55 Photos Of The Titanic In Color That Bring The Story Of This Ill-Fated Voyage To Life Like Never Before

Published March 27, 2024
Updated March 28, 2024

From the Grand Staircase and first-class staterooms to the doomed passengers and half-empty lifeboats, see some of the most stunning photos of the Titanic in color.

The RMS Titanic was meant to be an “unsinkable” ship. It was the pride of the British White Star Line shipping company, the height of luxury for passengers who wanted to cross the Atlantic Ocean in 1912. Unfortunately, as we now know, the ship was anything but unsinkable.

Immortalized in James Cameron’s 1997 film Titanic, the story of the ill-fated vessel has been well-chronicled over the years. From its ambitious beginnings to its final moments, the Titanic now serves as a cautionary tale.

Now, we’ve put together a gallery of 55 colorized photos of the Titanic to highlight the true splendor of the ship — and its tragic destiny. These images of the Titanic in color help capture the doomed voyage as it really was.

The “Unsinkable” Titanic In Color

Frederick Fleet
Boat Deck Of The Titanic In Color
Captain Edward Smith
1912 Titanic Departure In Color
55 Photos Of The Titanic In Color That Bring The Story Of This Ill-Fated Voyage To Life Like Never Before
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The RMS Titanic was constructed at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland, commissioned by the British shipping company White Star Line. It was a costly endeavor, the project's total being a whopping $7.5 million — over $200 million today, adjusted for inflation.

It took somewhere in the ballpark of 3,000 workers to build the ship. In the end, it weighed 46,000 tons and measured 882 feet long and 92 feet wide. A staggering 3 million rivets were used to hold the ship together.

At the time, the Titanic, and its sister ship the RMS Olympic, were intended to outclass every other ship sailing the seas. And at first, it seemed like the White Star Line's investment was going to be well worth it.

Titanic In Color

Wikimedia CommonsA group of workers installing the propeller shaft of the RMS Titanic.

Along with sleeping and dining areas, the Titanic boasted many luxurious amenities for its passengers, especially those in first class, including a swimming pool, a gymnasium, and Turkish baths. (Some of the Titanic's most impressive amenities can be seen in striking color in the gallery above.)

Designed to transport up to 3,300 people across the Atlantic Ocean, the Titanic's maiden voyage carried around 2,240 people out into the open sea. Tragically, this was also where most of them would die.

For all its opulent perks, the Titanic lacked something important that it desperately needed: enough lifeboats for every passenger.

The Tragic Sinking Of The Titanic

The Titanic's maiden — and final — voyage began on April 10, 1912. Setting sail from Southampton, England, and stopping in Cherbourg, France, and Queenstown (today, Cobh), Ireland to pick up more passengers, the vessel's final destination was supposed to be New York City.

But just four days into its voyage, on the night of April 14, 1912, the Titanic collided with an iceberg. A combination of low visibility and the crew being inadequately equipped with binoculars made it nearly impossible to see the iceberg. Though the ship's lookout, Frederick Fleet, shouted, "Iceberg, right ahead!" as soon as he saw it, the vessel was unable to avoid the crash.

The Titanic did not sink immediately, but it would slip beneath the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean in less than three hours. The crew soon realized how dire the situation was and began to evacuate passengers — starting with the women and children first — as the vessel slowly sank.

Unfortunately, the ship only carried 20 lifeboats, which was far too few to accommodate the 2,240 people onboard. (It was later found that the vessel could've carried more, but officials allegedly declined the addition of the "extra" lifeboats to cut costs and to improve the vessel's aesthetics.)

It soon became very clear that the crew wouldn't be able to save everyone on board. But while the night was filled with tragedy and chaos, it was also filled with moments of bravery and heroism.

Collapsible Boat B

Wikimedia CommonsCollapsible Boat B, a lifeboat that wasn't launched properly and was discovered upside down after the sinking.

Before Captain Edward Smith went down with the ship, he allegedly told his crew, "Well boys, you've done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you. You know the rule of the sea. It's every man for himself now, and God bless you." But most crew members were determined to help as many people as possible, even if it meant dying in the process.

And even after the ship sank at approximately 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, some survivors were determined to find other people they could save. One example is passenger Molly Brown, who demanded that the crewman in her lifeboat turn back to rescue anyone who was left in the water.

In all, just 706 people managed to survive the sinking of the Titanic, and about 1,500 died. Nearly half of them were the ship's crew members, though some, such as Charles Lightoller, the ship's second officer, survived in circumstances that could be described as nothing short of miraculous.

The 706 who made it onto the Titanic's limited number of lifeboats were eventually rescued, about two hours later, by the RMS Carpathia, which transported the survivors the rest of the way to New York City.

News of the ship's sinking made shockwaves across the world, leaving many stunned that the vessel had met such a tragic end. As the world mourned the lives lost on that fateful day, the Titanic itself rested on the floor of the North Atlantic Ocean — where it remains to this day.

The Enduring Fascination With The Titanic

Even if we ignore the success of James Cameron's Titanic, the story of the doomed ship has long occupied a prominent place in the public zeitgeist.

As with any big tragedy, museums have been established to pay tribute to the Titanic's victims and display artifacts from the wreckage.

In fact, the discovery of the Titanic's wreckage is itself an odyssey worthy of being put to film. It was 73 years before the Titanic was rediscovered 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland in the North Atlantic Ocean by oceanographer Robert Ballard and scientist Jean-Louis Michel in 1985.

Titanic Leaving The Shipyard

Shawshots/Alamy Stock PhotoThe Titanic remains a point of fascination today, and images of the Titanic in color help bring the doomed vessel to life.

Since then, over 5,000 artifacts have been recovered from the wreckage, including jewelry, musical instruments, and pieces of the ship itself.

These artifacts likewise tell the stories of the people on board. For instance, the musical instruments help represent the bravery of the ship's band, which famously played on even as the vessel sank.

It's not difficult to see why even today, more than 100 years after the Titanic's sinking, people are still drawn to its story. And the breathtaking photos of the Titanic in color in the gallery above help bring that story to life.

After looking through these stunning photos of the Titanic in color, check out our gallery of colorized World War I photos. Then, see these 44 colorized portraits of famous historical figures.

Austin Harvey
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Austin Harvey has also had work published with Discover Magazine, Giddy, and Lucid covering topics on mental health, sexual health, history, and sociology. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Point Park University.
Jaclyn Anglis
Jaclyn is the senior managing editor at All That's Interesting. She holds a Master's degree in journalism from the City University of New York and a Bachelor's degree in English writing and history (double major) from DePauw University. She is interested in American history, true crime, modern history, pop culture, and science.