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ON BOARD THE PENELOPE A (ex-HORSA) continued
matt@hhvferry.com
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ABOVE: From the side lounges on either side, passengers emerge into the forward lobby. The view above, from Penelope A in July 2004, is looking across to port. The glass cabinets (now empty) used to house displays relating to the Duty Free shopping area whose entrance was here, in between the two banks of cabinets on either side. To the right of this picture can be seen the main stairwell, with the 3-deck high mural by Franta Belsky on the forward bulkhead.
ABOVE: The entrance to the shopping area from the B Deck forward lobby, seen on either Hengist or Horsa in their original state. Even though the ships were equipped with supermarket areas aft of this, the Folkestone pair retained additional small counter service shops at the forward end for the sale of perfumes and gifts, as seen here. The display cabinets noted above are visible in the background.
ABOVE: Moving on from the forward lobby, the final B Deck passenger space on the Penelope A is the Macedonia Lounge. As built this was a high-capacity space for 234 passengers featuring row upon row of seating and was not fitted with a bar or food counter. By the mid-1980s however it had assumed use as the Motorist's Lounge. The extensive refit of 1986 saw the area emerge as the Venice Simplon Orient Express (VSOE) Lounge, for use by passengers of that train when they crossed the channel using the Folkestone-Boulogne route, and fitted in a style similar to the British pullmans.
For the vast majority of (non-VSOE) sailings, however, the lounge was set aside for the use of motorists, who were provided with special tickets to gain access and latterly, obtain a free drink. The style of the lounge was quite unique on any cross-channel ferry and remains so on the
Penelope A. The oval tables with their characteristic slant remain, although the metal ring hovering above the table tops (to protect passengers against flying complimentary tea and coffee cups on stormy Channel crossings) has disappeared.
BELOW: The VSOE Lounge in the Sealink British Ferries days. The seats have been reupholstered, but that aside the space is almost entirely unchanged since the move to Greece.
ABOVE: On either beam of the former VSOE Lounge are these banks of fixed seating. This is the view on the Penelope A on the port side, with the side lounge astern visible through the door in the background.
ABOVE: The forward end of the lounge reflected the curve of the ship's forward superstructure. Regrettably, the original windows overlooking the forecastle (which admittedly were almost permanently obscured by protective weather covers) were concealed in 1986 by these display cases showcasing duty free goods. The picture is from the Penelope A in 2004.
BELOW: A tatty image, but one showing the same space in the late 1980s when the forward seating was blue.
ABOVE: At the aft end of the lounge is this bar servery, installed at the 1986 refit. Since the Hellas Ferries days, this has assumed the everest brand name.
BELOW: The bar counter as it was in its VSOE heyday.
BELOW: The VSOE conversion involved the addition of significant amounts of dark wooden panelling, and much of this remains today, as seen in this view of a section on the port side of the Penelope A's Macedonia Lounge.
BELOW: Sealink publicity material from 1986 celebrating the launch of the VSOE/Motorist's Lounge.
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