2: Boat Deck cafeteria & ro-ro lounge
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Above: Aft of the forward bar was the main self-service restaurant, with an adjacent ro-ro lounge tucked in on the port side. As built, this open-plan midships lounge and griddle provided space for some 283 passengers with large, black high-backed swivel chairs surrounding circular tables as well as bench seating and rectangular tables against a series of dividing glass screens. There was a separate, square-shaped passport office centrally located on the starboard side, facing the port-side servery which fronted the galley. The galley area ran along the port-side bulkhead from the forward stairwell to a point just below the aft of the port funnel. Beyond this, also on the port side, was the square-shaped driver's lounge. More space was available in a pair of starboard-side lounges with aircraft-style seating. The picture above on board the new St Anselm shows the distinctive large chairs which proved popular with Sealink designers of the period. The view is at the aft end of the cafeteria seating area, facing the information desk. The distinctive cylindrical light fixtures which were present in many parts of the accomodation seem to have disappeared from the self-service area after the 1988 refit.
Above & below: The original layout of the self-service restaurant does not appear to have been at all satisfactory and this entire section of the ships was completely stripped-out and rebuilt just seven years after the twins entered service, in the 1987/88 refits. The new cafeteria areas emerged with the favoured Sealink British Ferries' "free-flow" buffet, The Pantry.
Sealink were in the process of building a more consistent image across the local fleet at this time, and the fittings of much of the new area were similar to those aboard
Hengist and Horsa after their 1986 refits. The large servery area was a rather different matter - Sealink constantly pleaded with passengers not to queue, requesting that they amble around the serving area, picking up their food and drink before heading for the cash register to pay. This might have worked on a lightly-loaded sailing, but queues inevitably began to form at the hot food counter, which frequently extended back out and into the main passageways, undermining the whole process! The pictures however show the Pantry servery areas as they were meant to be, from posed Sealink publicity pictures of the late 1980s. The lack of other customers mean these happy passengers have plenty of time to consider their purchases before proceeding to the tills for payment... the reality was rather different!
Above & below: The Commercial Drivers' lounge was located on the port side amidships, just aft of the main self-service servery area. This space was uprated in the 1980s refits, although it remained in its original location. The lounge had capacity for 48 people and was fitted with a bar and separate catering facilities. Other features in this self-contained area included television, coffee maker and toilets plus an emergency door which doubled as dart board!
Above: Another original picture, facing forward diagonally. This view is from towards the stern of the central lounge area and one of the two starboard side lounges can be seen on the far side. The glass partitions seen repeating into the distance forward were quite widely-used on board.
Above: A closer view of one of the side lounge areas, which provided additional, more traditional, seating for the self-service restaurant in addition to that offerred in the centre section.
Above: A final view of this area in its original guise, this time showing the forward portion, with the galley behind the bulkhead to the left whilst the staircase in the background is the port-side forward stairwell. The 'throne' like chairs were removed at the 1983 refit and replaced by more conventional seating.
Above: A different post-1988 view, this time looking aft on the starboard side, an area once occupied by the fixed upright seating pictured previously. The new furniture can just about be seen in the background, the previously-mentioned similarity with that on Hengist and Horsa showing in the free-standing metal chairs upholstered in red. This seating area as well as that just forward (behind the photographer) was latterly filled with reclining seating on board the Stena Cambria although this was removed when the ship returned to the Channel in 1996.
Above: A view of the seating area of the Pantry Cafeteria aboard Stena Antrim in the 1990s - the fittings and layout are identical to those of Stena Cambria (see below), although the seating in this case is red. Picture courtesy Gary Andrews
Above: A final picture, this time several years later when the former St Anselm had become Stena Line's Stena Cambria. The layout remains basically the same, but the seating has been refurbished and the area is no longer 'The Pantry' but rather the 'Globetrotter Self Service'. This would later be rebranded once more under P&O Stena Line to become an 'International Food Court' although there would again be no further refurbishment. The metalwork dividing the seating areas was standard Pantry detailing.
Above: Just astern of the forward bar was a Mother & Baby room of which Sealink appears to have been particularly proud. On-board guides proclaimed this was "Just the place for changing dirty nappies or feeding hungry mouths" whilst Sealink News reported that it was stocked with "a selection of baby care products on advice from Boots, the Chemist, including sterlising equipment, bottle warmer, high chair, toilet, washing and changing facilities as well as a free supply of babycare items". These facilities were subsequently relocated to a small room just aft of the information desk during the 1980s refits.