The evening of April 13th we had a formal Titanic Dinner. Everyone was dressed in their finest attire. Our table toasted the Captain and the evening began with its finest entrees thus far. The seven course menu had selections ranging from Quail Eggs in Aspic with Caviar, Cream of Barley Soup, Asparagus Salad, Punch Romaine, Haddock, Duckling Filet, Pork Loin or Vegetable Marrow Farci and a choice of three different desserts with the ending of assorted fresh fruits and selection of cheese. And of course wine parings throughout. I did reflect on the fabulous Titanic Dinners the volunteers prepare at The Molly Brown House Museum. I know the volunteers work very hard to entertain guests at Margaret’s house but I can only imagine the hard work and coordination to serve such a fine dinner to so many passengers. Many of the menu selections are the same The Molly Brown House Museum offers for their dinners. It was very nice to be able to experience such a grand dinner aboard the cruise ship. On this evening, we were honored to have the Chief Officer at our table for our dining. He reassured the table guests continued smooth sailing to the wreckage site.
April 14, 1912 Margaret’s last evening aboard Titanic (extracted from Museum documents)
In Margaret’s account of that very cold evening there were few who shed their warm clothing for dinner gala dress. However, many of the brides on board, who on various occasions appeared in a different Paris creation each night could not be persuaded to change. Margaret decided to retire early that evening after an evening snack at the Parisian Café.
Margaret was anxious to finish a book as she was stretched on the brass bed which had a side lamp. She gave little thought to the crash that struck at her window overhead which threw her to the floor. She picked herself up and proceeded to see what the steamer had struck. On emerging from her stateroom, she found many men in the gangway in their pajamas, and women were standing in the corridors dressed in their kimonos. Everyone was quietly listening, thinking nothing serious had occurred. There appeared to be no further disturbance, so she returned to her book.
She was then told to put on her life-jacket. She immediately reached for it, gathering up furs, and placing a silk capote over her head. She proceeded to the stairs to the A deck, and there placed on her life jacket. She was then told to go up on the storm deck. On reaching the storm deck she found a number of men trying to unravel the tackle of the boats to let them down. She was then approached by an officer and told to descend to the deck below. She found the lifeboats were being lowered from the falls and were at the time flush with the deck. She was walking away quickly to see what was being done with the boats on the other side, not fearing any immediate danger, thinking if the worse should happen, she could swim out. Suddenly she saw a shadow, and a few seconds later, she was taken hold of, and dropped fully four feet into the lowering life-boat. When she got in she saw only one man, who was in charge of the boat. She was now in Lifeboat #6. The Titanic had hit an iceberg.
Continuing to the Memorial Site
We are almost to the memorial site. The cruise ship has informed us that because this is a UNESCO historic gravesite, we are not allowed to throw any personal objects into the water at or near the wreck. The concentration of vessel traffic in the area during the R.M.S. Titanic commemorations will further increase the potential for damage and contamination of the wreck site and adverse impacts to the surrounding marine environment. In order to honor the memorial of R.M.S Titanic the cruise line will be laying three commemorative wreaths on behalf of all of us on board during the services. These are fully biodegradable and sanctioned by the International Maritime Organization.
This evening was very different from the others we have spent on the ship. The first thing we noticed was the ocean quieted down. It seemed almost glassy, much like described during the original Titanic voyage.
In the lounge area, it seemed quieter too. We noticed a change in the mood and conversations of the passengers. The conversations were focused on the memorial plans for the evening. They were not telling very many Titanic stories, but more recounting what and how that night must have been. Many were dressed in period clothing. As they walked through the lounge area on their evening walk before dinner, they could have been the passengers of 100 years ago. Similarly, 100 years ago passengers were planning their evening walk prior to dinner and discussing the events of the day and plans for tomorrow with another day of sailing on Titanic. Tonight all of our thoughts are on what the ship’s plans will be for the memorial. There are a total of 27 countries represented here on our cruise. Many of those are gathering on their own to have their special remembrance prior to our arrival at the site.
Our captain sounded the ship’s whistle at 11:40 pm and asked all to observe 2 minutes of silence to remember the fateful time of hitting the iceberg 100 years ago. This marked the beginning of the ceremony to remember the lives lost 100 years ago. This was a very quiet, moving moment setting the stage that we have anticipated during the whole voyage.