York and ports in the English Channel. The line has
decided to improve its facilities by transferring the British terminal of its Wednesday mail service to Southampton, the eastbound steamers calling at Plymouth and Cherbourg, and westbound ships at Cherbourg and Queenstown. This new line will be known as the United States and Royal
Mail Service.

A Turkish bath

A Turkish bath on the proposed Titanic II

This does not mean that the regular Wednesday sailings between New York and Liverpool, via Queenstown, are to be discontinued. The sailing day for this route will be changed to Thursday and will be maintained by the steamers Baltic, Cedric, Celtic, and Arabic.

The Channel service will be opened by the new Adriatic, which is to sail from Liverpool on her maiden voyage an May 8 and will sail from this side on May 22. Besides the 25,000-ton Adriatic, the new service will include the steamers Oceanic, Teutonic, and Majestic. In establishing
the new route, the White Star Line was influenced not only by the growing popularity of the Channel ports as a convenient and comfortable route by which the traveler may reach London and Paris, the objective points of a large majority of transatlantic travelers, but also to a
great extent by recommendations from many thousands of its patrons in America who have come to look with favor on the Channel route.

The new line means that the steamers of the White Star Line will touch at nearly all of the great tourist ports of Europe. The New York-Mediterranean service will be kept up by the steamers Republic and Cretic, while the fortnightly service between Boston and Liverpool will
be maintained by the Cymric and the Republic. The International Mercantile Marine Company, of which the White Star Line is a subsidiary company, has materially strengthened its European connections by the new departure.

When the new Adriatic is turned over to the company by the builders, Harland & Wolff of Belfast, in April, she will mark a new epoch in transatlantic travel. Not only does she combine in hull and engines every improvement and every invention—with the exception of turbines—which have been devised for the safety of vessels and the comfort of the oceangoing traveler, but in every detail she is the combined result of the experience of the managers and the builders. For her interior decorations the line will employ the most famous decorators, outfitters, and upholsterers of Europe.

The newest of all new features to be introduced in other respects is well-equipped Turkish baths. which will vie with the finest establishments of the kind ashore. There will be, in addition to the hot, temperate. and cooling rooms, a large plunge bath and an electric bath. Another innovation is the introduction of an orchestra, the first ever placed on an Atlantic British passenger-carrying steamer.

The German lines were the first to furnish music for the entertainment of their passengers. The Red Star Line to Antwerp followed suit. and then the French Line. The French Line, however, made a step in advance, for, while the other lines selected a band from among their own
stewards, the French line placed on its vessels orchestras from the hotels of Paris.

The Adriatic is 725 feet long, 75 feet 6 inches beam, and about 50 feet deep. Her gross tonnage is 25,000 and her displacement over 40,000 tons She has nine steel decks, and is divided into twelve watertight compartments. The total number of. steel plates used in her hull is
about 20,000 and the rivets are estimated at nearly two million and a half. Her cables are three and three-eighths inches in diameter, and weigh nearly ninety tons, and her anchors weigh about eight tons each.

The general arrangements of the ship are similar to those of the Baltic and other vessels of that type. The first-class dining room will seat 370 persons. It is to be paneled in the fashion of Charles II and painted in ivory white and gold. Over the middle of the room will be a dome made with leaded glass of white and yellow, and under the dome will be paintings of scenes in Switzerland, Italy, Yellowstone Park, and the Rhine country. The same scheme of decoration has been carried out in the second-cabin saloon, though less elaborately.

When filled the Adriatic will have on board 3,000 souls. She will be fitted with Marconi wireless and a submarine signaling apparatus.

One Hundredth Anniversary Titanic Voyage

Two years ago, Bruce Caplan asked me to fill in for him on a special Royal Caribbean voyage out of Southampton, the very port from which the ill-fated RMS Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912. The Independence of the Seas cruise director had requested a Titanic author to provide a series of informative talks to mark the sailing of the famous luxury liner one hundred years to the day.  When my wife Donna and I flew to London, as we had just been there the six months earlier, we decided to time our arrival on the same day of the departure of the Independence of the Seas for its eleven day voyage to the Canary Islands and return.

The Queen Mary 2 at port in Southampton. This is where the Titanic left from on her maiden voyage.

The Queen Mary 2 at port in Southampton. This is where the Titanic left from on her maiden voyage.

The Maritime Museum in Lisbon Portugal may just be the finest in the world. This was one of our port days and really worth the time.

The Maritime Museum in Lisbon Portugal may just be the finest in the world. This was one of our port days and really worth the time.

By Ken Rossignol

Titanic Speakers Bureau

Ken on Independence of the Seas

Ken Rossignol on The Independence of The Seas

Being at sea with a series of talks about the history, the people, the heroes of the Titanic was not only an exceptional honor and challenge but a thrill to be asked to bring the story alive in a way consistent with history and at the same time, to be meaningful to a modern audience. The huge Independence of The Seas is in many ways, a modern Titanic, with the chief difference being that this ship made it past its maiden voyage, without being on fire or sinking.

Southampton is a bustling city and one of the chief ports in the UK and Europe just as it was in 1912.

Southampton is a bustling city and one of the chief ports in the UK and Europe just as it was in 1912.

The similarities for the passengers is truly in the imagination. Imagining the grand staircase down which Mrs. J.J. Brown, the newly minted millionaire, flowed with her Missourian dignity intact, brings to mind the equally grand appointments of the Independence of the Seas.  The three-story dining room with a grand piano to entertain during the evening meal harkens back to the plush dining room that seated hundreds on the Titanic.

Plenty of room, plenty of tables, plenty of food on the grand Independence of The Seas, one of Royal Caribbean's majestic ships.  The Chesapeake photos

Plenty of room, plenty of tables, plenty of food on the grand Independence of The Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s majestic ships. The Chesapeake photos

The Independence of the Seas voyage had a majority of Brits traveling on their Easter season trip to warmth and sunshine in Spain and the Canaries. The voyage of the Titanic to New York two hundred years earlier certainly lacked any warm weather but it held the promise of reaching a land of opportunity and hope for so many who had sold their last belongings to get a fresh start in America and Canada.

Musicians entertain at dinner on the Independence of the Seas.

Musicians entertain at dinner on the Independence of the Seas.

As we traveled to ports in Portugal, Spain and the Canaries as well as Madeira, our sea days were the times in which my enrichment sessions on the Titanic were held. It is quite a challenge to go up against bingo and belly flop contests, which are often the chief entertainment on other ships, but this British crowd were a bit more intense as was the weather. Thus with as many as three hundred and fifty earnest listeners in attendance, I did the best I could to explain how the Titanic had been on fire from the time the ship left Southampton.

Barbara and Malcolm Lock of London serve the board of the National Maritime Museum and offered invaluable insights of the British experience of the Titanic. They joined us every day for breakfast in the grand dining room.

Barbara and Malcolm Lock of London serve the board of the National Maritime Museum and offered invaluable insights of the British experience of the Titanic. They joined us every day for breakfast in the grand dining room.

There had been a coal strike during the winter of 1911 and 1912 and coal was hoarded for this important maiden voyage. The final preparations of the ship had been delayed in order to provide repairs to the Olympic which had been damaged in a collision with the British cruiser Hawk. Therefore, an important protocol had not been followed, that of keeping the stored coal dampened. When the ship left port, deep down in the bowels of coal bunker number six, the coal self-ignited, as coal can do. Those who have BBQ grill charcoal at home should be cautious to keep their charcoal in a metal can with a lid on it or the same could happen to you. Many a shed fire has likely been blamed on electrical wiring when the truth might be that of spontaneous combustion of a bag of charcoal.
Ken Titanic graphic

In any event, we know this startling information due to the testimony of the surviving crewmen of the Titanic who told the American and British hearings about what caused the ship had to sink about the fire.

The arrival of the passengers of the Titanic in New York was very different from that of passengers of the sister ship Olympic for the year leading up to April of 1912. This was the scene of the wait for the survivors in New York City.

The arrival of the passengers of the Titanic in New York was very different from that of passengers of the sister ship Olympic for the year leading up to April of 1912. This was the scene of the wait for the survivors in New York City.

Mr. J. Dilley of the Titanic said at the United States Senate Commerce Committee hearing in New York City, as was reported in the New York World the following day, that a crew of 12 had fought the fire in four hour shifts, around the clock. “We had made no headway,” he said. “We thought when we arrived in New York and got the passengers off, that we would have to bring a fireboat alongside to get the fire out.”

Perhaps the sculptor who created this gem had read Bram Stoker's Dracula before he decorated this building in La Corona.

Perhaps the sculptor who created this gem had read Bram Stoker’s Dracula before he decorated this building in La Corona.

What is the significance of the fire?  The fire burned the coal bunker six sidewalls in the same exact place where the ship came into collision with the iceberg and we had a vivid lesson in what heat does to metal when the hijacked airliners flew into the World Trade Center in 2001. More of the fire is covered in Bruce Caplan’s book, The Sinking of the Titanic and in my book, Titanic 1912.

"Be British" - The last words of the Titanic's master, Capt. E. J. Smith

“Be British” – The last words of the Titanic’s master, Capt. E. J. Smith

 

Titanic explorers…and graverobbers

Dr. Robert Ballard found the wreck of the Titanic and after twenty years  of watching on the sidelines about how the wreck was desecrated and looted, he paused when asked for comment. He said that he never envisioned that such damage would be done to the wreckage and the contents removed. He said that he wants to visit historic sites and not see the artifacts removed.

Titanic stern, props and rudder

The ship was in pretty good shape when it left here – remark of an Irish official at the Belfast Titanic Museum. This section of the stern of the ship shows the massive rudder and props. A 17 ton section of the hull was raised and put on display to tourists, along with personal items that were on the bodies of those who perished.

From The National Post

Titanic anniversary: Artifacts auction draws accusations of grave robbery

(Jan. 28, 2012) — On April 15, on the 100th anniversary of the RMS Titanic’s sinking, an auction house in New York will sell off $185-million-worth of items salvaged from the wreck: Eye-glasses, antique currency, jewellery, clothing and — the pièce de resistance — a 17-tonne section of the hull ripped clean in the ship’s final violent moments.

In Halifax, the burial place of 150 Titanic victims, news of the auction prompted disgust.

“We’re into preserving and documenting — not into pillaging,” Lynn-Marie Richard, registrar for the city’s Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, told The Chronicle Herald.

The man who located the Titanic sitting upright at the bottom of the Atlantic would agree.

In 1985, only hours after he had spotted the wreck, Robert Ballard took a call from a curious ABC reporter, who asked if the legendary ship could ever be raised from the depths.

“Absolutely not,” he replied.

“In fact I would like to go and try to ensure that this memorial to 1,500 souls is left the way it is.”

Only months later, a fully equipped salvage crew set sail for Mr. Ballard’s coordinates.

Titanic survivors called them “thieves” and “pirates,” and Mr. Ballard condemned the salvagers for “perpetuating” the tragedy.

Decades later, has the taboo of “graverobbing” worn off?

Almost from the minute it sank, the Royal Mail Ship Titanic was a target for souvenir hunters. Scavengers stole nameplates and oars from the ship’s lifeboats as soon as they were dropped off in New York.

In 2008, a bloody life jacket believed to have been pulled from the body of a floating victim sold for $53,000.

Edmund Stone, a Titanic steward whose body was discovered by the Canadian cable ship Mackay-Bennett, has yielded more than $250,000 of souvenirs, including a set of keys and a silver pocket watch stopped at 2:16 a.m., the moment the 33-year-old was tipped into the icy waters of the north Atlantic.

Under a 1994 ruling by the Eastern District of Virginia, salvage rights over the wreck belong exclusively to RMS Titanic Inc., a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions. In seven expeditions to the site, the private company has pulled up 6,000 artifacts.

Eva Hart was seven years old and bound for a new life in Winnipeg when her father died in the disaster.

“To bring up those things from a mass sea grave just to make a few thousand pounds shows a dreadful insensitivity and greed,” she said in 1987, just as the first salvage expedition was setting sail.

Amid charges RMS Titanic Inc. is causing damage to the wreck site, the International Congress of Maritime Museums has barred its members from exhibiting any Titanic artifact salvaged after 1990.   READ MORE

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