After a visit to Titanic Belfast, here are some incredible facts about the Titanic you never knew.
The Titanic Belfast is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience and must-see attraction in Northern Ireland.
Titanic Belfast is located within the heart of the Titanic Quarter, just a short walk from Belfast’s City Centre and central attractions like Belfast City Hall.
We recently visited Titanic Belfast and took a self-guided tour through the Visitor Centre.
We were astounded by the number of amazing rooms this building packs in. You really would not know it by looking from the outside. It is a fantastic attraction and definitely one of the best museums in Ireland!
On our visit, we learned a number of interesting things about the Titanic. Here are ten crazy facts about the Titanic you never knew.
10. Titanic was the largest moving object ever built – but it would be dwarfed by today’s cruise liners
When the Titanic entered service in 1912, it was the largest passenger ship afloat. At 882 ft 9 in (269.1 m) long and 141 ft (53.3 m) high (waterline to the top of the funnels), she must have seemed like a floating city.
The New York Tribune ran a headline on Sunday, 27 November 1910, asking the question, “How can we dock this marine monster when she reaches the port of New York?”
It showed an illustration of Titanic with the famous Halve Maen “Half Moon”, the Dutch ship that sailed into New York Harbor in 1609, wholly contained within Titanic’s hull.
Could people in the Edwardian era imagine that even Titanic, the largest liner of their time, would be dwarfed by passenger cruise ships of the future?
Today’s largest liners – the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and sister ship Allure of the Seas are both 1187 ft (362 m) in length and reach 213 ft (65 m) above the waterline.
9. One of Titanic’s funnels was fake – just for aesthetics
Only three of Titanic’s four funnels were functional – the fourth was a dummy installed because it made the ship look more beautiful and was made into a ventilation shaft for the kitchen.
The first three smokestacks were actually connected to the furnaces that produced the smoke, but the fourth one was not.
The fourth stack functioned mainly as an air vent and added some symmetry to the ship’s overall look. One of the most interesting facts about the Titanic!
Imagine you are the Titanic’s designer. Which looks better – 3 or 4 funnels?
8. The Titanic’s interior was based on the Ritz Hotel – a luxurious experience
The interior of the Titanic was modelled after the Ritz Hotel, with first-class cabins and the first-class lounge finished in the Empire style.
Aiming to convey the aura of a floating hotel, it was intended for first-class passengers to forget they were on board a ship and feel as though they were in a hall of a great house on the shore.
Take a “fly through” tour of Titanic’s opulent First Class smoking room.
7. The Titanic Belfast has the same capacity as the Titanic – a cleverly designed museum
One of the facts about the Titanic is that, believe it or not, the Titanic Belfast can hold over 3,547 visitors at any one time. This number is the same number as the capacity of Titanic!
6. Did a novel predict the Titanic sinking 14 years previously? – scarily accurate
In 1898 (14 years before the Titanic sank), American author Morgan Robertson wrote a novella titled The Wreck of the Titan.
The book was about a fictional ocean liner that sinks due to a collision with an iceberg. In the book, the ship is described as being “unsinkable” and doesn’t have enough lifeboats or life jackets and life vests for everyone on board.
5. An earlier ship was closer and could have saved more people – missed signals
When the Titanic began sending out distress signals, the Californian, rather than the Carpathia, was the closest ship. However, the Californian did not respond until it was much too late to help.
At 12:45 am on 15 April 1912, crew members on the Californian saw mysterious lights in the sky. These were the distress flares sent up from the Titanic, and they immediately woke up their captain to tell him. Unfortunately, the captain issued no orders.
Since the ship’s wireless operator had already gone to bed as well, the Californian was unaware of any distress signals from the Titanic until the morning. By then, an earlier ship, the Carpathia, had already picked up all of the survivors.
The United States Senate inquiry and British Wreck Commissioner’s inquiry into the sinking both concluded that the Californian could have saved many or all of the lives that were lost had a prompt response been mounted to the Titanic’s distress rockets.
The U.S. Senate inquiry was particularly critical of the vessel’s Captain, Stanley Lord, calling his inaction during the disaster “reprehensible”.
4. No-one knows all who died on the Titanic – many forgotten passengers
One of the facts about the Titanic is that many of the ship’s passengers are sadly unknown.
Although the official number of the dead on the White Star Liner was 1,503 (of the 2,208 on board, there were 705 survivors), over one hundred unidentified bodies were buried in Fairview Lawn Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Many people on board travelled under false names, and from so many different places, it proved impossible to identify even the recovered bodies.
Sidney Leslie Goodwin, a 19-month-old boy buried under the marker “unknown child” was identified in 2008 after extensive DNA tests and a worldwide genealogical search.
3. A drunk guy was one of the only survivors! – the alcohol kept him warm
Charles Joughin was the chief baker on the ship. He survived the sinking in the most incredible fashion.
After the luxury liner struck the iceberg and began sinking, everyone was panicking. While this was happening, Joughin was busy drinking all the whiskey he could find from the ship’s liqueur storage to prepare himself for the icy water.
After he had enough drink, Joughin began tossing chairs overboard to be used as flotation devices.
As the ship went down, he said he “rode it down as if it were an elevator.” He then spent several hours in the freezing cold water and lived to tell the tale, becoming perhaps the most famous Titanic survivor. What a legend!
2. The famous violin played onboard the Titanic was recovered from the sea – a historical artefact
The violin played by Wallace Hartley was thought to have been lost in the sinking, but in 2006, a woman found it in her attic.
After seven years of testing, researchers determined that it was, in fact, the actual violin upon which Hartley famously played “Nearer, My God, to Thee” as the Titanic sank.
Sadly, the violin is not in the Titanic Experience in Belfast but belongs to a private owner. The violin was sold in 2013 for £900,000 in just 10 minutes at auction in Wiltshire.
It was played by bandleader Wallace Hartley, who died along with 1,517 passengers and crew on board as the ship went down. It had a guide price of £300,000.
The violin was made world-famous by this scene in the movie:
1. You can have a pint in the room where the Titanic was drawn up – step into history
One of the facts about the Titanic is that, today, you can have a drink in the historic drawing rooms.
After our tour at Titanic Belfast, we went next door to the Titanic Hotel Belfast, which is located in the former headquarters of Harland & Wolff, builders of the Titanic.
In this hotel is Drawing Office Two, a bar area with a spectacular three-storey high barrel-vaulted ceiling, which is now the vibrant heart of the hotel.
You can enjoy a drink and food in this breathtaking room, which is where many of the world’s most famous ocean liners, including the RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic, were painstakingly designed.
On top of that, you can actually stay here overnight as a guest in the hotel. Hopefully, someday we will be lucky enough to stay and tell you all about it… we’ve added it to our Irish bucket list!
About the Titanic Belfast – an immersive visitor experience centred around the White Star Liner
Another interesting fact about Northern Ireland‘s Titanic Belfast is that it’s the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, and is located on the spot where the famous ship was designed and launched.
It is an iconic six-floor building featuring nine interpretive and interactive galleries that explore the sights, sounds, smells, and stories of the opulent ship.
Visitors will also get an insight into the city, as well as the people who made her. It is located beside the Titanic Slipways, the Harland and Wolff Drawing Offices, and Hamilton Graving Dock – the very place where Titanic was designed, built and launched in 1912.
In 2016, it was voted the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, beating off stiff competition from Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, the Las Vegas Strip in the U.S.A, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin at the World Travel Awards.
Described by the Guardian as “an inspiring testament to the Titanic and the city that built it”, the critically-acclaimed Titanic Experience is a must-see for visitors in 2018 and beyond.
Opening hours – when to visit
Titanic Belfast is open daily all year round, excluding 24 to 26 December.
Seasonal opening hours:
January to March: 10 am to 5 pm
April to May: 9 am to 6 pm
June to July: 9 am to 7 pm
August: 9 am to 8 pm
September: 9 am to 6 pm
October to December: 10 am to 5 pm
*Please note, last admission is 1 hour 45 minutes before closing time (excluding late saver ticket).
Buying tickets – how to get tickets
You can purchase tickets for Titanic Belfast on the day of your tour of the museum.
Tickets for Titanic Belfast are based on timed ticketing, with slots available every 15 minutes throughout opening times.
Adult: £18.50 (including entrance to Nomadic)
Child (5 to 16): £8.00
*Please note children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult (18+)
Child (under 5): Free
Family Pack (2 adults, 2 children): £45.00
Senior (60+): £15.00 (Monday to Friday)
Student/Unemployed: £15.00 (Monday to Friday)
Essential Carer: Free
SS Nomadic tickets are valid for 24 hours from purchase.
Other notable facts about the Titanic
Above, we’ve listed some of the most fascinating facts about the Titanic. Still, as you can imagine, there are plenty more fascinating things to know about the famous White Star Liner, which was the biggest ship of its time.
You are probably aware that the Titanic was a luxurious ship that made full use of the modern technology available at the time. What you may not know, however, is that there was even a swimming pool and barber shop on board!
As shown in James Cameron’s movie, the Titanic’s captain Edward J. Smith actually did go down with the ship. As did John Jacob Astor IV, one of the most prominent first-class passengers and the richest man on the ship.
The ship’s lookouts Frederick Fleet and Reginald Lee actually survived the disaster. However, Lee died just over one year later due to pneumonia complications.
What many may not be aware of is that Fleet and Lee didn’t have access to binoculars, which meant they weren’t able to see the iceberg in time to prevent the Titanic disaster on that fateful night.
FAQs about the Titanic
How many died on the Titanic?
1,517 lives were lost with the sinking of the Titanic.
Did anyone in the water survive Titanic?
The figures aren’t clear on how many people were rescued from the water, but suggestions range between 40 and 80.