Faroese shipping company the Smyril Line has upgraded its flagship ferry Norröna, which used to call at Lerwick.
Passengers travelling on the ship between Faroe, Iceland and Denmark are said to have demanded higher levels of comfort.
Smyril has spent 13 million euros on the major refit, which has seen 50 luxury cabins added to the ferry.
The work was done at the Fayard shipyard in Denmark in collaboration with naval architects Hauschildt Marine.
The Norröna, which was built in 2003, formerly used Shetland as a stop-over during a North Sea service which also included Norway.
Shetland Islands Council somewhat controversially invested several million pounds in the Smyril Line, but the investment failed to convince the company to keep Lerwick as a port of call.
The new upgrade has also seen the crew’s cabins moved to a different part of the ship and the abandonment of shared cabins.
Smyril maritime director Jóhan av Reyni said: “There were several different parameters that could have developed into obstacles, including whether the ship could carry more weight, but it turned out to be an extremely interesting retrofit.”
He said Covid-19 had sent shock waves through the industry as Smyril was bidding on the project in March last year. However, after careful consideration, the company decided to move ahead with the plan.
“It seemed hopeless at first, but we discussed it and chose to move forward because the Covid crisis is going to pass at some point,” said Mr Reyni.
Decks five and six of the Norröna had previously been upgraded, so it was now time to do the upper deck, which was entirely re-dimensioned, was given a new outdoors skybar and a new lounge area with a large panoramic view.
Passengers used to buy tickets for berths in shared four-person cabins, but the sales have more or less disappeared. In contrast, the12 luxury cabins were often sold out.
“We have gradually got more comfortable cabins, and there is no doubt that the new 50 cabins will be highly sought-after,” Mr Reyni added.
The refitted ship will set sail for Hirtshals in Denmark on 1st March, and she will resume her North Atlantic route from 6th March.
But will the Norröna ever call at Shetland again? That is the question.