Grand Staircase

THE DESERT REVIEW'S Noel Bravo stands on the replicated first-class grand staircase inside Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.

Part One of a three part trip to see the Titanic Exhibit

The desert of Las Vegas, Nevada — the last place you would think of when it comes to the most famous shipwreck of all time: the "Titanic." Well, if you happen to be in the city for whatever reason, vacation, gambling, or wedding, there is a place you want to visit in your spare time. "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" is located inside the Luxor Hotel & Casino.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Las Vegas

TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITION in Las Vegas at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.

This attraction is spectacular as you come face-to-face with history up close and personal; hundreds of relics were recovered from the ocean floor where the great ship rests today. I have been to the exhibit twice now. My first trip was in the summer of 2011, the second time was just recently.

But first, a little history lesson. In 1912, the "RMS Titanic" was the largest man-made moving object ever made and a symbol of technological advancement during the Edwardian Era. With her state-of-the-art safety features, such as her sixteen watertight compartments, the Titanic was thought to be “unsinkable.” On her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City, she carried some of the wealthiest and most famous people of the day such as John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, Ida and Isidor Straus, and Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff Gordon. Also traveling on board were hundreds of immigrants filled with hopes and dreams of success and fresh new beginnings in the New World.

Just before midnight, on April 14, the mighty ship struck an iceberg in the middle of the freezing North Atlantic and was mortally wounded. There weren't enough lifeboats for everybody on board, and over two-thirds of her 2,200 passengers were doomed. Nearly three hours after the collision, the largest ship in the world was gone. More than 1,500 lives were lost and only 700 fortunate souls survived. Seventy-three years passed before the discovery of the shipwreck in 1985, and since then, the story of the Titanic continues to fascinate thousands.

And now, my recent trip. My family and I traveled to Las Vegas, our first time in four years. Constantly on my mind was returning to the "Titanic" exhibit.

Titanic Boarding Pass

THE FRONT AND BACK side of a boarding pass, complete with actual passenger information everyone receives upon entering the exhibit. On this boarding pass, the name and information is that of first class passenger John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest man on board the Titanic. At the end of the exhibit, the fate of each passenger is revealed.

The first thing that happens when you present your ticket is you are given a boarding pass. On the reverse side of the boarding pass is the information of an actual passenger who was on board the Titanic when she sailed in 1912. The information includes the passenger's name, where they were from, the class of their ticket, cabin number, the reason for their travel, and a fun fact.

The boarding pass is something you definitely want to hold onto for it will play a factor at the end of the exhibit. Before you enter, you will be treated to a photo session, one standing on a re-creation of the ship's bow railing with a green screen background. So theoretically, you can do your best Leonardo DiCaprio impression and an "I'm the king of the world!" pose made famous in the movie "Titanic," which I didn’t do. After modeling for the cameras, it's time to enter the exhibit and the world of Titanic.

The exhibit is divided into different sections that go accordingly to the phases of the ship's history. The beginning of the exhibit is focused on the ship's birth and construction in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Here, you can stand in front of artifacts such as tools and pieces of equipment that rested at the bottom of the Atlantic for nearly a century. Each item has information that lets you in on the stories behind them and the significance they played during the ship's brief life.

Next week: More of the magnificence of the ship and her history.

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