Stena Line is to introduce two refurbished 1,200-passenger ferries on Irish Sea routes later this year.
The company claims the identical sister ships, Stena Superfast VII and Superfast VIII, will be the biggest ferries to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
The ferries will carry passengers and vehicles on a new Cairnryan to Belfast route which is due to be launched in November.
Built in Germany in 2002, the vessels will operate up to 12 departures a day on the route year round. They are to undergo a refit programme at the Remotova shipyard in Poland.
Route director Paul Grant said: “In November this year we will be launching a new purpose built port and terminal at Cairnryan in Scotland which will herald a new route for our Northern Ireland to Scotland service and we will also be introducing two identical ships onto the route, the biggest ever ferries to sail between Northern Ireland and Scotland.
”It will be a huge milestone for this service and the culmination of an ongoing investment programme which started with the construction of the new terminal in Belfast back in 2008.
“The combination of the new port and ships will enable Stena Line to reduce the journey time to 2 hours 15 minutes and will provide a level of quality, comfort and facilities never before seen on the Irish Sea.
“Not only that, the fact that the two ships are identical, allied with our already excellent customer service, means that customers are guaranteed a consistency of top quality on board service and facilities that we haven’t been able to offer before, another great advantage for passengers and freight drivers.”