Cruise Marks 100 Years After Titanic's Failed Voyage
Morgan Mullinix was laughed at when she'd tell friends where she was headed.

They thought she was crazy when she signed up for an eight-day Titanic cruise chartered to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship's demise.

"I get tired of it," she said. "People are like 'You're 26, Morgan. Really? Titanic?"

But for the 450 people aboard the Azamara Journey, this trip is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They say it's the closest thing they'll ever have to experiencing what led to the fateful ship's sinking on a cold April night in the North Atlantic.

As a reporter, I experienced some of this myself when I described my assignment.

"Tell the captain to watch out for icebergs," people would say. "You're tempting fate ... make sure there's enough lifeboats."

And it is a little eerie when you think about it: People are dressing up in period costumes similar to what was worn on Titanic in 1912. Women in corsets, hair up in Gibson rolls, head to afternoon tea. Meals that were served at the last dinner onboard the ship are crossing 2012 diners' lips. (I had a Halibut dish on Wednesday, inspired by Titanic's menus, and it was quite tasty.)

Harp music fills the parlor, although there's a regular nod to 1997. You'll only hear "My Heart Will Go On," the theme to James Cameron's blockbuster "Titanic," at most once per hour. (That's the rule, says the woman behind the mammoth mahogany instrument).

It's all part of a trip that will culminate in a moment of silence held directly above the wreckage at the exact date and time Titanic met its end.

The captain even told me that we are, in fact, heading into waters that could include some ice. It would be a rare occurrence, but he said no one knows for sure until we are almost to the exact spot of the wreckage.

All of this, though, is what makes this trip even better for Mullinix, who is a full-time cruise consultant, a career inspired in part by her fascination with Titanic. Her mission is to get a sense of what those passengers experienced -- everything except the iceberg part -- aboard the White Star Line's RMS Titanic.

"I looked out last night at the water and I thought, 'I can't even imagine what that had to have felt like or be like.' There was nothing you could do. Nothing."

That vast darkness is where more than 1,500 lost their lives, mostly by freezing in 28-degree water. While she admits it is "a little macabre," she wouldn't mind seeing an iceberg -- emphasis on "seeing."

"To feel the coldness of the air, to look up and see the sky and know that's what they looked at," those are some of the reasons Mullinix signed up.

A tribute is scheduled to begin at 11:40 p.m. on April 14 -- the time Titanic struck the iceberg. A wreath will be placed on the water two hours and 40 minutes later --- just as the last of the ship slipped beneath the surface. The Azamara will meet up with the MS Balmoral at the sinking site for the memorial. That ship is carrying passengers retracing the maiden voyage of the Titanic from Southampton, England, on an expedition organized by the same travel outfit.

Personal connections

Mullinix doesn't remember exactly how old she was, but she knows she was in "the single digits" when she became hooked on all things Titanic. It was the story of her great grandfather, as relayed by her father.

He was on the Carpathia, which answered the distress signals from the doomed ship, rescuing hundreds of passengers.

"He was there. He witnessed the survivors," she said, explaining why she wants to be there, exactly one century later.