Titanic Belfast Ready to Get Launched

For millions of Titanic fans around the world, the city that built the most famous ship on the planet is now Europe’s new must-see destination.

In Titanic’s centenary year, today – on the 31 March 2012, the eyes of the world are on Belfast, Northern Ireland. The city that built the most famous ship on the planet has a story of Titanic proportions to tell.

After three years of construction – the same time it took to build the famous ship – the £97 million Titanic Belfast makes an iconic addition to the city’s skyline.

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At the exact height of the original (93 feet), a walk around the star-shaped perimeter of the six-storey Titanic Belfast gives a sense of being dwarfed under the prow of a gigantic vessel and a reference also to the White Star Line, the company that owned her.

Titanic Belfast provides nine interactive galleries that tell the ship’s story from her conception in Belfast’s Harland & Wolff Shipyard, to her tragic sinking in 1912 and re-discovery led by ocean explorer Dr Robert Ballard in 1985. It also has a 1,000-seat banqueting suite that includes a replica of the Grand Staircase from the ship’s first-class section.

Visitors can take a journey through a simulated shipyard, hearing, feeling and even smelling what it was like to work on Titanic.

Included is a 20m ride in a metal elevator up the Arrol Gantry, an enormous steel structure built to facilitate the construction of Titanic and her sister ships, Olympic and Britannic.

Visitors can also experience the reality of the ship’s interiors in a ‘3D cave’ that recreates the engine rooms, third-class saloons, first-class corridors, Grand Staircase, a la carte restaurant and navigation bridge, and also a virtual ‘walk’ of the ship’s length – it contained five miles of decking.

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At one of the windows in the building, which offer breathtaking views over the city and Belfast Lough, visitors see archive footage of the Titanic’s launch on 31 May 1911.

Titanic Belfast will be launched at 11.30 am on 31 March by Peter Robinson, First Minister and Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

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Rakesh Raman