For the first 70 years after the tragic sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912, the world could only wonder about the remains of our most famous maritime disaster, its wreck site a mystery of the deeps. The wondering came to an end in 1985 after naval intelligence officer and ocean explorer Robert Ballard fulfilled his lifelong dream of discovering the famed wreck site during an expedition in the North Atlantic.
Now, 33 years later, OceanGate Expeditions is giving deep-pocketed enthusiasts and tourists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit the wreck of the once mighty ship. Though tours were initially set to begin in May 2018, they have been delayed another year due to testing delays caused by bad weather and complicated electronics, but the team is confident dives will begin in 2019.
For Titanic enthusiasts who wish to be one of the few to experience the ship in all its wrecked glory, you’ll need to pony up $105,129. However, once you account for inflation and all that fiscal jazz, but travel affiliate Blue Marble Private says the price of admission is today’s equivalent of the $4,350 passengers paid in 1912 to book a first-class ticket on the Titanic.
Sure, you won’t be boarding the ship to sail away into the sunset, but the journey is priceless for those who have always relished the thought of one day exploring the shipwreck.
Only nine passengers will be allowed on each dive to the wreck aboard the submarine appropriately dubbed Titan. And this isn’t the kind of tour where you’re purely spectating with a bag of popcorn and jumbo soda.
With the six-week expedition planning to depart from St. John’s, Newfoundland in late June 2019, clients will be trained to become “mission specialists” in order to help the Titanic diving expedition crew on their descent. Voyagers will experience three potential days of hard-nosed diving with a goal to capture the first-ever 4K images and laser scan of the wreck site in an effort to create a 3D photorealistic model. The dives will last up to three hours each, during which the time will be filled with exploring the remains of the 269-meter-long ship, including the deck, the bow, and the cavern where the famous grand staircase once sat.
Although the expeditions haven’t begun, we suggest you act fast. Despite the steep price tag, the first voyage is already full, and a 2016 study projects that extremophile bacteria will devour what is left of the wreckage within the next 15 years. We’re really not sure how many opportunities you’ll get to embark on this journey.
Spots can be applied for through OceanGate or booked through an affiliate like Blue Marble Private. Los Angeles-based The Bluefish is also taking reservations for diving tours they hope to have up and running sometime in 2019-2020.
If you prefer to explore shipwrecks on a more up-close-and-personal basis, check out the best shipwrecks you can scuba dive.
Article originally published June 19, 2018. Last updated June 26, 2018.