The First Class Promenade was a First Class area on A Deck. The Promenade was accessible via the Grand Staircase or the Aft Grand Staircase, the sliding doors leading from the Palm Court, or through a stairway leading down from the Officers' Promenade on the Boat Deck.
The Promenade Deck encircled the whole of A-Deck and together with the middle part of the Boat Deck constituted the outdoor space for First-Class passengers to enjoy the sea air and take exercise. Grand First-Class public rooms with their large bay windows, like the Smoking Room and Lounge, characterize the aft end of the Promenade. The forward end is distinguished by the stateroom windows which lined the walls along either side, with their heavy bronze frames and etched glass panes. Parts of this deck were as wide as 30 ft. and sheltered alcoves at points along the deck were used to store the dozens of folded teak deckchairs which passengers could rent during the voyage.
The aft end of the Promenade was a large open air space flanked by two large cargo cranes. This part of the deck was installed with wooden slatted wrought iron benches from where passengers could enjoy views of the stern and the sea. Francis Browne took several photos of this area on the Titanic, including a famous one of 6 year old Douglas Spedden spinning a top with his father. A key distinguishing feature between the Titanic and her sister ship is the Titanic's enclosed forward Promenade Deck, which was installed as protection against the elements and to reinforce a part of the ship prone to heavy vibration. Both had proven to be issues on board the Olympic.
Deck chairs and steamer rugs could be rented at the Purser's Office for 4 shillings/1 dollar each, which applied for the entire voyage. Stewards would bring broth and hot drinks for passengers to enjoy if requested. Oftentimes a passenger could spend the entire day relaxing and reading in his/her deck chair. The Promenade Deck was popular for playing games like shuffleboard, deck quoits, dominoes, and chess, which could be obtained from the Quartermaster.
The middle part of the Boat Deck also served as a 200 ft. long open air promenade for First-Class passengers between the Officer's Promenade at the forward end and the Second-Class Promenade further aft. The Gymnasium was located on the Starboard side and the raised roof of the Lounge, 82 ft. above the waterline, functioned as a large sun deck where deckchairs could be set up. This part of the deck was occupied by only four of the Titanic's 20 lifeboats, which were swung out to the side of the ship at the beginning of the voyage to leave the decks totally uncluttered for the First-Class.
The deck chairs from Titanic, 614 in all between the First and Second-Class areas, have become some of the most recognizable artifacts from the liner. Chief Baker Charles Joughin described throwing dozens overboard from the Promenade Deck during the sinking to be used as flotation devices; passing ships in the weeks after the sinking encountered islands of floating debris including deck chairs. About 10 of Titanic's deck chairs are known today, including one in the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia and one in the Museum of the City of New York.
Passengers could be served hot Bullion, Bovril, Hot Chocolate, Grog or Tea from a Deck Steward.
On the Olympic, the A Deck promenade was open the entire length. Later, a wall was added near the stairway, that lead to the Boat Deck,to prevent sea spray. The B Deck promenade originally ran the entire length of the B Deck superstructure. Later, the space between the forward B Deck promenade and forward Grand Staircase was filled in with cabins.
On the Britannic, the A Deck promenade had the forward end of the promenade enclosed. As a hospital ship, the forward A Deck promenades were used as wards for the lightly wounded. Also, the A Deck promenade was separated by a metal wall amidships, which separated the forward promenade from the aft promenade. The Forward B Deck promenade was also used as wards for the lightly wounded. This forward promenade stopped just forward of the Parlor Suites.