The epic story of the 'Ship of Dreams'
Titanic the Artifact Exhibition (Las Vegas)
Member Name: carlz2001uk
Titanic the Artifact Exhibition (Las Vegas)
Advantages: A must see, lots of moving artefacts, excellent recreation
Disadvantages: Shop, high prices, spelling mistakes
Ticket prices as you would expect are fairly high for something of this caliber, with one adult ticket costing $37, however do not pay this!!! Visit your hotels ticket booth where they will have a 3 for $57 choice where you can chose from 6 of the big attractions saving you an absolute fortune. We paid $57 each (plus a $2 service charge) and for this price we saw the Sharks at Mandalay Bay, The Titanic and got a ticket each for the roller-coaster at the top of New York New York hotel. This saved us around $40 each so it's definitely the way to see the sights. Tickets are valid for 7 days so you can happily buy the tickets this way on your first day and spread it across your trip, without the worry of having to get round everything in one day.
Audio tours are available for $6 and are available in English, Spanish and French. I wouldn't recommend wasting your money for the English one unless you desperately want extra information.
Before you enter the exhibition you will have your cameras confiscated from you. My husband was carrying his bulky SLR so there was no way they wouldn't see it but there are cameras everywhere so the 'no photography' really does mean no photography! There are lockers available and you simply give your photo ID in to secure one. After this process you will then be directed to have your photo taken as is pretty standard now in most attractions in front of a green screen. We didn't purchase these at the end though as they were $20 each which in my opinion is just a rip off. You are then given a passenger card in the style of a ticket and told to hold on to it till the end. Each card has a different name on and what class of passenger they were. It didn't take a genius to work out that you would be given the opportunity to see if your passenger survived or not.
Making your way through to the 25,000 square foot exhibit you are led through the story from start to finish in chronological order beginning with the construction yards. Expect lots and lots of reading, but it is broken down between artefacts and reading. The way the rooms glide from the construction yard to the maiden voyage to the journey and its passengers, then through to its sinking and even right up to modern day rescue attempts to preserve the artefacts before corrosion makes it too late.
You do have to take a step back and realise at times what you are looking at. For example I was looking at an unopened bottle of champagne without much thought and then I had to kind of shake myself awake and think this was actually on the Titanic. I did get like that with quite a few of the artefacts as you feel a little bombarded at times. There was moments when I did switch off a little as the placards that went with each recovered artefact got a little tedious at times, with things like 'this is a hairbrush', 'this is a cup'. There was lots of 'probablies' too, 'this was probably a cup belonging to a passenger'. I guess they are trying to be as honest as possible in something that is relatively unknown. There are lots of certainty in relation to the artefacts that belonged to White Star Line so I guess other items that are known not to belong to White Star can only be declared as 'probably' belonging to a passenger. It is still quite frustrating to read as a visitor though.
The room recreations can be fairly dramatic in an understated way, particularly the third class rooms. The opportunity to stroll along the Promenade Deck under the stars takes your breath away a little, and the air conditioned feel of the area only heightens the experience. The Grand Staircase is exceptionally moving perhaps more so because of its significance in the film rather than any specific story retold in the Exhibition. The iceberg is next up and we weren't expecting this inside the exhibition. The opportunity to touch the iceberg which was freezing to the touch, saddened me when I read that the conditions in the water on that fateful night meant that the water was actually colder than that of the ice. I had to catch my breath a little at this fact and then immediately after seeing one of the pulleys for the lifeboats really made the emotions come. I didn't cry but I felt incredibly moved by this disaster. The crown jewel of the exhibition is the Big Piece, the largest ever artefact recovered from the wreckage site, some 2.5 miles below the Atlantic. This 15 ton piece of the Titanic's starboard hull took nearly two days and more than 40 hours to install in the exhibition.
Myself and my husband noticed quite a few spelling mistakes which sounds exceptionally picky but for something that has most likely cost the hotel tens of millions to set up and fund it seemed unnecessary. Lots of the mistakes were English spelling mistakes such as Fulham was spelt as Fullham, things that could have easily been checked. Call me picky but it was just annoying!
The one major issue I have with the exhibition which is going to knock a whole star off, is the shop at the end. Just before you leave the exhibition you are presented with the list of 3327 passengers and who survived and who perished. This is an exceptionally moving piece and is done in a brilliant way, then you walk through the door and you are in the gift shop which sells exceptionally tacky and exceptionally priced 'souvenirs'. Sorry but this is completely bad taste. Yes the pieces of coal from the ship 'could' be forgiven. They are tastefully offered, however the tacky snow globes with the Titanic inside or the reproduction of the necklace used in James Cameron's Titanic (something which I already knew to be fiction but is even explained as complete fiction in the exhibition) are just insensitive to the memory of the Titanic and seems completely against the whole point of the Exhibition.
The exhibition is open from 10am to 10pm with the last entrance at 9pm, it took us 90 minutes to go around the full exhibit.
An authentic and emotional recreation of a devastating disaster, its a must see for visitors of Vegas. Please don't give into the consumerism of the shop though, it's surely ethically not right??!
Summary: 4 stars