Ironically billed as an unsinkable ship, the RMS Titanic was the world's largest and most luxurious cruise ship of its time. While the ship proved to, in fact, be very sinkable, it became one of the most famous ships in history – and one of the most famous maritime disasters.

James Cameron's Rose Dewitt Bukater and Jack Dawson never walked the ship's Promenade Deck or fell in love, the romance of this feat of design and engineering and the tragedy that befell it holds true, and still captivates us today. Seeing what the ship truly looked like, and what it has become after over 100 years under the waves shows the true drama of this tragedy. We've collected photos that show what the Titanic was truly like, and the devastation of the aftermath on both the people and the ship.

25 Before the Iceberg: Building the Titanic

The journey of the Titanic started in 1909 at the Harland & Wolff Shipyards for the White Star Line in Belfast, Ireland (now Northern Ireland). The Titanic was built alongside its sister ship, the Olympic, which unlike its more famous twin, had a long career on the high seas. These ships were so much larger than contemporary ships, according to The Ultimate Titanic, that the shipyard had to be modified to accommodate construction of the mammoth liners. The Titanic was designed by James Andrews and constructed by 15,000 workers over three years, most of whom survived the effort.

24 Before the Iceberg: The Titanic in Southampton

Three years and $7,500,000 (£1.5 million) later, and the RMS Titanic was ready to embark. The ship ironically advertised as “unsinkable” was set to take its maiden voyage from White Star Dock in the English port of Southampton. According to the SeaCity museum of Southampton, the disaster had a dramatic impact on the city: 500 households had family members who perished onboard.

23 The Aftermath: The Bow

After it sank, the Titanic was doomed to sit at the bottom of the frigid Atlantic Ocean, but it didn’t stay undiscovered. According to Titanic Facts, the final resting place of both halves of the Titanic are about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, approximately 2.4 miles under the ocean. On September 1, 1985, the wreck of the Titanic was found by the submarine crew of the Knorr, captained by Robert Ballard. This was his second trip to find the Titanic, and one of many previous unsuccessful attempts. Here is the bow of the ship, worn by time and water, and being slowly reclaimed by the ocean.

22 The Aftermath: Memorials

There are memorials to the casualties of the Titanic tragedy on land; They are commemorated in Belfast, Southampton, and Liverpool in the UK; New York City and Washington, DC, in the US; and Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada. Although only very few people have seen the wreckage, there are a number of commemorative plaques. According to the Encyclopedia Titanica, these plaques and mementos were left on the bridge of the ship to commemorate those lost in the wreck and some of the divers and oceanographers who worked at the site.

21 Before the Iceberg: Passengers Board in Southampton

Passengers arrived in Southampton and boarded the Titanic from 9:30 to 11:30 AM on April 10, 1912, according to Thought Co. According to Titanic Facts, there were a total of 1,317 passengers onboard the Titanic. According to Titanic Facts, there were 324 first-class passengers, 284 second-class passengers, 709 third-class passengers, and 906 crew. According to Dummies, a third-class tickets cost £3–£8, second class cost £12, a first class ticket was £30, and a first-class suite was a whopping £870, or $100,000 today. Those cabin prices in today’s prices range from $350 to $3500.

20 Before the Iceberg: Passengers' Eyes Are Inspected Before Boarding

The Titanic is known for its luxury, but it also had fairly comprehensive medical care onboard. According to Richard A. Glenner and his colleagues in their paper “Titanic Medical Care: Second to None,” there was a whole team of surgeons onboard the Titanic, led by head surgeon Dr. William Francis Norman O'Loughlin. Like everything else about life onboard the Titanic, medical care was differentiated by class. Every third class passenger was given a medical exam before boarding. In particular, according to Glenner, the medical staff were screening for trachoma, a contagious eye disease that could cause blindness.

19 The Aftermath: Ruined Quarters

Eaten by rust, these were once the windows to crew quarters on the ship. According to Ultimate Titanic, the crew lived on the three lowest decks, along with the cargo and the machinery. The crew were not supposed to be seen by customers, so the engine room crew had direct passage from their quarters to the engine rooms. Most of the workers who quartered behind these windows and worked unseen to keep the ship going were lost to the waves.

18 Before the Iceberg: The Grand Staircase

The grand staircase of the Titanic is undoubtedly one of the most iconic features of the RMS Titanic, both because of its beauty and because, according to Ultimate Titanic, it showed a level of opulence that was unprecedented in travel at that time. The staircase was made of polished oak and featured a domed glass ceiling and a clock. This staircase took passengers to the first-class dining room, according to Ultimate Titanic.

17 The Aftermath: Recovered Compasses

This electric meter monitored the electric light for one of the ship’s compasses. All four were made by the Kelvin and James White, Ltd, compass company in Glasgow, according to John Blake in his book, Titanic: A Passenger's Guide Pocket Book. Two of these compasses were housed on the bridge, one on the docking bridge aft, and the last was in the center of the ship. This one was recovered from the wreckage.

16 Before the Iceberg: The Titanic Leaves Southampton

The ill-fated voyage set sail at noon on April 10, 1912. Although passenger boarding started earlier that morning, crew hires and supplies loading started a week earlier on April 3. A tremendous amount of food and libation was needed to furnish the culinary side of the White Star luxury. For example, they loaded 75,000 pounds of fresh meat, according to Titanic Facts – and that figure didn’t include ham and bacon, sausage, or poultry. There were also 40,000 fresh eggs; 40 tons of potatoes; 15,000 bottles of ale; and 8,000 cigars. All of that and more were in the holds and cabins when the ship set sail that day.

15 The Aftermath: The News Hits the Presses

The sinking of this record-breaking and opulent ship on its maiden voyage was major international news. This London newsboy brandished copies of the Evening News to buyers on April 16, 1912, announcing the loss of the ship and the great number of passengers. The street corner where he set up shop, according to All That’s Interesting, is the corner of the White Star Line’s offices. Similar headlines appeared in newspapers around the globe in the following days and weeks, such as the Times Dispatch of Richmond, Virginia’s April 17th headline “ Enormity of Titanic Sea Tragedy Grows, and Hope of Reassuring News Becomes More Faint.” (Library of Virginia)

14 Before the Iceberg: The Titanic in Cherbourg

The Titanic had a few stops to make before sailing into open ocean. The first stop was Cherbourg, France, where more passengers boarded, including some of the most illustrious of the ship’s passengers. According to Encyclopedia Titanica some of these included the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, John Jacob and Madeleine Astor, and the Duff Gordons, Lady Lucy and Sir Cosmo. The real estate mogul Astor was the wealthiest person onboard, according to History on the Net. Lady Lucy Duff Gordon was a famous designer and stylist. This photo was taken from the shore at Cherbourg while the ship was docked there.

13 The Aftermath: The Rusted Engines

According to, the engines were the first parts of the ship discovered by Ballard and the crew of the Knorr. As described by TIME, this is the “low pressure cylinder head of the port steam engine.” The Titanic ran on steam engines, fueled by coal. According to Titanic Facts, the Titanic carried 6,611 tons of coal, burned in 162 furnaces, along with 54 boilers. These powered two engines of record-breaking size at the time, and three propellers.

12 Before the Iceberg: Titanic Stateroom B-58

This room is a prime example of the opulence of the Titanic. This cabin, stateroom B-58, was a first-class berth. A member of the Ryerson family or a governess employed by the family stayed in this room, according to Encyclopedia Titanica. First class staterooms were decked out in different period styles, according to Titanic and Co., including Louis XVI, Louis XV, Georgian, and Queen Anne. According to Titanic and Co., second-class cabins held two to four beds per room, and were decorated similarly, if more simply, to the first-class cabins. Third-class rooms consisted of simple bunk beds, two to six per room.

11 The Aftermath: Recovered Treasure

There were many things that went wrong with on April 14 that caused the Titanic to strike the iceberg and sink, but one of those things were binoculars. Or rather, the lack of binoculars. According to the Telegraph, there was a key missing for the locker of the crow’s nest with the outlook’s binoculars. Second Officer David Blair, who had the key, was dismissed last minute and was not able to pass it over, according to the Telegraph. Without access to the binoculars, the outlooks only had their eyes to work with; if they’d had binoculars, they would have been able to spot the glacier earlier. It seems pretty ironic, then, that these binoculars were salvaged from the wreckage.

10 Before the Iceberg: The First Class Lounge

Shelling out the money for the first-class cabin meant getting access not only to ritzy private digs, but also exclusive lounge areas and unprecedented accommodations, like a squash court, pool, Turkish baths, and a gym, according to Titanic and Co. This photo shows the first-class lounge located on the ship’s Promenade Deck. Like some of the first class cabins, this room was decorated in the French Louis XV style. This was where first-class passengers would have read, gathered, and played cards during the voyage, according to Titanic and Co.

9 The Aftermath: The Band Played On

William Hartley, his violin, and his bandmates are the subjects of arguably the most moving tale from the sinking of the Titanic. As the ship was sinking, Hartley and his bandmates continued to play music from the ship’s deck to help calm fellow passengers. This is the violin that he played that night, according to National Geographic, an engagement gift from his fiancée. And engraving on the violin reads “For Wallace on the occasion of our engagement from Maria.” According to National Geographic, the violin was found shortly after the ship sank and was rediscovered in 2006.

8 Before the Iceberg: The Main Dining Room

This dining room was a thing of beauty. According to Ultimate Titanic, the hall could fit 532 diners at a time, which was the largest ship dining room ever built up to that point. It was decorated in a Jacobean style and was based on the dining room at Hatton Hall in England. With a room so fancy, you bet that the food eaten there was fancy, too. According to Titanic Facts, the first-class dinner menu on April 14, 1912, offered items such as Consommé Olga, filet mignons lili, roast squab and cress, and peaches in chartreuse jelly.

7 The Aftermath: Survivors on Lifeboats

At 11:40 PM on April 14, 1912, the Titanic scraped the side of the iceberg that was its downfall, according to Thought Co. Within ten minutes, the boat was taking on water. By 12:45 AM, the first of only twenty lifeboats was set into the water, and the last embarked at 2:05 AM. The lifeboats could carry less than half of the passengers, according to Thought Co. More than 15,000 people were left onboard the sinking ships. Lifeboat Number 1, according to Titanic Facts, later called the “Millionaire’s Boat” by the press, embarked with only 12 people onboard, even though it could carry 65. Pictured above is Lifeboat D as it approached their rescue ship.

6 The Aftermath: Survivors on the Carpathia

By 4:10 AM on the morning of April 15, 1912, the RMS Carpathia arrived at the crash site to rescue the survivors. According to Thought Co, the ship was 58 miles away when it intercepted the Titanic’s distress call. According to Titanic Facts, 706 people were rescued by the Carpathia. By about 8:30 AM, according to Titanic Facts, all survivors were safely loaded onto the Carpathia, which then continued the voyage to New York, arriving on April 18, 1912.