Originally posted by CGT:
I beleive that preservation is the only true answer.
Preservation isn't cheap! Look at other US ship preservation efforts. Just about all the battleships on display around the country have sunk next to their piers, even the aircraft carrier Intrepid is stuck in Hudson River mud in New York. Preserved ships require drydock more often than every 20 to 25 years, for optima health. Even the stuck in the mud Intrepid, which is barely profitable in New York with almost a million visitors per year to its museum can't get to drydock as often as it should.
Because they don't go to drydock as often as they should, the costs for each drydock is significantly higher when they do.
Taking these ships to drydock is so expensive, Texas is looking at placing the Battleship Texas permanently into drydock, by building a $20 million drydock for it. It's next overhaul in drydock will require another $20 million, or $40 million total. Other states will be facing similar decisions soon.
The Battleship Texas hasn't made $20 million in approximately 60 years, it's always a drain on the Texas Parks Department, whose budget today is just $20 million per year.
What has worked in the past, is what Long Beach has done with the Queen Mary. Converting the ship into a Convention Center Hotel, where those attending conventions at the Center keep the Queen Mary's cabins fully booked. Even it doesn't go to drydock often enough.
I believe the best way to keep these grand old passenger ships in good order is to keep them in operation as a passenger ship. This also requires keeping them updated with technology so they can stay competitive. When the ship can't make a profit anymore, it's time to scrap them.
A quick death is better than a prolonged and slow one.