To my great delight, I was invited to sign my book “Unsinkable Vampire” at the Titanic Museums & Attractions in Branson and Pigeon Forge. For info on what made the book signing a success, see that blog. Both the Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee locations sell tickets for your sailing from 9am to 9pm. Both give you the option to explore at your leisure and are packed with an incredible array of displays in an atmosphere of actually entering the ship from shoveling coal in the bowels to ascending the Grand Staircase.
After five days in the gift shops, I wanted to give you my best advice on avoiding the crowds. Whether you are a Titaniac or, like me, simply fascinated with all things Titanic, you want to make the best use of your time to take advantage of your visit.True Titaniacs want to take in every exhibit, artifact, placard, and audio guide as well as have the opportunity to interact with cast members such as those playing Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, the Fantasy Princess, the professional gambler and others.
Timing is everything though. If avoiding crowds is your primary aim and you want a solitary, contemplative visit, arrive before 9am for the first sailing or after 7pm. However, the majority of cast members are on board between 10am and 5pm. To interact with them when there are not as many competitors for their attention, sail a bit after 3pm.
Days of the week and weather also play a significant role in crowds. In general, I would plan to avoid Saturdays. Sundays are hit or miss, sometimes overrun with guests and other times not. Rainy days, though, will see sharp increases in guests. The soaked-out Friday I was in Branson saw over 2000 visitors making their way through the ship.
So keep your plans flexible and don’t hesitate to call ahead to find out what cast members will be available while you’re in town. I tried to meet and greet as many crew members as possible, and I can tell you that they are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Most are ready for your every question or know exactly who to ask. You may also notice that they all wear ear pieces to communicate all over the ship.
Want to take a photo with the Captain Smith? They can locate him.
Missed getting to pet the dogs? Ask for the opportunity.
Misplaced your boarding card and identity? They are happy to replace it.
Have a toddler who can’t make the whole exhibit? Multiple times I saw crew issue a return pass for after a little one’s nap/meal.
These folks really want you to have the best Titanic experience of your life.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the Titanic Museum and Attractions in Branson and Pigeon Forge. If you can, visit them both in one week like I did! Each will give you new insights as if you wandered into a different section of the most legendary ship ever to take to the sea, R.M.S. Titanic.