The “Sands Liner” (1967-1973)


The first period was the one just after the grounding, a period that saw the ship’s entrails adapted to its new toist mission. 

After initial work at the Terrin shipyards in Marseille (mainly boiler making), she was convoyed to Le Barcarès.

From 1967 to 1973, the ship was leased by SEMETA (a mixed development company in charge of creating the resort of Barcarès) to a company created for the occasion: SODELOR, which had the mission of operating it.

On the outside the ship is almost intact, which makes its success with the 300 000 tourists who rush on board in the space of August 1967. Some authentic spaces have been preserved like the bridge, the social-hall, the smoking-room (promenade deck), the dining room (second deck). The two cabin decks (first and second deck) are still intact. For a while, we thought of transforming them into a hotel but the project was abandoned for reasons that are still unknown.

For the interior fittings, Senator Gaston Pams, president of the SEMETA, had these flamboyant words: “Only beautiful and expensive!”

Specialized craftsmen and journeymen were therefore called in to carry out the luxurious fittings.

On the front deck, a swimming pool and a bar were installed and immediately became an incredible success:

The original first class dining room, entirely covered with Ceylon lemon veneer panels, welcomes guests in a dream setting

In front of the ship, the scew propeller shines brightly to welcome the curious:

In the forward hold, the first discotheque, named the “Trunk“, was set up under the direction of Roland Vonné

The night club nammed the "Trunk"

In the rear hold is installed a snack bar called very appropriately the “Cambuse”, entirely veneered in Oregon pine. The suspensions recall the Catalan lamparos. The inclined partitions respect the shapes of the hull: we are well in a boat!

The "Cambuse"

On the first deck at the front is a bar and stores: “The Trunk store”

Through portholes you can see the swimmers in the pool above. The walls are covered with varnished precious wood veneer, the brass shines softly in a luxurious and very marine atmosphere:

The "Trunk store"

On the boat deck you stroll between the life-boats and the highlight of the visit is the perfectly preserved bridge. This is the most popular place on the ship!

Even the state of the art kitchens are a postcard!

We can understand from these “witness photos” the enthusiasm that the liner brings. The fittings are impeccable, in good taste, timeless and above all in perfect adequacy with the “liner” spirit that the visitor is looking for.

People will be jostling each other on board during the five and a half years of operation by the SEMETA.

The only change during these five years was the color of the funnel (black with a red border at the top) which, at the beginning, displayed a patch of the SEMETA on a blue background, showing two mermaids:




Very quickly replaced by a more stylized and modern logo

At the end of six years of brilliant parties, the Lydia is sold to a Japanese investor who will transform her into a luxurious casino.

The rest of her story : HERE

                               Olivier Alba

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