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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Exactly 100 years since the world's most famous maritime disaster, a cruise ship is to recreate the fateful voyage of the Titanic, complete with dinners and dancing from the era.
The Titanic Memorial Cruise will depart from Southampton, England, on April 8, 2012 and head for the exact spot where the ship sank on April 12, 1912 between 11.40 p.m. and 2.20 a.m. the next day.
The cruise, organized by UK-based Miles Morgan Travel, has already sold half of the 710 cabins which range in price from 2,595 pounds ($4,118) to 7,995 pounds.
Managing Director Miles Morgan said a lot of the places have been booked by relatives of those who died in the Titanic disaster.
"I've had several people in tears on the phone. I was reading the itinerary to one woman and she literally broke down," Morgan told Reuters.
Others who have booked cabins are Titanic aficionados.
"There is a whole bunch of people who are Titanic nuts. They collect all the memorabilia -- I even had one person who has a whole room in their house dedicated to the Titanic," Morgan said.
After leaving Southampton, the cruise on the Fred Olsen Cruise Lines ship "Balmoral," will make a stop at Cobh in Ireland, which was the Titanic's last port of call.
Replica menus of food on the 1912 voyage will be served and there will be a fancy dress dinner and numerous lectures on the history of the famous ship.
A memorial service will be held at the spot where the passenger steamship hit an iceberg and some 1,500 lost their lives. US Senate figures say 1,517 people of the more than 2,000 on board were killed, but exact numbers have never been agreed.
Morgan said the anniversary voyage is a commemoration not a ghoulish recreation of the original journey.
"It's a memorial not a celebration. It is to remember the people who travelled. For a lot of people that is the focus," he said.
"We have come in for a little bit of criticism, but it doesn't bother me when I hear from people who've booked who want to do something to honor their relatives," he added.
The cruise will go on to make a stop at Halifax, Canada to visit the cemetery where many of the victims are buried.
On April 19th, the ship will reach its final port in New York, where the Titanic was headed.
Editing by Steve Addison