Like the Titanic, the MS Balmoral is carrying 1,309 passengers, the ABC says. They reportedly come from 28 countries and include historians, maritime experts, family members of Titanic survivors and what the Herald Sun dubs "Titanoraks," or Titanic enthusiasts.
AFP describes how many passengers turned up in period Edwardian costumes, with some as first class passengers, others as steerage travelers and some as crew. They will be served food from the original menus and a band from Belgium is onboard to play period music.
The 12-night voyage will include a stop at the site where the Titanic hit an iceberg in the early hours of April 15, 1912, The Telegraph reports, and special memorial services will be held.
The Guardian says people paid up to £7,995 (US$12,675) to take part in what organizers describe as a memorial cruise, and "not a re-enactment," adding that there are sufficient lifeboats onboard.
Organizer Miles Morgan has also been forced to defend itself against allegations it is exploiting the tragedy for financial gain, reports the Globe and Mail.
“This cruise has been five years in the making and every step of the way we have sought to make it authentic to the era and a sympathetic memorial to the passengers and crew who lost their lives,” the company is quoted as saying.
"We're not here to mock. We're here to remember those who suffered," another passenger explained.