In the last one hundred years the Titanic has become the most famous ship in history. There are several reasons for this fame which refuses to diminish. Its sinking in such dramatic fashion just a few days into its first voyage, the fanfare the ship enjoyed even before its launching, the tragic loss of so many lives, and finally the successful efforts to locate the sunken ship and retrieve some of its artifacts.
And certainly Hollywood has done its part with the production of the many cinemas that told the story. The movie '"Titanic", which has engrossed audiences world wide and continues to do so, was only the newest to capture the tragedy on film.
So when we learned that the Queen Mary was offering a new exhibition featuring "Titanic in Photographs" it was a given that we would go see it. We have always enjoyed our visits to the Queen Mary since she offers such a grand view of the past. It is also the last of the generation of ships that followed the Titanic.
Also part of the Cunard/White Star Line, was the Aquitania, which took me and thousands of other soldiers across the Atlantic in 1944 and on to war on the Continent. Like the Queen Mary, which also took over a quarter million American soldiers to Europe, it went unescorted, rather than in convoy, thanks to its speed.
I will only add about my time aboard Aquitania that while it was most certainly not a cruise to be enjoyed it did get us to England safely on the six day voyage. Besides the Aquitania other famous ships of this shipping firm included the Lusitania, sunk by a U Boat during World War 1 and the Muritania which held the speed record for a crossing of the Atlantic for many years.
The exhibition now on the Queen Mary is mostly photographs that take one from the building of the huge ship and then to the ship itself including dining rooms, lounges, and state rooms .
Included are rare artifacts crystal light fittings, furniture, silverware and furniture from the ship.
We found the White Star lifeboat from that era most interesting. It is identical to those that saved all to few of the Titanic's survivors. Weather beaten and showing all of its age the boat tells a story of its own. Other photographs show the rescue ship Carpathia as well as the Titanic's sister ship Olympic. The exhibition does capture events of that night of April 15th, 1912.
The Queen Mary is currently going through an extensive renovation, just part of a plan by its new owners. Urban Commons will make the ship one part of a new entertainment complex to be named Queen Mary Island. Urban Commons is a real estate firm that revealed plans to bring new nightlife to the ship and surrounding area with a 7,000 seat amphitheater and 500,000 square feet of entertainment and retail, including new restaurants.
Currently the Queen Mary has over one million on-board visitors each year.
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