e-mail: matt@hhvferry.com
Top: The Oujda berthed at Nador in August 2005.
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The two main passenger decks are almost entirely untouched: on the lower, Deck 8, the rather pleasant restaurant is aft with the cafeteria just ahead, complete with a separate drivers’ area to starboard (now used by crew) and large paintings entitled “Scenes of London” and “Scenes of Paris”. This is essentially the original layout, although for a time in the Townsend Thoresen years the aft area was used for additional passenger seating and the restaurant re-sited in the area later allocated to drivers; this change was later reversed. Forward of the amidships lobby is the largely open-plan forward lounge with reception desk at its aft end to port, shopping centre and playroom along the starboard side and a Coffee Bar (out of use) and bar over to port. Right forward large windows overlook the forecastle. On Deck 9 above, crew areas are found astern with the former Club Class lounge forward. This was originally an area of cabins before these were stripped out by Townsend Thoresen in the mid-1980s and Club Class created. The forward section of the lounge, still complete with a large painting of Old Portsmouth has had the reclining seats removed and a dance floor put in, although this area was largely unused during this crossing. In the upper lobby outside Club Class, the noticeboard had a handily-placed weather report; unfortunately this was dated 22 September 2002 and covered the English Channel. Deck 9 is encircled by a promenade, including a large forward viewing platform where the notice in English “beware sudden smoke emissions” near the adjacent forward exhaust installed in 1986 has been translated but still catches out the unwary. The original Aalborg builder’s plate can also still be found here. Back inside, the two upper seating lounges towards the stern on Deck 10 still remain, although the aft of the pair, added fairly early in the ship’s career and designated a cinema, remained firmly shut throughout.
Part One: Oujda
Sète - Nador
2006 pictures © matt@hhvferry.com
Above and below: The same space when the ship was delivered as Viking Venturer in 1974 (above) and after being slightly refitted in the 1980s (below).
Above: A P&O image of the Pride of Hampshire's restaurant as it appeared after the late 1980s refit when it became the 'Captain's Carvery' (latterly the Captain's Buffet').
Above: The Oujda's aft restaurant.
Above and below: Two further views on board the ship as the Oujda.
Above: Looking astern in the restaurant on the Oujda showing the associated bar area.
Above: An overall view, looking astern, in the Oujda's cafeteria with the walk-through servery on the left.
Above and below: The forward end of the cafeteria seating area with (left) the matching paintings entitled "Scenes of Paris" and "Scenes of London" (below).
Above and below: The cafeteria servery area on the Oujda (above) and just after it was modernised by P&O in the late 1980s (below), where it was latterly known as 'Fore 'n' Afters'.
Above: The entrance to the cafeteria, with the Moroccan flag now prominent.
Above: The central lobby on Deck 8.
Above and below: Looking forward in the main lounge with the reception desk on the left and the shop on the right. Only a token effort has been made to conceal the ship's former identity!
Above: Looking aft in the forward lounge, with the bar area on the right.
Above: When the Viking Venturer entered service, the bar seating was partitioned off from the rest of the lounge.
Above and below: The bar counter on a Super Viking in the early 1980s (above), and after a refit to bring it in line with P&O European Ferries' standards in the late 1980s (below).
Above: The Oujda retains the main elements from the latter refit to this day.
Above and below: One of the central seating areas on the Oujda (above) and on the starboard side on the Viking Venturer in 1974 (below), before the addition of the childrens' play area and extension of the shopping facilities.