Olympic A Deck Promenade


Mark Ling

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Apr 12, 2005
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It well know that Titanic was modified with enclosed forward promenade decks after Olympic passengers had complained of being drenched by ocean spray during poor weather. However - apart from the obvious wish not to modify the Olympic in a way that would make her more visually similar to her ill fated sister ship - were there any other subsequent modifications carried out on Olympic to overcome this problem ?
 
Jul 11, 2001
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The Olympic had many refits for improvements. The biggest were the addition of the Cafe Parisian like the Titanic and the widening of the Ala Carte restaurant to the port side. B-Deck suites were added forward of the Main grand staircase where the enclosed promenade was. The Reading and writing room on A-deck was made smaller to allow for several more staterooms to be added.

All of these features were based on the success of the Titanic. The B-deck enclosed promenade between the two staircases was left because so much boat deck space was lost when they added the additional lifeboats.
 
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Mark Ling

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David, many thanks for your posting and explanation about Olympic's refits. I have always been puzzled as to why Britannic was modified with an enclosed promenade desk but Olympic never was. Was this because Britannic's superior size, plus revised davits & lifeboat lay out allowed for the promenade deck to be enclosed (where as Olympic's layout was restrictive) ?
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hello Mark,

Almost five years ago now, the question came up on another thread and Bill Sauder wrote a reply, at:

https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/10244/4649.html?1065704658

The main part runs as follows:

‘Pro:

1. Novelty - Glass enclosed promenades were just coming into being and it was the last word in modernity.

2. Protection - Perhaps more from wind than spray since by all accounts Olympic was a "dry" ship and Lusitania a "wet" one, i.e., she threw a lot of spray.

3. Identity - Without this obvious modification, Olympic and Titanic would be almost identical.

4. Variety - 1st class passengers had the choice of a stroll under the stars (boat deck), sheltered (aft prom) or enclosed (forward prom). It is good salesmanship to give your customers a choice, even though the choice is meaningless.

5. Size - Ismay may have hoped that the enclosed promenade decks would be included in the ship's gross tonnage calculation, thus increasing the ship's size as a hedge against the Imperator class coming out the following year. (Gross tonnage survey laws, like tax laws, are very subjective. Owners of very large ships will occasionally petition for a re-survey hoping to INCREASE the size of their ship for publicity. Since port taxes are assessed on the basis of gross tonnage, the surveyors were probably pretty open minded, since you can never pay too much in taxes.)

Con:

1. Cost - White Star was being hit hard with the costs of new lifeboats, davits, bulkheads, etc., The cost of enclosing the promenade deck probably could not be justified.

2. Impairment of the value of Prom deck Cabins - Remember that the block of cabins forward on Prom deck looked out directly onto the walkway. When that walkway was open to the sea, those cabins all had a view and WS could charge more for it. After the side screen windows went up in Titanic, that view of the sea was for practical purposes eliminated and these expensive rooms looked into what was now practically a service hallway. WS might have gotten complaints in the matter.

3. Identity - The enclosed Promenade deck would now make Olympic look almost exactly like Titanic. This was certainly not desirable now. WS was so desperate to put the Titanic behind them that when the Britannic's specification book was drafted, citations referring to Olympic mention her by name but references to Titanic only specify her hull number... "Arranged as per 401"

Bill Sauder’
With regard to the reports about Olympic’s passengers complaining of the sea’s spray, I don’t recall having read any first-hand accounts.

At least once, around 1929, White Star considered proposals to enclose part of Olympic’s promenade, but they decided against it. I don’t see that the expense could have been justified, or that there was any significant demand for an enclosed promenade area on A-deck [renamed the ‘promenade deck’ by 1929], since there was a significant enclosed promenade amidships on B-deck [renamed ‘A’-deck by 1929].

David’s post is quite correct with regard to some of the changes Olympic experienced during her life. However, to clarify matters a little, the Café Parisian and a la carte restaurant extension were completed in 1913; it wasn’t until 1928 that the suites forward on B-deck were extended to the ship’s sides. However, the reading and writing room was reduced in size in 1913.

With regard to the Britannic, in my view the enclosed promenade deck — modelled on Titanic’s — could be installed without worry, as the new davits allowed more open space on the boat deck. Meanwhile, although the B-deck suites amidships were expanded, there remained a promenade area forward on B-deck enclosed from the sea air. There is more to it but I have to cut this post short.

I hope this is of some interest.

Best regards,

Mark.
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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It's also be suggested Mark that they recycled material used on A deck from parts removed from her B deck when it was altered.

Steve
 
Jan 5, 2001
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Hi Steve,

Do you mean the deck designations, and any accompanying signs? I've long thought it would make sense to recycle them, and move the 'A'-deck lettering down to B-deck. If I remember rightly, the decks retained their 'names' -- like promenade, bridge, shelter deck, etc. -- so it makes sense as an economy measure. I'm afraid I didn't quite follow your meaning?

Best wishes,

Mark.
 

Steven Hall

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Dec 17, 2008
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Yes mark (above).
Additionally, I believe the A deck screens had been built up from those (orginal launch) screens taken from B Deck in June 1911.

Steve
 

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