RMS Titanic, when built, was the largest cruise line in the world, unmatched in opulence and luxury. The ship boasted every entertainment imaginable, including a squash court, a swimming pool, a gymn, a Turkish bath and a magnificent library. The furnishing was very stylish, and the dining room walls were fitted with extensive oak wood panelling. The ship was constructed in the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, and after a much-publicised launch, underwent sea trials as it steamed down to Southampton on the south coast of England. On the 10 April 1912, carrying a total of 2223 passengers and crew, the ship set sail on its maiden trip to New York. Four days into its voyage, steaming through a dark and cold Atlantic night, the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank two hours and forty minutes later, with the loss of 1517 lives.
How could such a terrible tragedy become the subject of everyday humour? Possibly to blame are the owner’s of the ship, the White Star Line. To quote their widely-read publicity brochure produced in 1910 for the sister ships Titanic and Olympic, ‘these two wonderful vessels are designed to be unsinkable’. Even during that fateful night in 1912, when the New York office of White Start Line was told that the Titanic was in difficulties, White Star’s Vice President, Philip Franklin said ‘We place absolute confidence in the Titanic. We believe the boat is unsinkable’.
So this hotch-potch of tragedy, misfortune, and irony give us an excuse to laugh away the capricious and fateful nature of our existence.
Now, down to sorting out the good jokes from the bad (and there certainly are a lot of bad). The following are the Editor’s favorites, thus apologies if your own picks are not present.
* What was the last thing anyone said on the Titanic? ‘I know I ordered ice but this is ridiculous!’
* What sort of cake do they have for desert on the Titanic? Upside-down cake!
* Which ship can never get hit by an iceberg? FriendSHIP!!
* What goes down well with ice? The Titanic!
* What do you get if you cross the Atlantic Ocean with the Titanic? About halfway!
* The chief designer of the Titanic had a lisp. That’s unthinkable!
* On the Titanic the captain calls a meeting of his officers:
‘I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want to hear first?’
‘The good news’, replies an officer.
‘We’ll get eleven Oscars.’
* Titanic was about to sink. People on the ship were shouting, crying, running and praying. A passenger went up to the captain to ask him a question.
Passenger: How far are we from land?
Captain: Two miles…
Passenger: Only two miles, then why are these fools making so much noise. I can swim that far easily.
Passenger: In which direction should I swim?
* So there were some good things that came out of the Titanic sinking:
According to the news, the last survivor was fond of saying: ‘If it hadn’t been for the ship going down, I’d be an American’.
*Sign seen in an office: The difference between this place and the Titanic is…. they had a band!
*Management consultant to crewmember –
Consultant: To confirm, are we short of lifebelts or lifeboats?
Crewmember: Both, Sir.
Consultant. Excellent, we’ve made savings across the board.
*Heard when the ship went down…
So this isn’t New York?
It’s still better than Carnival!
So has the all-night buffet been canceled?
How big a carry on can I take on the lifeboat?
Do you mind if I hold your baby for a minute?
This is definitely the last time I book a cheap repositioning cruise!
Ah, so this is what they mean by ‘cruise to nowhere’.
We can’t afford to stop here long. I’ve got a plane to catch in New York.
Nobody reads my tweets, but if we get one of the celebrities on board to twitter this, it’ll hit the news!
Ooh my wife’s fallen overboard. Hold the lifeboat. I’ve got to update my Facebook status.
With just one or two of these jokes, you would be well armed for some light humour after dinner on your cruise ship. But imagine you were one of the passengers on MS Explorer, a cruise ship which sank off Antartica in 2007. All 154 passengers and crew spent many hours floating on life rafts in icy seas, before being picked up by MS Nordnorge, a Norwegian cruise ship fortuitously cruising in the vicinity. The shipwrecked passengers and crew kept up their spirits by telling Titanic jokes to one another. So, just in case you were ever to fall into this miserable predicament, it might be wise to remember more than just one or two!