This ship sunk, but Titanic tourism will go on.
In May, tourists with deep pockets will have the opportunity to visit the most notorious shipwreck of all time.
“All the bones are gone. There are no bodies down there. There are boots and shoes and clothes that show where people were 100 years ago, and that is very somber,” Stockton Rush, president of undersea exploration company OceanGate Expeditions, told Bloomberg of the RMS Titanic’s submerged wreck.
Beginning next spring, Rush has a series of six dives planned to visit the British passenger ship, which caused the deaths of 1,500 when it sunk in 1912. “There are better wrecks,” he conceded, “maybe even more important wrecks, but people don’t know what they are, and it’s hard to sell something when somebody doesn’t know.”
Rush’s upcoming Titanic dives — the first in 15 years — have both the goals of being research missions (to better examine sea life around the ship’s remains and create a 3-D model of its debris) and making money: A ticket to be one of a dive’s nine “mission specialists” costs $125,000.
In addition to the six- to eight-hour dive to experience the most infamous not-so-unsinkable ship in person, the pricey excursion also includes a private cabin on an eight-day sail from Canada.
As well, Titanic tourists will be invited to take a turn driving the five-person submarine — which has Sony PlayStation-inspired controls — during the 90-minute descent to the Titanic’s final resting place, 2.4 miles below the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface. However, they are disallowed from being divas or playing The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”
“We don’t want someone who is used to being catered to — a prima donna . . . We don’t have chocolates on the pillow,” said Rush, adding, “I hate that song.”
This is Rush’s third attempt at an expedition to the Titanic. His previous tries were respectively ruined by problems with his “mother ship,” vendor and lightning, which struck and destroyed his sub’s electrical system.
Three dozen people have already booked seats on the upcoming dives, approximately half of whom have also purchased $250,000 tickets to become space tourists via Virgin Galactic. This leaves only a handful of spaces available for next year’s dives, although Rush hopes to make the expeditions an annual offering.
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