Three generations of the Free family from London and Manchester -- Graham, Marilyn, David, Ethan, 10, Rosie, 5, Jaki and Stan (L-R) wear period costumes while queuing to board the Titanic Memorial Cruise in Southampton, England April 8, 2012.[Photo:REUTERS]
by Xinhua Writers Bai Xu and Li Rui
Steam whistles blowing and smoke coiling up, passengers from a luxurious liner waved farewell to their beloved ones at the harbor of Southampton 100 years ago. Many of them, however, never returned.
Name of the ship was well-known: Titanic.
A hundred years later, a memorial cruise started from the same port city on the Easter Sunday, date of the religious rebirth, to commemorate the centenary of the most deadly maritime disaster in the peace time.
Exactly 1,309 passengers from 28 countries have set sail on the MS Balmoral at 4 p.m. (GMT) for a 12-night voyage, so as to retrace the doomed ship's original route.
"This cruise has been five years in the making," said Miles Morgan, managing director of Miles Morgan Travel who masterminded the cruise.
"Every step of the way we have sought to make it authentic to the era and a sympathetic memorial to the passengers and crew who lost their lives."
The passengers included relatives of those who lost their lives in the tragedy and who survived, enthusiastic historians and book writers, as well as those fascinated by the Titanic story.
One of them was Philip Littlejohn, whose grandfather, a 1st Class Steward on Titanic Alexander barely escaped the disaster. He will also give a lecture on the ship. "I'm sure my grandfather would be proud to know his story shared with the passengers on this historic cruise," he said.
The food on board will be based on the menu on Titanic, while a five-member band from Belgium will play the music in 1912, as a tribute to those courageous musicians who kept performing till the last breath of their lives.
YESTERDAY ONCE MORE
MY HEART WILL GO ON 1 2 3 4