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Thursday, August 8

A Titanic Enterprise

On Earth, over 450 years ago, the ocean-going ship, RMS Titanic, set sail from Southhampton, UK, on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. She was the largest ship in existence at the time, carrying 2,224 passengers bound for New York City, USA. The Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912, and after narrowly avoiding a collision with an iceberg on the 15th, pulled into the New York harbor on April 17th, safe and sound.

In the years that followed her maiden voyage, the RMS Titanic served as a hospital and troop ship for the Allies during World War I. It was refitted in 1918, and returned to service as a passenger vessel, crossing the Atlantic Ocean many times. In 1935, after dwindling passenger numbers, and twenty-three years of service, the Titanic was sold to the scrapyard, and its furnishings were auctioned off.

Four hundred and twenty-nine years later, replicas of some of those same furnishings aboard the Titanic have been rebuilt and installed aboard one of the largest ships of our day -- the Galaxy-class starship, USS Enterprise-D. A two-deck area of decks 9 and 10 currently features the meticulously recreated aft stairwell of the RMS Titanic. The entire area is fitted with real wood panels, beautifully-carved woodwork, authentic furniture, and holographic screens behind the windows, showing the rest of the visible ship as it looked during its maiden voyage in 1912.

While the stairwell is recreated as a labor of love, and a reflection of history, it also serves as a quiet lounge for those who wish to have a piece of Earth history, right here aboard the Enterprise.

This image (above) shows the main entrance to "A-Deck" of the Titanic stairwell lounge. The door in the background opens out to the corridor on deck 9 of the Enterprise. A similar door, on the other side of this room, also opens out onto deck 9. The views outside of these windows are holographic, showing the areas (and vintage activity) that would have been seen outside this room on the Titanic.

The wood paneling is real, the tiles on the floor are replicas from the Titanic, and the wood carvings (such as the one seen on the pillar in the foreground) were hand-carved by craftsmen, before being installed here aboard the Enterprise. Nothing in this room is replicated.

The lighting fixtures are fully functional, and turn on during night watch hours.

This photo shows a view from the upper "A-Deck" level of the staircase (deck 9), looking down (to deck 10). Notice the intricate metalwork, and the beautiful inlaid wood paneling. The glass dome above this staircase (seen in the first image of this post) is holographic at ceiling level, and adjusts to reflect the lighting as day turns into night.

This photo shows one of the two lounge areas on either side of the staircase on Titanic's "B-Deck" (deck 10 of the Enterprise). These furnishings are authentic to the real RMS Titanic, and the decorative plants are real. Like the level above, nothing here is replicated.

The areas showing the next level down in this staircase are holographic walls, as is the hallway leading into the rest of the ship (behind the red doors). The walls show a constant living depiction of Titanic life beyond this lounge, but they do not exist as functional access points to those areas. They are holographic walls, designed to make this lounge space appear larger than it really is.

This photo shows the foot of the aft staircase on "B-Deck" (deck 10). Here you can see the other similar lounge area on the other side of the Titanic stairwell. The drinking fountain, on the left, is fully functional, and does provide fresh water. Modern beverage dispensers are also hidden behind wall paneling in both lounge areas, and provide the same assortment of beverages found in any other beverage dispenser aboard the Enterprise.

Vintage doors, behind the camera (behind me when I was taking these photos), and not seen in any of these images, lead out onto deck 10 of the Enterprise, not far from the Enterprise Promenade (the mall that encircles deck 10). Most crew access the lounge via these doors.

Enterprise crew are welcome to spend time in these lounge areas (or the seating areas above on "A-Deck" / deck 9) at any time of the day or night. All visitors are, however, requested to honor the quiet theme of this lounge, and respect the space for what it is. Dedicated Enterprise civilian staff maintain the Titanic Lounge, and some historical impersonation events are scheduled. We may even see additional events in the future, if this historical lounge proves popular.

And finally, this is a view of the aft Titanic staircase, looking up. It is also a great close-up of the carved cherub standing on the bottom end of the central railing. The cherub light is fully-functional, and lights the way to all ascending this stunningly recreated staircase.

The USS Enterprise-D is a fascinating starship. This Titanic Lounge makes it even moreso. If you get the chance, spend some time in the Titanic Lounge, take in the (recreated) history around you, and ponder the beauty that was once part of one of humanity's earlier grand vessels. We've come a long way since then.... from the sea, to the stars!

-Lieutenant Sam Archer