|ABOVE: The oval-shaped forward section of the cafeteria featured fixed tables with bench-type seating against the forward bulkhead and moulded fibreglass seating facing. The deep windows created by the exaggerated oval shape are also visible. The fixed tables extended all the way around the oval (with longer curved ones at the acute ends to port and starboard). Just out of view to the right of the picture (in the centre of the oval) were more tables with free-standing seats.|
|ABOVE: The internal division of the ship in Greek service into Distinguished Class on the upper passenger deck and Economic Class on the lower meant the cafeteria/restaurant area was substantially changed. The oval restaurant was swept away and a new division of the 'L'-shaped space achieved: a small restaurant being located in the aft part of the former main cafeteria area to port, whilst the former oval and the forward portion of the port side cafeteria made a new truncated 'L'-shaped lounge. Both restaurant and lounge were for the use of distinguished class passengers, although by 2004, the Nisos Limnos appeared to be running as a one-class ship with both adjacent areas closed off to passengers.
The picture above is a night-time scene on board Express Milos in 2001 showing the forward part of the lounge in the location of the oval space, looking to port, with the forward facing windows to the right. The lounge had been refitted in a variety of pastel colours, with armchairs nested around low circular tables whilst the windows are in this view hidden behind pastel yellow curtains.
|Further details of the following areas are available on separate pages:
The A Deck Britannia Bar and Verandah Bar
The B Deck Forward Lounge
The B Deck Side Lounges
The B Deck Aft Garage (later Aft lounge)
The C Deck passenger cabins
Outside Deck Space
The Train/Vehicle decks
|Forward on A Deck was the main cafeteria/restaurant area on Vortigern. This was an 'L'-shaped space running along the port side ahead of A Deck's forward lobby and then across the front of the ship (see plan below). In total this could seat around 200 people and the servery was located on the inside, facing the port-side windows. In fact, the cafeteria was actually made up of two rather distinct parts: a sweeping oval-shaped area forward with views across the bows, and the slightly more conventional rectangular area along the port side.
The oval was rather innovative and was originally designed with the option for use as a waiter-service restaurant and separate access from the galley was provided for this purpose. In practice, this seems to have been rarely used as such and it was mainly employed as a spillover from the main section of the cafeteria on the port side of the ship. The oval also saw use later as a crew mess area and it is not formally included as a passenger area in the 1985 deckplan. By that stage, the area which was originally the adjacent Britannia Bar was designated as a waiter service restaurant instead.
The rectangular space that was used full-time as the cafeteria seating area was not entirely quirk-free either. To the outside were eleven booths seating four people each (two on each side of a standard rectangular table) on bench-type seating. Each table was overlooked by a port-side window and the seats were separated from adjacent booths by large and rather unusual internal dividers that rose all the way to the deckhead. In later years these dividers had 'windows' installed in them. Inside, between these booths and the servery were seven six-seater tables with free-standing chairs, with the tables being separated from the servery area and corridor by more of the large dividers.
|ABOVE: A simplified plan of the original layout of the forward section of A Deck. This deck's forward lobby opened onto the cafeteria to port and the small Britannia Bar to starboard.|
|ABOVE: Another view of the distinguished class lounge, this time looking across to starboard on board Nisos Limnos in July 2004. With the space largely out of use, the crew have cleared away many of the chairs and tables to the far side, more clearly revealing the original oval shape of this space which remains intact, as do the deep windows to the left.|
|ABOVE: Seen on Express Milos in 2001 is the distinguished class restaurant area in the aft part of what was once the side cafeteria. The booths to the right (port side) overlooked by individual external windows can be seen whilst the bench seating is another Sealink legacy. The central seating layout is also unchanged with tables seating six overlooked by more of the dividers. To the left, off picture, is the location of the original cafeteria servery (see above). Perhaps the most fascinating Sealink 'relic' is the mosaic visible on the aft bulkhead - depicting a flame-haired warrior bearing the name 'Vortigern'.|
|ABOVE: A close-up of the Vortigern mosaic panel in the Distinguished Class restaurant. Originally located in the forward stairwell, this had been moved to its new location since the ship moved to Greece. The panel was presented to the ship by her original Godmother, Lady Cecilia McKenna, upon her entry into service. Created by the noted artists Eberhard Schulze and Hans Unger, it is made of Venetian glass "smalti" and stained glass fused onto ceramic tiles. It has been claimed that, "in the 60's and 70's Unger and Schulze were to mosaics what David Bailey was to photography" and it was typical of BR to employ them to create this long-lasting artwork, which stayed on the ship until her final days as Limon, being removed by SAOS Ferries prior to the ship being despatched to Indian breakers.
An extensive library of the work of Unger and Schulze can be found here.
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|TOP: The forward oval section of Vortigern's cafeteria in its original guise.|
|ABOVE: The distinguished class lounge was served by a bar area in the location of the original cafeteria servery - like the aft lounge on the deck below, this displayed the "CoffeeWay" brand under Hellas Ferries, although by the time this picture was taken in 2004, this branding had been removed.|
|BELOW: On a crossing in July 2004, the restaurant was not in use, and this is the view on that occasion, looking forward.|
|ABOVE: A 1969 view of the port-side part of the cafeteria showing the internal dividers as they were in the ship's early days.|