The Titanic Memorial Cruise – brainchild of well-known travel agent Miles Morgan – set sail out of Southampton on Saturday.
It is one of two cruises organised by Morgan, who owns a chain of independent travel agencies, to commemorate 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912.
Morgan has chartered Fred Olsen Cruise Line’s Balmoral for the ex-UK cruise. The other cruise ship, Royal Caribbean-owned Azamara Journey, leaves New York on April 10.
Both ships will stop at the location where the Titanic sank and hold a memorial service. Cabins for the UK cruise went on sale three and a half years ago and sold out within 18 months. Among those on board are descendants of passengers on the Titanic.
Asked by the BBC if he was worried about icebergs, Morgan said nothing could be ruled out but he was confident of a safe passage and put his faith in the state-of-the-art navigational equipment onboard the modern cruise ship.
Among the passengers boarding Balmoral on Saturday dressed in period costume was former Fred Olsen marketing director Nigel Lingard who left the cruise ship operator last year.
The Titanic memorial cruise has spawned a number of television dramatisations and retrospectives to mark the 100th anniversary and also a series of documentaries on ship safety.
These have sought to draw parallels with the more recent sinking of the Costa Concordia in Italy, although the cruise industry has robustly defended its safety record and the design of the modern day cruise ship.
The latest of these documentaries including live footage from onboard Concordia is due to be aired on Channel Four on Wednesday.
Credit: Simon Brooke Webb
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