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NEW YORK CITY — Titanic enthusiasts and romantics alike could board the famous ship's replica as soon as 2016.
Blue Star Line unveiled blueprints for Titanic II at a press conference Tuesday morning. The ship will be an updated replica of the original Titanic at 883 feet, carrying 2,435 passengers staying in 860 cabins, 18 lifeboats and additional rafts. The life boats will hold 2,700 people and the rafts can carry 800 more.
The cruise line owner, billionaire and mining tycoon Clive Palmer, said the ship will sail the Atlantic in safety. He did not use the word "unsinkable."
"Anything will sink if you put a hole in it," Palmer said in the press conference. "I think it would be very cavalier to say it. I think people in the past have done that and lived to regret it."
The ship's designer, Markku Kanerva said it would be the safest ship in the world.
They expect the ship to set sail as soon as 2016 once it has finished being constructed in China.
The ship will also keep to the class system of the original, with First, Second and Third class cabins and dining rooms. Renderings of the ship show elaborate Turkish baths, a gym, swimming pools and the famous grand staircase.
The ship will have modern conveniences like air conditioning, a hospital and a helipad, though TVs will not be aboard. Blue Star Line's owner Clive Palmer said they have not come to a decision about whether or not Internet will be available.
The reason? Palmer wants passengers to experience Titanic II in a historically accurate way. So much so, that the line will provide 1912-period clothing to passengers boarding the ship.
"We can remember who we are and where we come from. Titanic comes from a time when the world was different," Palmer said.
Some have criticized Palmer's recreation of the ship that brought tragedy to so many.
Not all see it as a disrespectful venture, though. Helen Benziger, the great-granddaughter of Molly Brown, who survived the crash of the original boat, said at the press conference she looks forward to completing the voyage.
"I'm thrilled. The reason I agreed to be associated with the project is because the professor has assured me he will honor those passengers that perished and survived," Benziger said. "My hope is that this will just be something that will honor them and take the voyage across the Atlantic, so it can complete the voyage."