Thanks for all the wonderful stories and pictures.
And some incredible videos of her now hhvferry - looking quite battered, but perhaps she was always a bit like that and nostalgia is getting the better of me. But amazing to think she's still running nearly 50 years on.
I know she in the grand scheme of things wasn't particularly exciting - but every ship enthusiast has that one ship, probably the one that made them a ship enthusiast, and for me it's this one (all be it when she was St Clair!)
From what I've been able to gather, when P&O took her over, they installed new passenger cabins mid and forward on what I'll forever know as 'D' Deck. They put in larger windows for the new cabins, however the smaller windows remained at at the stern for the crew cabins.
They split the forward lounge on 'C Deck' into two, with the starboard side becoming a cinema. They covered the forward facing windows on this side. I never knew if it was permanent or just the winter covers on all year round as I'm almost certain the glass was still there. But in any recent photo I've seen on her, the same setup exists, so I presume it was permanent.
On the same deck they reduced the width of the what was a full width cafeteria at the stern, to only be on the starboard side, to allow for an extra number of cabins on the port side. These were great cabins to get for the 14 hour trip to Lerwick as they had HUGE windows as they were formally windows form the cafeteria.
And finally they welded shut the bow of the ship (and presumably the side ramps too) as she was only ever a stern loader on the Lerwick / Aberdeen run. I'd heard a few stories over the years that they had leaking issues when they first took her over so just decided to weld it up shut, particularly with the harsh conditions of the north sea. Presumably the Estonia disaster a few years later may have seen that happen anyway. She had some ugly side sponsons added in 1995 which I believe was a result of that.