|ONBOARD EXPRESS ADONIS
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|Extract from Fraser G. MacHaffie, 'The Short Sea Route'
The Ailsa Princess as built
Accommodation for both classes of passengers (400 first and 800 second) was again concentrated on the shelter deck.
The first-class was situated forward and the most spectacular feature was the oval saloon bar overlooking the forecastle.
The ceiling of the bar was finished in a "moon crater" effect. The first class dining saloon was aft of the bar [on the
starboard side] and could accommodate 64. The galley separated this saloon from the second class cafeteria [starboard
side aft] and served both. On the port side, divided by a moveable bulkhead, were to be found the lounges for first class,
forward, and second class, aft. The latter had a tea bar located at its forward end. In the two lounges the decor scheme
was continuous throughout, and so in the event of the ships transferring to one class operating there would be no clashes
of colour schemes. Moving aft, 150 second class passengers could be seated in a further lounge. In this area was the
ship's shop and another tea bar. Aft of this lounge was the second class bar.
Antrim Princess originally had a tea bar on the upper deck but this facility was absent from the Ailsa Princess, where the
after end of the upper deck was given over entirely to second class seating. In the spring of 1975 the after end of the
upper deck of the Ailsa Princess was enclosed and deck space for passengers provided on the deck above, the bridge
As in Antrim Princess, sleeping accommodation for passengers was provided on the ship below the vehicle deck fore and
aft of the engine space. Berths were provided for 69. Another respect in which Ailsa Princess differed from the Antrim
Princess was that the accommodation aft of the sleeping accommodation, which in the latter was devoted to cattle pens,
was fitted out in the "Ailsa" as a sleeping lounge with reclining seats for a hundred passengers.
Ailsa Princess was fitted with a hanging deck above the vehicle deck the full width of the vehicle alleyways around the
engine casing. The car capacity of the Ailsa Princess was listed as 200. With hanging decks stowed, the height restriction
was 14 feet 3 inches.
|Above & below: Two views of the First Class bar on the 'Adonis'.
|Below: Back on the Express Adonis, this view shows the First Class restaurant, amidships to starboard.
|Below: Over to port, the side lounge retained the seating installed by Sealink British Ferries as part of the
Sunliner refit in the mid-1980s.
|Above & below: Aft of the restaurant, the self-service cafeteria was essentially structurally unchanged from
its UK days.
|Below: The lobby space just aft of the self-service restaurant and side lounge, looking across to port.
|Above & below: More deck scenes, the second picture is of the starboard side promenade deck, taken from
the enclosed deckhouse aft.
|Above & below: Aft on the main passenger deck was this large lounge and, right aft, the reception desk.
|Below: The deck bar, just aft of the upper lounge.
|Above & below: The same space on the Ailsa Princess in as-built condition. The moon crater ceiling effect
counts as perhaps one of Ward & Austin's most daring interior designs, ranking alongside the upper deck
saloons of the Vortigern and their real masterpiece, the St Edmund of 1974.
|As the Express Adonis
Although the Ailsa Princess was subsequently converted to one class and, later as the Earl Harold, received a not
insignificant refit to convert her for the Channel Islands 'Sunliner' service, as the Express Adonis the ship slotted fairly
easily back into her original two-class configuration. The forward 'crater' bar again became the First Class bar, and the
restaurant, just aft on the starboard side, was once more dedicated to First Class passengers. The port side and aft
lounges remained single class although a large reception area was added aft (possibly by initial Greek owners GA Ferries,
who favour this arrangement to greet boarding passengers). The cafeteria to starboard meanwhile was retained for its
original purpose. Upstairs, the aft lounge added early in the ship's career was refitted but otherwise retained. Perhaps the
most notable structural alteration was the construction of cabins in what had originally been enclosed promenade deck
space, on either side of the superstructure forward on the Boat Deck. As the Express Adonis the lower lounge was latterly
closed off from passenger use.
|Below: The port side promenade on Boat Deck from the aft end - the door in the distance indicates where
additional cabins had been built into the covered deck shelter at opposite end of the deck.
|Above & below: The ship had plenty of hints of her old Sealink career. The lower lounge noted in the sign on
the garage stairwell was however closed to passengers.