Titanic II: Replica to repeat ill-fated cruise (+video)
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Passengers on board the replica will dress in the fashion of that period and eat dishes from the original menu, in dining rooms copied from the ill-fated predecessor.
Joining Palmer on Tuesday was Helen Benziger, the great granddaughter of Titanic survivor Margaret "Molly" Brown. Benziger, who agreed to serve on the advisory board for the Titanic II, said her great grandmother, who died in 1932, would have loved to see the Titanic rebuilt and complete the journey it never got to finish.
In what some may consider a temptation of fate for a remake of a notoriously "unsinkable" ship that sank, a representative of the Finnish designer of the Titanic II said it will be the "safest cruise ship in the world."
Markku Kanerva, director of sales for marine design company Deltamarin said that while the vessel is modeled after the legendary liner — the diesel-powered ship will even have four decorative smoke stacks mimicking the coal-powered originals — it will meet modern navigation and safety requirements.
In addition, plans call for a new "safety deck" featuring state-of-the-art lifeboats, safety chutes and slides. The new ship will also have amenities unknown a century ago, like air conditioning.
Palmer, who is funding construction of the ship himself, built his fortune in real estate and coal. Australia's BRW magazine estimated his net worth last year at $4 billion, although Forbes puts it at $895 million.
"I want to spend the money I've got before I die," he said. "You might as well spend it, not leave it to the kids to spend, there will be enough left for them anyway."