The ill-fated story of the Titanic is an incredibly interesting one. And one area that you might find particularly fascinating is the Titanic ticket prices.
With the Titanic disaster happening over 100 years ago, how do ticket prices on this luxury liner compare to the ocean cruises we can pay for today?
Let’s find out…
Titanic Ticket Prices
Tickets to sail on the Titanic in 1912 cost from £7 for a Third Class ticket up to £870 for a First Class Suite. At today’s prices, that would equate to around £850 for Third Class to over £105,000 for the best First Class Suite.
What’s also interesting is how much the tickets cost in US dollars. The exchange rate between the Pound and the Dollar was much wider back in 1912 – you could get almost $5 to the pound. So, a Third Class ticket was $35 while the First Class Suite was over $4,000.
|Class||Price in 1912 (£)||Price in 1912 ($)||Price today (£)||Price today ($)|
|First Class Suite||£870||$4,350||£105,883||$133,132|
|First Class Berth||£30||$150||£3,651||$4,591|
It’s estimated that there were 324 first-class passengers on board the Titanic’s maiden voyage when it sank, though it isn’t known how many of them took a standard first-class berth and how many took a suite.
There were 284 second-class passengers on board, and 709 third-class passengers (source). The Titanic was around half-full on her sailing.
So, if all the first-class passengers paid the £30 berth fare, then the total fare for all passengers would have been £18,091 ($90,455) in 1912 – or just over £2.2 million ($2.75 million) in today’s money.
As a side note, White Star Line was sued for around £3.2 million ($16 million) in compensation by the survivors of the sailing, but the company only paid out £132,000 ($664,000).
That worked out at around £190 per person, or $950. In today’s money that would be just over £23,000.
What was the most expensive ticket on the Titanic?
While the most expensive suite on the Titanic would have cost around £870, that wasn’t occupied. The most expensive ticket purchased was believed to have cost around £512 ($2,560), approximately £60,000 ($75,000) today.
It is thought that the most expensive suite sold on Titanic – with two bedrooms and a sitting room – was occupied by Charlotte Drake Cardeza, an American arts patron. She travelled with her 36-year-old son and their maid and valet. All survived the sinking of the ship, although they left behind 14 trunks of luggage as well as many other belongings.
The suite benefitted from its own private promenade deck which was 50-feet long -considerably larger than many of today’s suite balconies.
How much did first class pay on Titanic?
First-class tickets on the Titanic cost between £30 and £870, depending on whether passengers chose a first-class berth or a private suite. That equates to between £3,651 and £105,883 in today’s money. The most expensive first-class ticket actually bought is thought to have cost £512.
First-class rooms were decorated to the same standards as a high-class hotel, and there were a number of onboard facilities exclusively available to these guests. These included a gym, a squash court, a swimming pool and a Turkish bath. Games like shuffleboard and chess were available to play on the deck.
Guests could choose to dine in the main dining room, which had tables for between two and eight guests. All meals were served in this room, with dinner traditionally served between 7 and 8.15 pm. Alternatively, first-class guests could pay extra to dine in the a la carte restaurant.
Food for first-class passengers was typically high class, including canapes, oysters, expensive meat dishes such as lamb and duckling, and varied cheese boards for dessert, along with French pastries. A lot of the menus were based on French cuisine but some British and American options were included.
Here’s an example of a first-class lunch menu :
How much did a second-class ticket cost on Titanic?
A second-class ticket on the Titanic cost £12 (or $60), which is approximately £1,460 ($1,834) in today’s money. There were fewer second class passengers travelling on the Titanic when she sank (284) than there were first-class passengers (324).
Second-class guests enjoyed a little more comfort than those in third class, with private cabins (although bathrooms were still shared). There was a library and a men-only smoking room, as well as promenade decks where guests could enjoy fresh air.
There was one second-class dining room that was large enough to accommodate all guests at once, and while menu options were more limited than in first class there was still plenty of variety in the food available.
As an example, the last meal enjoyed by Titanic guests in second class included chicken curry, spring lamb or roast turkey for the main, while dessert options included cheese and biscuits, American ice cream and plum pudding.
Here’s a second-class dinner menu from the Titanic:
How much was a Third class Titanic ticket?
A third-class ticket on the Titanic cost £7 ($35 at the time), the equivalent of around £852 in today’s money ($1,071). That price did include food as well as the accommodation cost. Titanic’s third class was considered to be as good as second class on similar ships of the time.
Wages at the time varied but a skilled working-class man in England would likely have made around £100 per year, making the cost of a ticket on the Titanic around 7% of the annual salary. Many third-class travellers were sailing to America to start a new life there in the hopes of building their fortune.
On the Titanic, there were two dining rooms for third-class passengers, who also had outdoor deck space to enjoy as well as communal rooms to enjoy. Third-class guests didn’t eat dinner, which was considered a reserve of the upper classes, but instead had tea and supper.
The food included fresh baked bread, fruit and vegetables along with meat and seafood, with many guests likely to have eaten better than they would normally have done at home.
Here’s a daily menu for third-class passengers on the Titanic:
At the time, many third-class passengers on other ships aside from the Titanic would have had to bring their own food with them.
Who was the richest person on the Titanic?
The richest person on the Titanic was John Jacob Astor IV, an American businessman with a net worth at the time of around $87 million (equivalent to almost $2.5 billion today). He did not make it into a lifeboat and died when the ship sank.
Astor was sailing with his second wife, Madeleine Force Astor. She had fallen pregnant as the couple was travelling, and as they wanted the child to be born in the US they bought tickets to sail on the Titanic.
Also in their travelling party were Astor’s valet Victor Robbins, Madeleine’s maid Rosalie Bidois and her nurse Caroline Louise Endres. They also had their dog, Kitty, with them. Madeleine, Rosalie and Caroline all made it onto a lifeboat and survived, but John, Victor and Kitty did not.
Astor was a very prominent businessman, to the point that one newspaper (the New York American) even broke the story of the Titanic sinking by almost dedicating the entire article to his loss of life, mentioning the other lives lost only at the end of the article.
Due to his notoriety, a lot of stories about his last moments on the Titanic were reported, including releasing all the onboard animals from the kennels to helping a boy get into a lifeboat. None of these can be substantiated though, and most are expected to be exaggerations.
As you can tell, the prices on the Titanic weren’t actually so different to the equivalent prices today.
It’s not as simple a comparison since we no longer have first-, second-, and third-class tickets, but if you compare the prices to a balcony, oceanview and interior room on your average 7-day cruise then you may not be too far away.
Suggested read: How Much Does a Cruise Cost?
Of course, that falls apart when you add in the £100,000+ first-class suite – only a half-year world cruise on an ultra-luxury ship would set you back that much today.
Now that you’ve got a good idea of how much the Titanic cost, why not see how it directly compares to the largest cruise ship in the world right now?
Check out my guide to Wonder of the Seas vs Titanic for a full breakdown of accommodation, ticket prices, facilities and more.