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|THE B DECK SIDE LOUNGES, SHOPPING ARCADE & TEA BAR
|Senlac entered service with a very different arrangement of the centre section on B Deck compared to Hengist and Horsa.
On either beam all three retained traditional BR side lounges with fixed seating linked by a central tea bar. However, whereas the Folkestone ships featured a then innovative self-service Duty Free shop, forward of the tea bar, the Senlac was given a walk-through shopping arcade which led from the forward lobby aft, again to the tea bar. This was fitted with four conventional counter-service shops. 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 with supermarket-style shops, in the case of Senlac this happening at the February 1983 refit in Holyhead. At some stage Sealink also converted the tea bar for use as a boutique shop.
Upon moving to Greece, the shopping centre was eventually stripped out and converted into a video games area. In latter years however this has fallen into disuse and the space is now effectively void and closed off. The side lounges meanwhile form a major part of the ship's accommodation and in the late 1990s were refitted with new seating and laminate flooring. The boutique in the former tea bar area remains in use as the only shopping outlet now available on board.
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|Below: The same area on the Express Apollon in 2003 - this time looking aft from the forward lobby. With the shops and cabinets on either side stripped out when Sealink converted the space to a supermarket, it was latterly used by the Greeks as a video games area. This has now ceased and the area is now officially closed to the public.|
|Below: A more recent Greek refit has seen the area comprehensively refitted with new seating, flooring and even ceiling panels. This scene is in the port-side lounge - whereas originally there was face-to-face seating around small tables, this arrangement has been replaced with reclining seats throughout. The only recognisible fitting are the framed advertising panels (left). (Picture courtesy Richard Seville)|
|Below: The starboard lounge has been similarly refitted.|
|Below: The original tea bar which linked the two side lounges later served as a boutique while the ship was still in Sealink service. Accessed now only from the port lounge, this is the view looking from the starboard side, with the BR corporate Rail Alphabet typeface an immediate give-away of the ship's origins.|
|Top: The walk-through shopping arcade on Senlac as built, looking forward. This was an attractive space with four separate counter-service outlets with cabinets on either beam in between the counters filled with displays of goods for sale.|
|Below: With the shopping area (forward), tea bar (centre) and offices and service areas (aft) in between them, the side lounges on B Deck provided high capacity as well as forming the main link between the forward and aft parts of the ship's accomodation. This view is of one of the lounges on Hengist or Horsa in its original condition, identical to Senlac. Luggage racks were slung beneath the deckhead for use by the thousands of foot passengers these ships carried, whilst on the inboard bulkhead were advertising panels promoting mainly wares on sale in the shops, other Sealink promotions or items of local interest.|
|Above: The starboard side lounge on Apollo Express during the Ventouris era in the early 1990s. The lounge is essentially unchanged, including the original luggage racks, despite the unflattering colour scheme. (Picture courtesy Richard Seville)|