Sweden’s Rederi AB Gotland has broadened its reach in a deal to buy DFDS’ Norway to Denmark route, including two large cruise ferries.

Danish ropax giant DFDS said the 35,000-gt Crown Seaways (built 1994) and 40,000-gt Pearl Seaways (built 1989) operate between Oslo, Frederikshavn and Copenhagen.

The price for the mini-cruise route and the ships is about DKK 400m ($58m).

“The decision will ensure that the route receives the future focus and investments needed to further develop, while DFDS strengthens the focus on its core business within freight, passenger transport and logistics,” the seller added.

The transaction includes port agreements and terminal equipment.

About 800 staff are also switching to Rederi AB Gotland.

“The route is a part of our history and heritage, and it is with a heavy heart that we have found a new home for the route and will be saying goodbye to a lot of valued colleagues," said DFDS chief executive Torben Carlsen.

“We have determined this to be the best way forward for all. We have grown and developed significantly over the years, and the route deserves to be in the hands of an owner with cruise experience as a core part of their strategy going forward.”

The route attracts more than 700,000 passengers per year. Revenue was DKK 900m in 2023.

Gotland chief executive Hakan Johansson said: “We see great potential in this business. The route is performing well today, and together with our new colleagues, we will both work to ensure continuity and develop the product.

“This is yet another step in our strategic direction to expand in passenger shipping.”

The two vessels will not be reflagged and no lay-offs are planned.

Completion of the agreement is expected in October.

Gotland is now a pure ropax company after selling its last product tankers in 2023.