Video: /Film Visits Titanic Belfast, The King Of The World Of Titanic Attractions

In 1985, an expedition discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic off the coast of Newfoundland. In the years that followed, the world renewed its obsession with the story of the doomed ocean liner. Sure, James Cameron's Oscar-winning blockbuster had a lot to do with that, but Titanic Fever went far beyond the silver screen: I remember playing computer games on my family's PC in which I walked around the deck of the ship, ducking into the gym or exploring corridors that led to fancy dining halls. The drastic juxtaposition between the ship's lavish opulence and the tragic horrors that befell its passengers is still enough to capture the imagination.

On a recent trip to Northern Ireland, /Film visited Titanic Belfast, the world's largest Titanic-related attraction. Shaped like a star as a shout-out to shipping company White Star Line, the building houses a massive, multi-story museum with interactive galleries, models, recreations of cabins, and a virtual tour of the ship's decks. I brought some camera equipment along and made a video featuring some highlights of the experience, and you can watch our Titanic Belfast video below.

Biggest Downside

The most disappointing aspect of the experience is that Titanic Belfast doesn't currently house any actual artifacts from the ship. Previously, artifacts could be seen in exhibitions in places like Orlando and Las Vegas, but the company responsible for those exhibitions recently filed for bankruptcy, and the UK is now attempting to gather all of the artifacts under one roof. National Geographic says that if their effort is successful, a majority of the artifacts will be displayed at Titanic Belfast, but we'll have to wait for the result of that court case to find out if that's actually going to happen. Titanic Belfast's website currently says they don't feature any artifacts for ethical reasons, although they may consider changing their position "if an opportunity arose to further preserve or safeguard" the artifacts.

Biggest Upside

So if Titanic Belfast doesn't have any artifacts from the ship, what makes it special? Those galleries and exhibits are cool, but they could probably be housed in any huge building. For me, the aspect that gives this spot its claim to fame are the slipways outside, where Titanic was built and first launched into the water. Seeing photos and models is fine, but standing inside and looking out over the exact spot where the ship was constructed, imagining the 100,000 people who came out to watch its first launch...that's what made it worth it. You can't get that anywhere else. On the ground of the slipways outside, there's a life size plan of Titanic's Promenade Deck and benches positioned where they would have been placed on board the ship. It's a nice touch.

When you're finished at the museum, you can also purchase a separate ticket to walk around inside the restored SS Nomadic, the world's last remaining White Star Line ship which is docked just a few steps away. We didn't have time to check that out in person, but if the Titanic Belfast experience isn't quite hands-on enough for you, this might be a nice way to wrap up your visit.