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The Private Promenade

The Private Promenades were a unique feature on Titanic as an addition to two of her Parlour Suites. The Parlour suites were four luxurious suites of rooms located in first class on B and C deck. All including two bedrooms each with a walk-in wardrobe. A private bathroom/WC room, and a private sitting room; all interconnecting and lavishly decorated to the highest standard.

These rooms were the best rooms on the ship and arguably the best rooms on the seas and the White Star Line reserved them for only the best at a very exclusive rate.

1911 Plan of Olympic and Titanic B deck before the alterations

Olympic's B deck enclosed Promenade outside the forward Grand Staircase entrance and gangway doors


Titanic was not always destined to have such additions to her Parlour suites. She was originally designed to be exactly the same as her older sister Olympic. This consisted of the B deck Parlour suites looking out onto a public first class enclosed promenade that ran the full length of the B deck superstructure.

In the late summer of 1911, shortly after Titanic's Launch. It was decided to scrap the first class B deck enclosed promenade as it proved underused on Olympic.

This proposed pushing the first class cabins on this deck into the promenade space and up against the sides of the ship. This then made room to build new 'inside' cabins and bathrooms behind.

With doing this, Harland & Wolff had to remove the Utleys sliding glass promenade windows to replace them with more appropriate windows for passenger cabins. The B deck superstructure walls were altered and the steel work replaced with the new slimmer windows configured to the new layout.

A Utleys sliding promenade window concept for Olympic.

B Deck however was a prominent embarking/disembarking deck for first class, and the gangway doors were already in the perfect location to do this.

This meant having to retain the existing gangway doors and preserving part of the original B deck promenade for access.

It was decided to not move the B deck Parlour suites from their original position and keep the promenade in this area. It is quite possible that the Parlour suite and Grand Staircase walls were already built at the time of the alteration decision was made and therefore easier or cheaper to retain them.

Either way, this left the original promenade in this area, keeping the original Utley sliding glass promenade windows and the gangway doors.

Titanic in June 1911 receiving her B deck alterations. The original windows for the new promenade are left untouched.

Too short to function as an enclosed passenger promenade, and exposing the Parlour suites to be overlooked, it was eventually decided to close off most of the promenade to the Parlour suites and give them complete access as part of the suite with a private door from the sitting room. Thus the Private Promenade was born.

This was a radical concept at the time, and Titanic was one of the first ships for a suite to have its very own promenade or balcony.

The remaining part that lead to the Grand Staircase would be retained as a boarding entrance, as well as providing light and air to the staircase entrance.

Titanic in June 1911 receiving her B deck window alterations

The prospective Parlour suites had to be remodeled to incorporate the new promenades. The sitting room layout was mostly affected as the fireplace was moved to the forward adjacent wall to make way for the new promenade access door. The furniture too had to be placed to fit the adjusted layout as well as the woodwork paneling and carvings.

Furthermore the new suites had to be re-branded for an even more exclusive passenger that may have required to be anonymous or travel in complete privacy. The new promenade could allow a passenger to not have to leave their suite, even for fresh air. Perfect for Royalty, Politicians, and Celebrities.

Titanic's new B deck layout showing the new Parlour suites with their Private Promenades and the boarding entrances

The Private Promenades

Artwork by RMSTitanic.Design

The new promenades measured 15ft wide and 50ft long (4.5m x 15m) running the full length of the suite. It was decided to decorate the promenades instead of leaving them as intended from the Olympic design. This was to further embellish these new exclusive suites to the expectations of the prospective clientele, and to justify an increase in fare rates.

Both promenades were decorated in the Elizabethan Tudor style, with exposed wooden beams. The dado panels were treated with a pebbled effect and painted a dark green, with the upper panels painted white. Each promenade was illuminated with twelve lamps in brass sockets. The promenades were also fitted with two Prometheus electric heaters covered with pierced brass panels to keep passengers warm in the cold mid Atlantic.

Both promenades were fitted with a pair of double doors on the forward side that lead to the new boarding entrances. This was provided so passengers could have direct access to their suite at the moment of boarding. We know that these doors were open when boarding in Southampton as Father Browne took a photograph of one of the promenades and accidentally exposed it under another photograph.

A photograph of Titanic's port side private promenade

The Promenades were provided with a quantity of wicker furniture, mainly placed on the inboard wall side. The furniture included three tables 30in square, two settees 6ft 6in long, five armchairs, five chairs, and three wicker deck chairs. Placed in each corner were potted plant holders with small trees.

Despite having the same articles of furniture, each promenade had the furniture arranged differently. This was because the starboard promenade had its own gangway service door.

Starboard Promenade Gangway Door

On the starboard side promenade a service gangway door was added. This was not a remnant feature from the original design, instead was an addition, which raises the question of why it was added to the private promenade?

The door took the original place of the second to last Utleys sliding window and was added after the B deck window reconfiguration as a revised alteration.

The door was the same width of the original Utleys window with the original hole cut down to floor level to create the door opening.

Illustration of the starboard side showing the promenade position and private gangway door.

A new private gangway door was added and hidden behind a pair of double doors from the inside of the promenade.

As these new suites were designed for a type of passenger that possibly required anonymity and privacy, this door gave them an option to embark/disembark without being noticed or without having to wait. This would have been true especially in New York as the ship would have been berthed on the starboard side. Its a subtle and yet clever design feature that would have given Titanic the edge in transporting VIPs.

A photograph of Titanic starboard private promenade looking through the double doors from the boarding entrance.

Private Promenade Uses

The Promenade had various uses even if just to use as a personal outdoor space, or mini private deck for promenading.

These promenades were ideal for parties with fellow passengers, inviting them back for card games and drinks.

It was a space for the occupying passenger to enjoy breakfast or afternoon tea, or simply just to relax in peace and read a book.

The type of passenger occupying these suites would likely have a 'long gallery' in their historic homes. A long narrow room popular in Elizabethan and Jacobean times, that would function as a corridor or sun room with large windows illuminating the space. Its not hard to see the parallels between the long galleries and the private promenades.

Titanic's Passengers

On Titanic, Suite B52, 54, 56 was provisionally booked for J P Morgan, the owner of the White Star Line. But he cancelled last minute and the Chairman, Bruce Ismay decided to occupy the suite instead. As upper management, they probably wanted to experience these suites out for themselves.

The opposite suite B51, 53, 55 was occupied by The Cardeza family, mother and son travelling back to America after a safari holiday in Africa. They boarded Titanic in Cherbourg and paid £512 6s 7d (£40,049.00 today) for this suite.

Artwork by RMSTitanic.Design, showing Sitting room B51 looking out to the Private Promenade

Olympic & Britannic

The private promenades on Titanic was seen as a successful addition to the Parlour suites that Britannic, the third sister, was too to receive them. However, Britannic was to only receive the Titanic concept on the port side Parlour suite and the starboard side was to receive a complete redesign and have a much smaller private promenade.

Artwork by RMSTitanic.Design, showing a plan of Britannic's B deck starboard Parlour Suite (renamed Regal Suite) with redesigned layout.

Olympic never received the private promenades as her design would have been too impracticable to include them. This would split the existing promenade separating the forward Grand Staircase entrance from the aft and effectively creating four separate promenades. Olympic was never considered for the B deck reconfiguration like Titanic and kept her B deck enclosed promenade.

The very forward promenade did however get reconfigured later in her career to create new cabins that extended out to the sides of the ship in an attempt to compete with a new modern market.

In Popular Culture

Its arguably a feature that inspired the balconies that are so popular on modern cruise ships. Even though balconies didn't become popular until the 1980s, there is an element of the glamour of Titanic with having a private outdoor space.

James Cameron's 1997 movie, Titanic, featured the private promenade as part of the lead characters suite. Rose Dewitt Bukater and her fiance occupied the Parlour suite and the private promenade was featured in a few scenes.

1997 Move Titanic, Rose and Cal Breakfast scene in the private promenade.

Many people think of the private promenade when thinking of Titanic first class travel. Its always the first image to come from recreations, museums or proposed replicas. It has become one of the most famous rooms on Titanic and still fuels imaginations today.

Written by Chris Walker from RMSTitanic.Design



A space allocated to a ship at anchor in a port


To leave a ship after a voyage


To board a ship before a voyage

Gangway door

An opening to a ship for boarding, usually sealed when closed


Left side of a ship


A deck for passengers to stroll leisurely, to parade and show-off as well as to enjoy the outside and socialise.


Right side of a ship


Part of the ship that is built above the main hull. On Titanic it refers to the white part ontop of the black hull.


Utleys Windows were a company providing a window type. In this case it refers to the roller sliding windows on A and B deck.

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