Julian Fellowes’ Titanic met with mixed reviews. The way the story was told gave the impression that the acting as well as the voice and dialects were patched together for a pantomime rather than a drama.
There is no doubt that Lord Fellowes is a fine story teller and historian. Julian Fellowes would have found the speeches and debate at the London Shipping Law Centre Symposium dinner entitled, “From Titanic to Concordia: the Achilles Heels of Passenger ships” of interest. Rear Admiral John Lang and Dr Stephen Payne were the experts in Marine Accident Investigation who gave speeches about the safety on cruise ships. I liked John Lang’s speech and genial style. Stephen Payne, who is involved in the Concordia accident investigation, representing the owners, gave a speech which was dry, rather like a Tennyson poem in its rhythm conviction. The event focussed on what lessons the industry has learned, safety developments, and what is required further to be done.
Advances in engineering technology and materials have meant that cruise ships can now carry 4,000 passengers and more. From the speakers’ information, it emerged that the 55,000 passengers who travel on cruise ships every day, do so safely and efficiently only by the grace of God. The number of dead on the Concordia was comparatively low (30+) only because it ran aground near the shore and was not out at sea in deep water. If it had, many more of the 4252 on board would have drowned. The ship would have sunk and it would have been a disaster very similar to that of the Titanic. There wouldn’t have been enough time for everyone on board to get into a lifeboat. This is the Achilles heel of cruise ships. However, if you go on a liner carrying 500 passengers or less then you’d probably be alright. The QE2 was in this respect a lot safer that the new Queen Elizabeth. Would I be put off? Not from a cruise on one of the sailing ships. I’ve just looked out at the grey day in London and a short cruise around the Caribbean on a sailing ship, seems a good idea. It’s like getting on an aeroplane – you pays yer money and yer takes the risk. Much like the characters in Julian Fellowes’ Titanic.