Cultures do give meaning to color. I think to say that colors have no meaning shows cultural insensitivity.
In China, white represents purity (a belief shared with the West), brightness, and fulfillment. It, also, was the color of mourning. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_in_Chinese_culture
) The color white represents death in some Asian and Slavic countries. This belief was shared by the ancient Egyptians, who associated black with life (black soil of land enriched by the Nile). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White
was a passenger liner, not a ship of exploration. I would think the expectations of passengers, especially the well-heeled, would be different from the crew. And I would think the crew of an explorer ship would be expecting their ship to be designed differently from a passenger liner. Form matches function.