Dubai is making waves on the tourism news radar yet again, this time literally.
On Tuesday, Dubai Tourism posted a tweet saying, "Titanic II will sail from China to Dubai on maiden voyage in 2018". There was a link to a September 26 news report saying Blue Star Line, which belongs to Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer, announced that Titanic II's first cruise destination will be Dubai.
Earlier, Titanic II was to sail from Southampton to New York. Now, after the change in plans was announced, passengers will board in Jiangsu, China, and disembark in Dubai, according to Cruise Arabia Africa.
The ship has been in the news on and off since 2012, mostly for being a replica of the ill-fated original. Instead of the earlier launch in 2016, Titanic II will now sail in 2018.
In 2012, Palmer announced that the $500-million ship was to be built in China and would sail her first cruise in 2016, following the exact course of the RMS Titanic.
Since 2013, however, there were no updates, and it was rumoured that the project had been cancelled.
A spokesperson for Palmer said this week that the project was going to happen - just two years later.
James McDonald, global marketing director of Palmer's company, Blue Star Line, reportedly said, "The new Titanic will of course have modern evacuation procedures, satellite controls, digital navigation and radar systems and all those things you'd expect on a 21st century ship." Externally, the ship will be almost identical to RMS Titanic. Her engineering though will differ significantly.
Like RMS Titanic, Titanic II will offer first, second and third class tickets. Voyagers will witness period decor along with Turkish baths, a swimming pool and gymnasiums. The report said the ship would have nine floors and 840 cabins that would be capable of accommodating 2,400 passengers and 900 crew members.
The ship's maiden cruise has been changed to China - Dubai because Blue Star Line has been forming business partnerships in the city, according to McDonald.
"We are not looking for investment from Dubai, as it is a project we are funding ourselves, but we have been in contact with a number of companies based in the Emirates who are looking at utilising opportunities that arise with the project," McDonald said, suggesting Dubai may become a recurring cruise destination for Titanic II.
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