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|ON BOARD THE PENELOPE A (ex-HORSA)
|ABOVE & BELOW: Leaving the former Mercia Bar and heading astern, just across the forward lobby on A Deck on the Penelope A can be found this small snack bar (above - looking across to port with the door from the lobby to the right). Originally the waiter service restaurant (below), tracing the history of the Horsa through the changing use of this space can be quite illuminating, and certainly more productive than attempting to trace any reminders of previous usage in the area at present.
As built, the restaurant shared a galley with the cafeteria aft. With only 48 seats, it was a small but pleasant area of the ship with orange seating and more of the large windows that were a feature of the ship. As with the cafeteria, there was no direct sea view, the windows looking out onto the side promenades. For privacy's sake therefore, the thin white curtains were often kept firmly shut - they are just about discernable in the Sealink publicity picture below.
Post-privatisation Sealink were not particularly keen on offering waiter-service facilities on short-sea routes, and took the view that the space used by the restaurant could more profitably be used as an additional shopping outlet (the third on board). It consequently became a tax-free shop (as distinct from the B Deck midships Duty Free Supermarket and aft Gift Shop).
After moving to Greece, there was no need for these multiple shopping areas, so the Tax Free shop was again converted, this time to a lounge complete with snack bar, fitted out in a blue/purple colour scheme.
|Click here to continue the Penelope A/Horsa onboard tour
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|BELOW: The Tax-Free shop created in the location of the former restaurant - this Sealink view is looking across to starboard. During conversion for this new role, the old restaurant's six windows were plated over in the promenades on either side; with the windows now exposed again, the weld marks for these covers are clearly visible on the ship today.
|BELOW: Stretching along either side of A Deck from the forward lobby to the aft passenger deck seating are the long enclosed side promenades. The large openings for these are one of the more obvious external distinguishing feature of this class of ferry and provided a good opportunity to take the sea air for those wishing to avoid the worst the English Channel could throw at the ships. As built, there were few home comforts to be found here - fibreglass seating running along the inside bulkhead being the main divergence from bare painted steel apart from the inboard portholes which faced out from the restaurant areas inside on this deck.
Agoudimos Lines identified the potential for better use of these promenades aboard their newly-acquired Penelope A and after a couple of years of Greek service the large distinctive opening were enclosed by glass and converted in part for more productive use. Each was divided half way, with the forward sections now forming part of the Distinguished class accomodation. These areas were carpeted and received more formal tables and chairs in place of the fibreglass benches and were further refitted with new seating at the 2005 refit. The overall effect looks a little unusual, but new roofing panels and lighting mitigate to an extent the messy structural elements visible. The picture below, taken in 2004, is of what is now called the Andros Lounge, on the port side.
|BELOW: The same space as it appeared after the 2005 refit when it was fitted with new tables and sofa seating. (Picture courtesy Nikos Thrylos)
|BELOW: The forward section of the starboard promenade received the same new seating in 2005. The two windows visible on the right are those of the former waiter service restaurant. (Picture courtesy Nikos Thrylos)
|BELOW: Despite the enclosed windows, new midships doorway (separating the space from the forward Distinguished Class section and kept firmly locked) and free-standing chairs the aft part of the Penelope A's enclosed promenade decks retain the largely bare features with which the ship originally entered service. This view is on the port side.
|BELOW: Having successfully navigated their way astern through the side promenades, passengers can re-enter the main accommodation at the aft end of A Deck. Here they emerge into the aft upper lobby, seen looking across to starboard on the Penelope A in 2004. The stairs leading down head to the aft lobby on the deck below, whilst the doorway visible on the left hand side is the entrance to the self service restaurant (see next page).