History | Did You Know

Photos From Titanic Passengers Show What It Was Like Sailing On The Doomed Ship

Thomas Schmid

More than 100 years after the Titanic set sail on its first - and final - voyage, we're still captivated by this incredible ship and its tragic story.

Historical photos, including ones taken by passengers on the Titanic, paint the ship and its famous disaster in a new light.

1. Building the Titanic

The ship without its chimneys, in Belfast, Ireland.Wikimedia

When it set sail on April 10, 1912, the Titanic was the world's largest ship. At 880 feet long and 175 feet high, it took a team of 20 horses just to drag the Titanic's massive anchor, and the ship was under construction for three years.

The ship's propeller, just before launch.Library of Congress
A colorized photo of the ship during construction.3D History
Two men pose with part of the ship's massive engine.Thomas Schmid

2. The black mark

While crashing into an iceberg sealed the Titanic's fate, some say it was doomed from the beginning.

Steve Raffield

Experts believe the black mark in this photo is evidence of a massive coal fire inside the ship's hold. Trying to control the fire may have weaked the Titanic's hull, and made the ship accelerate towards the iceberg.

3. The maiden voyage

The Titanic leaves Southampton.Letaba Herald

The Titanic set sail from Southampton, England with around 2,224 passengers and crew members, but would never reach its destination of New York. Crowds of people lined the docks to wave goodbye to the ship and its passengers.

Titanic Universe

4. Important passengers

This ship's captain, Edward Smith, and its architect, Thomas Andrews, both died during the disaster.Wikimedia / BBC

While most of the ship's ticket holders were average men and women, the Titanic's luxury attracted many wealthy and famous passengers.


Businessman John Jacob Astor IV was one of the world's wealthiest men when he died on the Titanic, with a net worth that would make him a multi-billionaire in 2018.


The American socialite Margaret "Molly" Brown was nicknamed "Unsinkable" after leading her lifeboat to rescue stranded passengers.


Isidor and Ida Straus were part-owners of the Macy's department store chain. They died together on-board the ship after refusing to be separated.

5. The luxuries

The First Class smoking room, which was restricted to men only.Thomas Schmid

The Titanic was designed to be the most luxurious and comfortable ship ever built, and around 300 Frst Class passengers enjoyed their beautiful surroundings for the first four days of the trip.

There were lounges and sitting rooms, a gymnasium, a swimming pool, libraries, and cabins that suited the wealthy passengers's demanding tastes.

The entry hall to the First Class section, overlooking the Grand Staircase.Thomas Schmid
A recreation of the ship's Grand Staircase.Blue Star Line
A brochure advertising the ship's First Class cabins.BNPS
Thomas Schmid
Thomas Schmid
A First Class sitting room.Thomas Schmid
The Cafe Parisien.Retronaut
Thomas Schmid

The First Class dining saloon was the longest room on the ship, with seating for 554 passengers.

The gymnasium.Thomas Schmid
This ship's swimming pool.Wikimedia

6. The lower classes

Passengers on the crowded steerage deck.F.R. Browne S.J. Collection

The lowest levels of the Titanic were reserved for poorer Third Class passengers, or "steerage." They were restricted from using the ship's First Class dining rooms and other amenities. Even the Second Class shuffle board area was off-limits to them.

A brochure for cabins in second and third class.BNPS
A recreation of a room in Third Class, with four bunk beds.Scribbler in Seville
The Third Class dining hall.Retronaut
The Third Class general hall.XCiteFun

7. The crash

A photo of the iceberg that struck the Titanic, with paint from the ship still on the ice.BBC

Four days into the ship's journey, the Titanic struck an iceberg. It was 11:40 P.M., and by 2:20 A.M. the ship had broken apart and sank.

An illustration of the sinking ship.Others.co

Only about 700 passengers and crew survived, partly because there was a serious lifeboat shortage. The ship was designed to hold 48 lifeboats but was only loaded with 20, which could barely fit half of the people on-board

Passengers from the Titanic, photographed from the Carpathia.National Archives OPA

8. The rescue

A composite photo shows the rescue efforts by the Carpathia.Library of Congress

The Titanic's emergency flares and SOS radio messages were received by a nearby ship called the Carpathia, which collected stranded passengers and ferried them to New York.

Titanic passengers on-board the Carpathia.National Museum of American History
A crowd in New York waits for the Carpathia to arrive.Library of Congress
On This Day

9. The wreck

The Titanic's bow, underwater.Wikimedia

For decades, the Titanic was thought to have sank in one piece. There were even plans to raise it from the bottom of the sea. The depth of the ocean at the point where the Titanic sank made it almost impossible to reach.

It wasn't until 1985 that American and French researchers were able to reach the Titanic. About half of the ship is still in fair condition, with some of the rooms inside well-preserved. The other half is completely destroyed.

Money recovered from the wrecked ship.AP

10. The legacy


The first movie based on the wreck of the Titanic premiered the same year as the crash, and starred one of the ship's actual survivors. Since then, many books and films have immortalized the tragic story, but director James Cameron's take on the disaster is definitely the most famous.

Chicago Tribune

While Jack and Rose are fictional characters, their timeless love story is inspired by hundreds of others that were sadly ended that night in 1912.

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I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com