In another thread, now closed, Redlinekid2 asked the question, "Does anyone else have a dream to see a near identical twin of their favorite ship get built?
What a valid question I think this is for, perhaps, many of us who are fans of the classic ocean liner. On the internet I’ve seen more than a few examples and concepts where people have speculated, and even planned, for the construction of a nearly identical Titanic … almost always called Titanic II or Titanic 2.
I must admit that I find the idea of a modernized recreation of Titanic, or any other past vessel, holds a certain charm or spark to the imagination. I believe all of us who’re fans of the great classic liners would love to see one or more of the liners we’ve loved and admired over the years reborn in some fashion, whether it’s a completely new build, or the full restoration of a still-existing liner like the United States.
Of course, while we know realistically that the odds against any of our dream vessels actually being built are astronomical, it’s still great fun to titillate the imagination and speculate what they would be like and share ideas about them.
That being said, I’ve sort of had my own “dream” when it comes to a beloved ship or two. There are two vessels that, at a very early age in my life, impressed me deeply and they’ve had a life-long impact on me. They are RMS Titanic and SS France. I’ve never been able to get enough of either of them and they both strike my personal tastes as the two most beautiful ships ever made. Though there are many other liners I’ve really loved and respected the design and appearance of, those two have always been and remain my favorites.
My own dream has never been to see a recreation or exact duplicate of either one, but a vessel that is a marriage of the two … one that has their classic beauty, but breathes the spirit of each. I’m 59 years old now, but as far back as the age of 15, I began drawing my ideas as to how I envisioned such a vessel to look.
Until 2004 when QM2 appeared, I had never imagined any liner would ever exceed France’s 1,035 foot length. So, back in the day, when I began thinking of this new ship idea, I envisioned her to be 1,050 feet in length which, at 15 feet longer than France, would make her the longest passenger carrying vessel. She would be 112 feet wide and, roughly guessing, her gross tonnage would be somewhere in the nature of 79,000.
Her bow would begin with Titanic's almost vertical stem and immediately merge into France's graceful hull design with a clean sweep to her sheer, then terminate with Titanic's old fashioned but graceful counter stern design. Her superstructure would ascend in France's graceful manner and peak with a Titanic styled A Deck and Boat Deck. The bow facade of the superstructure is a mixture of Titanic/France styling (which some might find beautiful, others interesting, and still others hideous by mixing the two styles). Crowning the vessel would be Titanic's four huge Edwardian funnels.
When the Space Needle was built in 1961 and I saw its 360-degree restaurant, I was immediately inspired (even as a 7-year old) to think of a ship’s bridgehouse in a glass-enclosed 360-degree view design like that, so in 1969 at the age of 15 (when I first started doodling with sketches of my ship idea) my drawings of the new ship always included the radical flair of a bridgehouse like that. For my envisioned ship, the huge Titanic styled foremast would rise from a lower piece designed like France's distinctive mast/tower – and, the aft mast would be embraced by a smaller version of the same France-like mast/tower. For years I never tired of creating drawings and always wondering what anyone would think of such a vessel. As far as her name, there was only one that ever came to my mind … Spirit of Titanic ... while she would be a blending of Titanic/France styling, her essence would “breathe the spirit” of the late great Titanic ocean liner at every turn, so I felt the name to be appropriate.
Over the years I would toy a bit with my design ideas, but always returned to the way it “felt right” to me. Only a few times have I ever tried to show anyone my drawings and I was usually met with remarks in the nature of “Who cares about some musty old passenger ship idea? This is the jet age.” I did once show my design drawings to a Puget Sound Naval Shipyard architect who felt they were very interesting, nicely done and thought out, but he was quick to tell me not to get too involved in this dream ship of mine because “the idea of a ship like that would never sell”.
In time, SS France eventually became SS Norway and, in 1998, I sailed on her. While I was, at first, a little skeptical of the two added decks which made her look a little top heavy to me, I was thoroughly impressed with the attractive after deck extension and, after our cruise, I lost no time in adding that sort of thing to my design drawings. Somehow, for me, with the after deck extension added into the mix, the design idea carried the flavoring of Titanic/France/Norway, all three, and made the design concept feel complete.
I finally got to where I scanned my drawings and began to use Photoshop to add color and texture to try to bring my illustration to life … using elements of Titanic and France graphics that I’ve found and the “paste into” feature, I finally got the scanned image of my drawings to portray a pretty good likeness of this vessel I have imagined for so long.
Here’s an image of her … I know she’ll never exist as more than an idea, but she’s been a fun idea for me to toss around over the years.