Get ready for interest in the RMS Titanic to grip the world again early next spring.
The 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking, one of the worst peactime maritime disasters in history, will strike on April 15 at 2:20 a.m. To mark the occasion, James Cameron is reportedly joining some deep-pocketed tourists in visiting the site of the wreck some 2.5 miles under the Atlantic. The company, Deep Ocean Expeditions, which is organizing the five dives, is selling seats for a whopping $60,000 per person. They are the only tour company granted permission to visit the Titanic's resting site.
Richard Branson has announced that he's interested in the expedition— in particular going down in a submersible with both James Cameron and Kate Winslet aboard.
"It is something I am very keen to do," he told The Daily Mail. "I’m deadly serious about this and I would love to invite Kate to come with me. Wouldn’t it be something if the star of "Titanic" really got to go down to the real ship? I’m going to talk to her but I’m sure it’s an opportunity she will jump at."
Winslet, who is currently dating Branson's nephew, grew close to the eccentric businessman after an unfortunate fire engulfed his private Caribbean resort. The 36-year-old actress reportedly helped save Branson's 90-year-old mother before flames engulfed the home where she was staying.
"Richard and Kate would likely go on that first trip with James," a source told The Daily Mail. "Richard is talking to Kate about it. He also wants his kids to go on the expedition."
According to Rob McCallum of Deep Ocean Expeditions, more than 70 percent of their 2012 Titanic Centenary dives have been booked, adding that there's "an unprecedented amount of interest in the ship."
"The folks coming next year are very keen," he told the site. "Many of them had relatives on board the ship or some other family connection. We have been overwhelmed with the level of interest from all over the world."
So great is the buzz that the company has recently announced that it will be adding three additional expeditions in July to satiate demand. "We are delighted with the response," McCallum said in a release. "Fewer than 150 people have ever visited Titanic, so it is amazing that next year we are expecting 60 private adventurers for our 'Titanic Expedition 2012; Centenary Dive Series.' "
According to the company, the wreck of the Titanic is never touched on their dives. "We always have a moment of silence, say a prayer and toast those lost in the disaster," McCallum added.