NEW YORK – Everyone is familiar with the story, but very few are able to see the Titanic in real life — unless they can shell out $60,000.
Bluefish, a luxury concierge firm based in Los Angeles, first offered an expedition to the Titanic site at the bottom of the North Atlantic Sea to its private clients in 2002.
The firm took only eight people to the site between 2002 and 2006. And after the recession put a stranglehold on luxury spending, Bluefish took an economy-induced hiatus.
“The recession hit and everything went to pot,” said Steve Sims, the concierge firm’s founder.
As the recovery slowly gains steam, trips to the Titanic are back on and Bluefish is now accepting bookings for 2012.
The $59,680 tab secures a seat on a deep-sea submersible that takes you to the shipwreck, as well as lectures, briefings, meals and accommodations at the port of departure and on board the Akademik Keldysh ship, owned and operated by the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology in Moscow. (Airfare, taxes or fees are not included.)
A total of 20 paid spots are available, which will offset the cost of the Shirshov Institute’s scientific research. The firm has already received over 300 “serious inquiries,” Sims said. Four trips to the location where the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912 have been sold so far.
Those adventure seekers will fly to Newfoundland and spend several days at sea. When the weather and sea conditions look good, divers can visit the wreck site — 12,465 feet down — in submersibles. Each battery-operated submersible holds just one pilot and two passengers for an 11- to 12-hour trip.
With the help of the submersible’s external lights, divers can then see the Titanic’s anchors, capstans, boilers, propellers and famous grand staircase in addition to possibly even a few undisturbed personal articles like bags or ladies shoes, according to Bluefish.
But forget finding a souvenir. Every dive collects data — not artifacts.
For those who just want to stay above the surface, and forgo a deep sea dive, the cost is $10,000 to tag along.
Other extreme and costly Bluefish experiences include a $200,000 seat on the Virgin Galactic flight into space as well as treks to the North Pole and shark diving.
“Our experiences are endless and only based on our imagination and your checkbook,” Sims said.