Thursday, 12 April 2012

Day 3 Titanic at sea

I adore cruising and spend most of my vacations on board large ocean-going ships. You have to love the sea days to really get the most out of cruising. A century ago on board RMS Titanic life would have been very different from today's experience. Firstly, the rigid class system adopted on board meant that certain areas of the ship were restricted by passenger grade. This only applies to dining arrangements and exclusive bar areas on some modern vessels, notable the Queen Cunarders. Today, passengers can go in any of the public areas on cruise ships regardless of their cabin grade – ships reflecting society have adopted a one class system.

Moving between class grades on Titanic wouldn't have been very easy, certainly not as simple as the current mini serial "Titanic" penned by Julian Fellowes would have us believe. Why even Jack Dawson in the film "Titanic" had a few difficulties crossing the class barrier. Class aside, what would the sea days have been like? Certainly not filled with the entertainment to be found aboard modern cruise ships, where a variety of tastes, interests and activities are designed to keep passengers happy. Titanic carried children, but there was no nursery provision, not like today's Kids Clubs spanning a range of age groups. First-class children had nannies, or other domestic servants to look after them, second-class children might have been supervised by a stewardess and third-class families were expected to fend for themselves, keep their children close and amused, whilst providing their own entertainment.

Ship life was geared to adults, as to be expected on board Titanic, where a reading and writing room, (used by ladies) and a smoking room (men only) was available for the upper two classes. Today's ships do have their quiet areas, libraries and computer rooms but the days of the gentlemen's only rule has gone. Likewise the "women and children first rule" for abandoning ship has been set aside, however, usually children are placed at the head of the queue for a lifeboat. Terminology has changed too, politely modern ships call their small boats tenders when they use them to ferry passengers ashore at ports where there is insufficient facilities, or the ship is too large for the berthing. There was dancing on board Titanic, but not on Sunday... but more about Sunday on my next blog. Music was played by the band comprising several musicians, who all sadly perished. To keep wealthy passengers in touch with the world, Titanic had the new Marconi service, whereas, today ships have satellite communication but still charge a premium for usage.

Titanic was a trans-Atlantic liner, although the most luxurious of her time, she was not a cruise ship as we know today. Her job was to transport passengers across the Atlantic, regrettably she never achieved her allotted task.

Tomorrow on the 4th day of my Titanic voyage, I shall be discussing food served on board.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating stuff Linda. My husband's just completed 5 months working on a cruise ship. I had a few hairy moments when the Costa Concordia ran aground but thankfully, his line was much safer!