Monday, April 16, 2012

Titanic tribute ship shows off its top-notch third class treatment

RMS Times

While first class passengers aboard the MS Balmoral, enjoyed caviar and five course meals similar to the ones served during the fatal Titanic’s maiden and only voyage, third class passengers had their own equally worthy meals for peons, kidney pie and fricassee rabbit.
The MS Balmoral sailed from Liverpool on April 12, tracking the Titanic exact route as a memorial for the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking which killed between 1,490 and 1,635 people. 
"What better way to commemorate the anniversary of a ship who yields about a 32 percent survival rating than to track its footsteps?" Captain John Fry asked. "This time though, we're planning on making it all the way to New York and if not we have enough life boats for at the very least the first and half of the second class passengers."
The Balmoral went the extra mile by separating their passengers into first, second and third class living quarters and also requiring all third class passengers to go through a health inspection before boarding the vessel.
"We don't want a lice infestation leaking into the second or first class cabins," Fry said. 
The third class passengers received moderately good care which is more than most immigrants and the poor are use to.
“I can’t believe they actually fed us,” Penelope Kidder, a third class passenger said. “That was a really nice surprise.”
The third class passengers said the facilities were amazing considering they were given beds and did not have to sleep on the floor.
The rooms also featured electric lighting and a water basin for washing instead of a small bucket filled with cold water.
“I could not believe as a third class passenger, I was given a room and not just locked down in steerage without light,” Kidder said. “It’s a real honor to be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking in such style.”
The first and second class passengers were just glad they were not forced to mingle with the dirty immigrants.
“It’s like they’re not even on the ship,” Renee Fielder, a first class passenger said. “It’s also a comfort to know someone is keeping the rats company and away from the first class cabins.”
Third class passengers said the rats were high quality vermin and not carriers of cholera or eosinophilic meningitis.
There were however some reports of third class passengers catching typhus but ship medics said it is unclear if the small outbreak was from the rodents or from the passengers' general grubbiness.
“It’s hard to tell where the typhus came from. You could say it was from the rats but in the end who is dirtier the third class or the rats?” Gregory June, the head doctor on Balmoral asked. “It’s a tough call.”
Even the Balmoral’s sick passengers still seem to be pleased with the service of the ship.
“I can’t believe I actually got seen by a doctor,” Selma McDerman said. “To top it off the third class’ medical office only had a few blood stains on the mattresses which I was told were old as they were bought used.”
Many third passengers also enjoyed the gates where they could see the halls leading to the nicer first and second class areas.
“Even if I couldn't reach them I could at least see something. Other ships would just have locked doors,” Kidder said.
Third class passengers even had outdoor privileges on the same deck where the first and second class dogs were aloud to wander.
All third class passengers sailed in the styles of 1912 with women in plain and homely dresses and men in their stained long johns and khaki colored paints held on by suspenders.
“I thought some third class passengers might have had a suit even if it was older and worn but after watching James Cameron’s Titanic, it was clear to me there was only one way a third class man dressed,” George Seaman said.
When it came time to commemorate the Titanic’s sinking at around 2:20 a.m. on April 15 all the first and second class passengers were called on deck for a moment of silence as they dropped several flower-filled wreathes into the waters. The third class passengers were told they would have their chance after the first and second class were taken care of.
“When we finally got up to deck, it was about an hour later and we dropped bread crumbs into the water,” Kidder said. “Also we didn’t get exactly a moment of silence as the first class passengers were drinking and partying in the ballroom but it was close enough.”
All third class passengers said they felt they were treated above normal.
“I could not have asked for better treatment as a third class passenger,” Kidder said. “The Balmoral made me feel as if there was a lower fourth class hidden somewhere beneath the ship.”