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20 Totally Fascinating Titanic Facts

It's the most famous ship ever built, but do you know all these crazy facts about the Titanic?

Beano Team
Last Updated:ย  December 11th 2022

The Titanic is probably the most famous ship of all time, and it's most famous for its tragic sinking on its maiden voyage in 1912. There are a lot of strange and mysterious facts about the Titanic, though - probably more than you can imagine! Learn all about it here! Don't forget to check out some other awesome history facts - learn all about the Second World War, or the Victorians!

1. It was the ONLY way to travel (like, for real)

Back in the days before commercial airlines, you'd have to get on a boat if you wanted to visit America from the UK. It wasn't the same as today's cruise lines, which travel over the ocean just for fun - it was the only way to go, and it took about four days! Ocean liners took passengers overseas, and as time went by they became increasingly more luxurious for upper class passengers. The Titanic was one of these luxury ships, though it also had a lot of third-class passengers who didn't have a very fun journey. Most of the third-class passengers were emigrating to America to seek a better life for their families.

2. It cost a lot to build

The ship cost about $7.5 million to build, which is around $183.4 million in today's money, and also less than the budget for the movie Titanic!

3. It wasn't even at full capacity

There were 2,223 crew and passengers on the ship when it set off, but it could have held over 3,500 people. 1,517 people died when the ship sank.

4. It didn't have enough lifeboats

You'll probably be unsurprised to hear that the Titanic didn't have enough lifeboats for everyone on board, but it's kind of amazing exactly how short it was. The ship was supposed to have 64 lifeboats, but was only carrying 20. This is a big no-no for safety at sea.

5. It didn't take that long to sink

After hitting the iceberg the Titanic took only 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink. That's less than Avengers: Endgame (3 hours and 2 minutes) - and less than the movie Titanic (3 hours 14 minutes)!

6. Jack Dawson was a real person

...well, no, he wasn't. But a real man named J. Dawson did die in the tragedy. His grave in Nova Scotia, Canada, went mostly unnoticed until 1997 when Leonardo Di Caprio played Jack Dawson, and people have been leaving flowers at the grave ever since! But the grave is for a real man from Ireland whose name was actually Joseph, and who worked in the boiler room of the ship.

7. It's very deep down

The wreck of the Titanic sits at 12,600 feet underwater, about 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship broke in half when it sank and the two halves are about 2,000 feet apart.

8. There's more than one Titanic movie

The most famous Titanic movie is of course James Cameron's 1997 film, but it wasn't the first - there are actually more than fifteen films all about the disaster, including the 1958 docudrama A Night to Remember and Titanic, a 1943 Nazi propaganda film that blamed the British and Americans for the ship sinking. The first Titanic movie was a silent film that came out in 1912, only 29 days after the ship sank!

9. There was a mummy onboard???

According to legend, onboard the Titanic was the mummy of an Egyptian princess, being shipped to a museum in New York. The mummy had allegedly already caused a lot of bad luck in London - was she cursed? Was it her that brought the ship down? Well, probably no. There is a real "unlucky mummy" in the British museum - but not only was she never on board the Titanic, she isn't even a mummy, just a "mummy board" (the name for the painted lid inside the coffin). And the reason this story developed is because of...

10. A famous newspaper tycoon died on board the Titanic

W.T. Stead was a famous journalist in the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. He was also very interested in spiritualism, which was fashionable back then. He and a friend cooked up a story about the cursed Egyptian princess, claiming that everywhere she went brought destruction and sickness. Stead was on the Titanic, on his way to a conference with the president of the United States, when the ship went down. On the night she ship sank Stead told his fellow first-class passengers his spooky mummy story, and a survivor later remembered this. The stories became mixed up and the legend of the mummy aboard the ship was born!

11. The menus were very fancy

Guests could enjoy courses of rich meats, fresh vegetables, handmade pastries and ice cream, fine wines and beers, and plenty of clean water to drink. Remember this was before freezers were common, especially on boats, so this is pretty impressive. Lower class passengers had fewer options, but their food was still often nicer than a lot of poor people would have had at home on land.

12. You did not want to go into that water

When the ship sank the water was at a frosty -2 degrees celsius. The body can only survive in freezing water for about 45 minutes, so many people who didn't drown simply froze instead. If you're a fan of Saving Lives at Sea, you'll know that getting to people who've fallen overboard in time is still a big concern for rescue crews today.

13. One man had a very lucky escape - the rest of the ship, not so much

A man named David Blair was supposed to be the second officer on the Titanic, but at the last minute was reassigned to a different ship, which was very disappointing for him. When he got off the ship he realised he had accidentally taken a key with him. This was the key for the crow's nest locker, where the ship's binoculars were kept. It is thought that this lack of binoculars for the men in the crow's nest is why the iceberg wasn't spotted sooner.

14. The Titanic had sisters

That's right, she was a triplet! Her sister ships were the Olympic (1911) and the Britannic (1915). They were built as the most luxurious ships of the time, but they also had unlucky fates. The Britannic was destroyed by a mine in the First World War, and the Olympic, though never in an accident, was sold for scrap in 1935.

15. When we say luxurious, we mean it

If you've ever been on a cruise you might have been a bit spoiled by all the cool stuff you can do onboard. Back in 1912 though, these luxuries were brand new and incredible to experience for the passengers. The first-class facilities included a gym, a swimming pool, Turkish baths, a barber shop, squash courts, reading and writing rooms, luxurious cafes and restaurants, lounges, and white glove service from the ship's stewards. In contrast, passengers on the bottom deck apparently shared only two baths between all 700 of them! No waterslide though, so nothing on a modern cruise ship!

16. A band really did play as the ship sank

Famously in the film a string quartet plays as the ship sinks, to try and keep the passangers cheerful. This really did happen, according to eyewitnesses - and the last song they play in the film, a hymn called "Nearer, My God, To Thee," was apparently one of the songs played in real life.

17. There was a real love story on board

And it's just as weepy as the movie. Ida and Isidor Straus were among those drowned on the ship, despite being first class passengers. Isidor refused to get on a lifeboat when he heard there were still women and children on board, and Ida refused to leave without her husband. Sniff!

18. It was lost for a very long time

Despite the fact that the ship was international news when it sank, the wreck wasn't found until 1985! American and French researchers found it with the help of an underwater robot. It was quite well preserved due to how cold the water is in those parts.

19. James Cameron is the biggest Titanic Geek

If you think you're interested in the Titanic, you've got nothing on the Hollywood director! James Cameron is so interested in the wreck that not only did he make the film, he has also made 33 dives to the wreck in his submarine, more than any other individual!

20. It's no match for a modern cruise ship

The Titanic was one of the biggest ships of its time, but it's really not very big compared to most cruise ships today, which are usually 20% longer and twice as tall. The biggest cruise ship currently is the Wonder of the Seas, which is 35% longer and 127% wider, and can carry almost 10,000 passengers and crew. Another cruise ship, the Mardi Gras, even has a ROLLERCOASTER. Imagine the film Titanic with a rollercoaster!