Those on board the Azamara Journey range from the 76-year-old Willing to 9-year-old Patrick Druckenmiller, who received this trip as a gift from his grandmother because he's such a Titanic buff. As he walked the gangway to board the ship, Druckenmiller was dressed as Titanic Capt. E.J. Smith, in full uniform, complete with a white cotton beard.
Passengers chat about the merits of bringing artifacts from the wreck site to shore, or about why Robert Ballard, one of the men who discovered Titanic's wreckage in 1985, made a bad choice when he didn't bring anything up from the ship. Anywhere else, these topics might seem out of place -- as would a discussion about how the constellations aren't correct in the night sky as Rose clings to the piece of driftwood in the movie. Not here.
Thursday was ABBA night at the disco. Of course, I attended. The disco draws all kinds -- from the middle-aged man in a kilt who came on the voyage to pay a bagpipe tribute at the cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where many victims are buried, to the 20-something singers and dancers who make up the cruise line's usual year-round entertainment.
This is certainly not the crowd they're used to. The Azamara Journey's crew members declined requests for formal interviews, though some told me this is certainly a more "unique" crowd filled with "interesting" characters.
On the surface the trip is easy to poke fun at. But one thing is for sure -- on the night of the 14th, no one will be dancing. Disco lights will go dark, the casino's slot machines silent. No sweet sounds of the harp, no "My Heart Will Go On." Only the rhythmic crashing of waves against the ship.
And sure, perhaps someone somewhere will be laughing at those onboard. But for Morgan Mullinix that won't matter anymore.
"I love that I'm sitting here with you guys and you're not laughing," she said to a group of new friends as they talked Titanic. "We're all understanding each other."