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|ON BOARD THE PENELOPE A (ex-HORSA) continued
|BELOW: Leaving the forward lounge on B Deck, passengers head up to the upper of the two passenger decks (A Deck) via the main forward staircase off the forward lobby. This features the three-deck high fibreglass mural by the famous Czech sculptor Franta Belsky, essentially identical to that on board the Horsa's sister ships Hengist and Senlac, although featuring a different feature panel specific to the ship. This view from the Penelope A in 2004 is of the stairwell from the boat deck, looking across to port and down to A Deck. The mural is to the left but sadly the feature panel depicting the warlord Horsa himself was replaced by a mirror in the first spell of Agoudimos service. The mural has been repainted largely light pink and cream, but in UK service this was mid-blue with the detail picked out in gold (see below).
|Click here to continue the Penelope A/Horsa onboard tour
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|BELOW: Detail of the Belsky mural on Penelope A.
|BELOW: A picture taken on Hengist in 1972 showing the original colour scheme applied to these murals. The transparent balustrade panels, which were used throughout the staircases on the three sisters, remain on each today. As built, the ships featured wood effect panelling on the undersides of the staircases.
|ABOVE & BELOW: Having reached A Deck, the forwardmost passenger space is the main Distinguished Class bar (the Kefalonia Lounge) on the Penelope A, once the Horsa's Mercia Bar. As built, this was possibly the most stylish of the ship's saloons, although it suffered slightly from a rather fussy refurbishment in 1986. In Greek waters, the lounge is essentially unchanged from this refit, although a somewhat cluttered colour scheme does its best to detract from this fact. These views are looking aft on the starboard side (above) and forward to the bar servery (below)
|BELOW: As built in 1972 the bar was rather more self-assuredly fitted out with large circular light fixtures rising from the semi-circular booths. The lights were removed even before the 1986 refits, but the arrangement of booths is retained to this day. This picture is from either Horsa or sister Senlac, which had a similar colour scheme.
|BELOW: The Mercia Bar as it was after the 1986 refit with the slightly kitsch light fittings which were fitted at this stage and still remain. At the same refit, the small coffee lounge just aft of the bar itself was merged into the larger space, thus creating an increased seating area for drinkers. From the very start of the sisters' careers, a detail differentiation was made with the Horsa's bar being finished in red with the Hengist's Wessex Bar in green.
|BELOW: The bar counter on Penelope A...
|BELOW: ...basically unchanged from the same area seen here on Hengist after the 1986 refit converted the bars into "English-style pubs" which also served hot food and bar snacks. Today one can sample one of Everest's classic "Sausage Pies" (sausage rolls).
|ABOVE & BELOW: The extension of the Wessex Bar in 1986 meant the loss of the intimate Coffee Lounge just aft. This was originally fitted to provide passengers enjoying the service of the waiter service restaurant just aft with a space to retire for coffee having completed their meals. This would then free up space in the relatively small restaurant space for further passengers to be served if necessary. The restaurant itself also disappeared at the same time: with the ships no longer making the slightly longer Folkestone-Oostende crossings, it was felt that the number of passengers demanding full waiter service on the Boulogne crossing was minimal.
The inter-relationship between the three areas is seen (below) in this extract from the Hengist's original General Arrangement plan. The picture (above) shows the Coffee Lounge with its similar booth seats to the Mercia Bar, and with a series of wildlife prints on the bulkheads.