14 March 2012
Last updated at 18:49
Just over two weeks before its opening on 31 March, Titanic Belfast has given local and international press a sneak-peek inside.
The building's construction took three years - the same length of time it took to build the Titanic itself. Occupying the top two floors of Titanic Belfast with views over the slipways where Titanic and her sister ships were built, the suite is the city’s largest dedicated banqueting space.
Its focal point is a 10,000 piece near-replica of Titanic’s Grand Staircase built by Oldtown Joinery in Bellaghy.
Organisers say almost almost 80,000 tickets have been pre-sold and that 200 events have been booked for the Titanic Suite.
Titanic Belfast will contain nine galleries which tell the ship's story, from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s to her tragic sinking and then re-discovery by Robert Ballard in 1985.
Three galleries have been completed and the remaining six galleries are due for completion within the week.
Exhibits in the building will also explore the contribution of Belfast and its population to the story of the Titanic.
The attraction includes detailed, full scale reconstructions of 1st, 2nd and 3rd class cabins.
The building will also house temporary exhibits, a 1,000-seat banqueting suite, education and community facilities, catering and retail space and an underground car park.
One of the galleries features a Harland & Wolff's ‘shipyard ride’ - a five-minute journey in a car accompanied by CGI, audio and special effects.
The opening of Titanic Belfast will be followed by the Titanic Festival, a commemoration of the Titanic's sinking 100 years ago next month.
Among the planned events include Titanic Sounds, an open air MTV concert on the ship's original slipway, one of the world’s largest light shows to be projected onto the Titanic Belfast building and the opening of a memorial garden at Belfast City Hall.
Tim Husbands, Titanic Belfast’s CEO, said an "immense effort" had gone into creating a focal point for Belfast's Titanic and maritime heritage.
"We wanted a statement building which would help transform Belfast’s international reputation and an attraction which any major city would be proud of," he said. "I firmly believe that Titanic Belfast will live up to both those expectations.”
Full-scale replicas, including the Titanic’s rudder, give the visitor a sense of the size of the vessel.
Visitors can also explore Titanic’s passenger and crew database, and follow the fate of her sister ships, Olympic and Britannic, and the story of Harland & Wolff after the sinking.
Titanic Belfast opens on 31 March in time for the centenary of Titanic’s maiden voyage.