Hugh Pickens writes "USA Today reports that Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has unveiled plans for construction of Titanic II, a cruise ship designed as a 'full-scale re-creation' of the Titanic, adding that the ship will be built in China and begin carrying passengers in 2016. The Titanic II will be built 883 feet long – 3 inches longer than the original Titanic – and weigh 55,800 gross tons, according to Palmer, who stopped short of calling the vessel unsinkable. It will carry a maximum of 2,435 passengers and 900 crew members, and include a gymnasium, Turkish baths, a squash court, a swimming pool, a theater and a casino. Like the original ship, there will no TVs aboard and probably no Internet service, Palmer says. Passengers will be able to dress in 1912-style clothing, giving them an opportunity to step back in time, or pretend they are Leo DiCaprio or Kate Winslet, who starred in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster movie. But industry insiders are skeptical about the commercial viability of the ship. 'Titanic II is a curiosity and may have a draw as a floating hotel, but the idea of spending close to a week at sea on a vessel built around such a thin premise is seen as a stretch, at least by many within the industry,' says Michael Driscoll, editor of industry newsletter Cruise Week. Driscoll adds that he is skeptical about the future of Titanic II in the aftermath of the Carnival Triumph fire and last year's shipwreck of the Costa Concordia off the coast of Tuscany. Paul Kurzman, whose great-grandparents, Isidor and Ida Straus, died on the Titanic, says he has 'no problem' with the construction of Titanic II. 'I don't think they would have had any problem whatsoever, as long as the Titanic II steers clear of icebergs.'"
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