|The A Deck Britannia Bar and Verandah Bar
The A Deck Cafeteria
The B Deck Forward Lounge
The B Deck Side Lounges
The B Deck Aft Garage (later Aft lounge)
The C Deck Cabins
The Train/Vehicle decks
Outside deck space
|Vortigern's main passenger accommodation was spread over two decks (A and B) with a small number of cabins located at the waterline on Deck C. In Sealink service, she was a one-class ship and could originally accommodate 1,000 passengers plus 240 cars on three different garage levels.
The interior design was by Ward & Austin who were apparently instructed to make a special effort at attracting younger travellers in certain areas by the use of bright colours and modern design - most noticeably seen in the original Verandah Bar. On the other hand, other sections were more subdued and the small Britannia Bar was perhaps the best example of this.
The public room arrangements have been criticised by Ripley and Rogan in their book Designing Ships for Sealink; apparently an original layout was agreed but this was changed at the last minute and "a whole new scheme with a series of small public rooms, some with reclining seats for overnight foot passengers was bodged together..."
The original arrangement was as shown in the diagram above - in 1978 the aft garage on B Deck was converted into an additional high capacity lounge whilst the Verandah Bar became a duty-free supermarket in 1984. The history of all the spaces mentioned in the plan are detailed individually on the pages set out below:
|BELOW: Looking across to starboard in the B Deck aft lobby aboard Nisos Limnos. This deck had no less than three separate lobby areas: the aft one shown here, one amidships between the second and third sections of the side lounges and one forward just before the forwardmost of the side lounge sections. The stairways head up to the A Deck aft lobby which now leads into the extended cabin accommodation but originally fronted the Verandah Bar. For much of the ship's Greek career, this deck was the distinguished class area with access barred to most passengers. Going down, the next level is the mezzanine car deck.
The two counters in this area are original and latterly served as the distinguished class reception (nearest the camera) and the general reception/pursersí office (far side).
|BELOW: A final Sealink relic found on Express Milos in the forward lobby on the old B Deck in 2001. This is a luggage trolley bearing the Sealink British Ferries and British Rail logos complete with a "Not to be removed from Holyhead" sign. The latter was presumably to deter passengers taking the trolley on the Sealink ferry to Dun Laoghaire but has spectacularly failed in its mission, seeing service at this time in the Aegean! Bernard Dobbs reports that the trolley was in use on one crossing from Milos to Piraeus by a steward taking supplies to the forward economic class bar.
The story is cleared up by former Sealink officer Andy Hill who explains that, just prior to the ship sailing for Greece having seen a final stint of relief service at Holyhead, "The trolley was used to take back on board the ship the bottle screws for chaining down the lorries as the new owner insisted that they had bought her as seen."
|ABOVE: Signs of Express Milos' days as Vortigern - on the left, a reminder of the link between the ferry company and it's British Rail parent with the BR logo displayed side-by-side with the Sealink name.
The picture on the right shows a sign in the corridor to the Bridge on the uppermost deck demonstrating the BR 'Rail Alphabet' typeface.
|BELOW: The forward lobby on what was originally A Deck, looking across to the port side on Express Milos when this deck was reserved for the use of distinguished class passengers. Slightly confusingly, the stairs on the left lead down to the middle rather than the forward of the three lobbies on the deck below.
|BELOW: Finally, a couple of behind the scenes images from the ship's early English Channel days. Firstly a look into the Engine Control Room located amidships down on C Deck, beneath the car deck.
|BELOW: And on the Vortigern's bridge, with some crew featuring some classic 1960s sideburns at the helm.
|BELOW: The original ship's bell, still in place on board Nisos Limnos in July 2004 and still proudly reading 'VORTIGERN 1969".
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|BELOW: Click for detail showing the general arrangement of the two main passenger decks as they were by 1984 (large file). Courtesy Roy Thornton Collection