THE DUTY FREE SHOP
matt@hhvferry.com
Hengist introduced a number of 'firsts' for Sealink, including the first on-board discotheque and being the first ship with the Sealink name painted on the hull. Perhaps the most important innovation in the long-term however was the self-service duty free supermarket. Located centrally amidships on B Deck, between the twin long side lounges and just forward of the tea bar, decor was almost entirely in white and was a stark departure from the counter-service shopping facilities offered on other members of the fleet. The ship didn't entirely abandon the old ways however and a pair of small separate counters were included at the forward entrance to the main shop for the sale of souvenirs (port side) and perfumes and gifts (starboard). Sister Senlac, for the longer Newhaven-Dieppe run, was completed with an attractive walk-through arcade of counter-service shops in the equivalent location. After a couple of seasons, the Hengist and Horsa would be similarly modified (officially due to "loss of bonded goods...together with congestion caused by "eye shopping" only passengers" (Sealink News, September 1975)). This thinking would however last only until the early 1980s when all three ships were re-fitted again with supermarket-style shops.
Top: The duty free shop seen prior to the ship entering service in 1972, looking aft. The simple white colour scheme can be seen, as can the fluorescent white lighting set flush with the corrugated Dampa deckhead panels.
Below: A view of the fully-stocked shop in its later years. The explosion in duty free shopping meant that the shops became rather cramped as increasing amounts of stock were squeezed into the limited space available.
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Below: After the ship's sale to Greece, the duty free shop was divided with a much smaller gift shop located in the forward starboard side whilst the entire aft half became a video games area, accessed through the old tea bar. This is a view of the forward lobby in 2003, with the shop accessed through the starboard (left) door only.
Below: Officially designated as a video games area, the aft half of the old shop should be accessed through these doors leading in the old tea bar - this is the view from the tea bar looking forward on a crossing in 2003, with the whole area looking distinctly shut with much BR and other old UK signage in evidence. The central twin doors are the pair just about visible in the background on the second picture above.
Below: Section from Hengist's original B Deck GA plan (stern is to the left) showing how the shop was located just aft of the forward lobby and between the two side lounges.
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e-mail: matt@hhvferry.com