The group, whose membership consisted of survivors and relatives of the victims of the most famous ocean liner disaster in history, has found the project upsetting and in “bad taste.” Once dubbed as the unsinkable, the ill-fated ship sank after it hit an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York on April 15 1912.
The tragedy claimed the lives of 1,503 people and left 705 survivors.
A proposed feature of the attraction, involving a simulated iceberg crash experience for guests, will no longer be pursued, Daily Mail reports (via BBC).
According to Bruce Beverage, who is part of the designing firm tasked to build the theme park, the supposed highlight of a “6D holiday experience” has been scrapped because he declined to do it. “When they hired me I said, ‘No, it would be in poor taste,'” he said.
The replica is intended to be the main attraction of the theme park which is set to open in Sichuan province in China. It began construction in May 2014 and is expected to be operational by early 2019.
A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.
Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.
Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.
Hollywood production designer and producer Curtis Schnell, also part of the designing team, said that they are treating its source material in a “very respectful way.”
“We’re trying to get as close as we can,” Schnell said. “We are not building every room in the ship, by any means, but the shell of the ship and the exteriors will be quite accurate, there will be interior rooms to be able to tour and see from the standpoint of historical accuracy.”
The company’s chief executive, Shaojun Su, stated at a recent British Titanic Society convention that the movie Titanic based on the 1912 tragedy had “many Chinese fans.”
He explained through an interpreter that the replica would “respect history and the universal love” of the victims. The convention, which was held between Friday and Sunday in Southampton in England, was attended by members of the British Titanic Society and other Titanic enthusiasts.
“They are using the Titanic because of the tragedy – it’s upsetting,” Jean Legg, daughter of a steward who died on the ship was quoted as saying.
“My dad lived to be nearly 90 and the sights and sounds of people fighting for their lives stayed with him to the end of his days.
“If he knew this was being replicated, I think he’d be turning in his grave.
“I find it very upsetting, I feel they could have replicated another liner – it’s in poor taste.”
“It doesn’t suit the situation,” said Robert Burr, grandson of another steward said in agreement.
The society’s president, Commodore Ron Warwick, however, pointed out that the replica would somehow “perpetuate the memory of those who lost their lives”.
The attraction will replicate the activities inside the 1912 version including ballroom dancing, pool parties, and Las Vegas style entertainment to make the experience authentic. An overnight stay in a cabin on board the ship will cost guests around 3,000 yuan ($435), while premium rooms will be priced at 100,000 yuan ($14,500).