Passengers’ Recreation Areas on the Titanic
It must have been a real pleasure for Titanic passengers to wander around the recreation areas on the ship. The Titanic’s recreation areas included the Boat deck, Turkish baths, smoking rooms, and other points of interest. (Of course, passengers could access some of these areas only if they had a certain class of ticket or were a certain gender.)
The Boat deck was the uppermost deck on the Titanic; it was so named because lifeboats were stored there. The Boat deck offered the only real open space on the ship. First- and second-class passengers could stroll, rest on benches, play quoits (a game similar to horseshoes), or simply lose themselves in quiet contemplation on the Boat deck.
Sixteen of the Titanic’s 20 lifeboats were fastened to the Boat deck. The Boat deck was the scene of confusion and terror on the night the Titanic sank, as frantic passengers were loaded onto the lifeboats and lowered some 70 feet to the frigid waters below.
Third-class passengers did their promenading on the Bridge (B) deck since they weren’t allows on the Boat deck. The Bridge deck was a platformlike poop deck located at the aft of the ship. However, they were obliged to share this crowded space with cargo and equipment.
First-class passengers had the use of the Titanic’s state-of-the-art gymnasium, which was located on the Boat deck. It included the usual dumbbells, rowing machines, and so on, as well as a mechanical horse and mechanical camel. The cost to use the gymnasium was one shilling (about 25 cents), to be paid to Thomas McCawley, the on-site gymnasium steward, who dressed in white flannels.
These rooms were exclusively male. Each class had its own smoking room:
First-class: On the Titanic’s Promenade (A) deck, modeled after a London men’s club; dark and intimate, with mahogany paneling and leather chairs.
Second-class: A deck below (on the Bridge, or B, deck); had a linoleum floor and furniture upholstered in green Moroccan leather.
Third-class: Another deck below (on the Shelter, or C, deck); austere compared to the other smoking rooms, it had wooden benches and chairs.
It almost goes without saying, but alcoholic beverages were imbibed in all three smoking rooms, and all three smoking rooms doubled as card parlors.
Reading and Writing Room
The female counterpart to the smoking rooms was the Reading and Writing Room located on the Promenade (A) deck and available to first-class passengers only. This room’s comfortable chairs, white paneling, bay window, and fireplace made for a relaxing place to write a letter or read a novel.
First-class passengers also had the Lounge, a luxurious room on the Promenade (A) deck meant for socializing. This rich, oak-paneled room had alcoves where passengers could talk to one another with a degree of privacy. Lounge decorations were modeled after the Palace of Versailles. Coffee, tea, and liquor were served in the Lounge.
Verandah Café and Palm Courts
Also on the Promenade (A) deck, first-class passengers could avail themselves of the Verandah Café and Palm Courts. The large windows, wicker furniture, trelliswork, potted plants, and checkered floors in these rooms suggested being in the English countryside. First-class children favored the Verandah Café and often went there to play together.
Although it was called the Library, this expansive room really served as a lounge for second-class passengers. It included comfortable chairs and tables for writing or playing cards, as well as shelves of books.
The Titanic offered its first-class passengers a heated saltwater swimming pool. It was located on the Middle (F) deck. Passengers could change in the dressing rooms and take showers in the stalls along the side of the pool.
The Titanic boasted exclusive, first-class and men-only Turkish baths. Male first-class passengers who paid the $1 fee could visit the rooms with hot, temperate, and cool temperatures; a steam room; a private toilet; and even a shampooing room. The Turkish baths also offered a freshwater drinking fountain (made of marble) and featured ornate tiles in the Arabic style and comfortable lounge chairs where passengers could rest.
For vigorous exercise, the Titanic offered its first-class passengers the use of a squash court. After paying the attendant two shillings (about 50 cents), you were given a racquet, a ball, and an opponent or two if you didn’t bring your own. The squash court was located on the Lower deck. To the players’ backs was an observation gallery where spectators could watch the games.