"" Writer's Wanderings: Titanic Sails Calm Waters

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Titanic Sails Calm Waters

Reports indicate that the Titanic enjoyed smooth sailing one hundred years ago today. If you were a first class passenger, this would have been a great day to get out and enjoy shuffleboard, ring tennis or quoits. Most of us know what shuffleboard is. It is played with a long handled cue stick with a rounded half-moon shape on the end that is used to push a heavy puck down a long narrow court to rest with in a scoring area at the other end. Deck shuffleboard is still played today on cruise ships.

Ring tennis, also known as quoits, is a game played with rings made of rubber, rope, or metal. They are tossed with the obect of landing around a spike or configuration of spikes to earn points. The playing area depended upon the size of the ship and the area of the deck alloted for play.

Whatever the class of passenger, you were pretty much on your own for entertainment. There were no scheduled production shows or pool games. I'm guessing the cruise director position hadn't come into vogue yet.

As with ships today, there was still the promenade area to get a leisurely walk. Although today you will find as many joggers as you will walkers making the rounds. And today's ships will not have areas forbidden to cross into because you are the wrong class--just keep out of the crew areas.

Of course deck chairs were available for lounging with a good book that could be found in the lending library aboard. The books in the days of the Titanic would all have been paper however as opposed to the many e-readers seen today.

Inside, there would be card games and board games, music recitals, ballroom dancing in the evening, etc., and while there was no designated casino with slot machines, there would have been gamblers playing for cash. First classers could also enjoy a swimming pool, a workout in the gym, play on the squash court or enjoy ala carte dining in a specialty Italian restaurant.

Second class passengers aboard the Titanic would have received accommodations equal to that of first class passengers on other liners of the time. Their activities were a bit more limited but they still had a library, a smoking room, a large dining hall and I'm sure areas where many gathered for reading, game playing and gambling as well.

Third class passengers who made up almost half of the combined total of first and second class had sparser accomodations and often shared their room with four to ten others. Still, compared to other ships, the Titanic offered much nicer rooms. There was also a smoking room for third class and a general room where they could gather for whatever entertainment they cooked up on their own.

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