The history of the company

Smyril Line's primary workarea is travel and freight transport in the North Atlantic.

Smyril Line was founded in 1982 by ship officers working onboard the ferry M/F Smyril. They purchased the ferry Gustav Vasa, named it M/S Norröna, and in 1983 Smyril Line started sailing M/F Smyril’s old route.

Smyril Line is today a well-reputed travel and shipping company.

The current M/S Norröna entered service in April 2003. Since she came in the Faroese fleet M/S Norröna has been gradually updated. At the turn of the year 2020/2021 a major modernization of M/S Norröna was carried out. The number of cabins increased with 50 cabins and on deck 10 a new café was built. The total number of cabins is now 366, furthermore there are 30 couchette rooms. In addition to these major changes, renovations were made throughout the whole ship.

M/S Norröna is 36.976 BRT, she is 165,7 meters long, 30 meters wide and can sail at a speed of 21 mile per hour.

Smyril Line also owns and runs Smyril Line Cargo, which has three cargo vessels in the fleet:  Akranes, Mykines and Glyvursnes. For further information about Smyril Line Cargo, please visit

In addition to the vessels and the office in the Faroe Islands, Smyril Line also owns Smyril Line Travel A/S in Denmark. This company runs the activities in Kiel in Germany. 

The major shareholders in Smyril Line are P/F 12.11.11 (59,5%), Føroya Landsstýri (16,2%) and Framtaksgrunnur Føroya (6,3%). The smaller shareholders own 18% in total. The total share capital is 112.012.332 DKK.

Sailing history

Dronning Alexandrine


DFDS vessel M/S Dronning Alexandrine (built 1927) served the Faroe Islands from 1927 to 1939. During WWII she was moored in Copenhagen, until the Germans briefly commandeered her from 1944 to 1945. In 1945 after the war Dronning Alexandrine returned to the Copenhagen - Faroe Islands - Reykjavík route, until she was scrapped in 1965. Dronning Alexandrine took 153 passengers.




In 1947 Skipafelagið Føroyar acquired S/S Gullfoss (1915) from Eimskip in Iceland. The vessel sailed under the name S/S Tjaldur for Skipafelagið on the Faroe Islands-Copenhagen route from 1947 to 1953. She took 74 passengers.




In 1953 P/F Skipafelagið Føroyar welcomed its new Tjaldur, which was built at Aalborg Værft. It took 447 passengers. This stylishly designed ship revolutionised sailing between the Faroe Islands and Denmark. It was fitted with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class facilities for passengers and had a very modern air compared to its predecessors. Skipafelagið now advertised cruise trips from Copenhagen to the Faroe Islands. It offered travellers onboard accommodation while the ship cruised from village to village in the Faroe Islands before returning to Copenhagen. Tjaldur was also much faster than the older ships. The crossing from the Faroe Islands to Denmark was shortened by a whole day. The Faroese really took this elegant Tjaldur to heart. Tjaldur carried freight and passengers between the Faroe Islands and Copenhagen in the period from 1953 to 1967.


Kronprins Frederik


The DFDS vessel M/S Kronprins Frederik (built in 1941) was in service to the Faroe Islands from 1966 to 1974. Many Faroese remember it well and it became known as “Krúnprinsurin,” the Crown Prince. It took 358 passengers. It also had capacity for a few cars, but they had to be lifted on board using a crane. This vessel was fitted with modern equipment, such as stabiliser tanks, which made it steadier at sea. An understandably popular innovation with passengers, considering how the weather can behave in the North Atlantic.




Before 1974 there was very limited opportunity to take your car to Denmark on holiday. Passenger vessels had no car deck, but could take a few vehicles, which had to be lifted on board using a crane. So when DFDS assigned M/S England to the Faroe Islands – Denmark route, it changed ferry transport. M/S England had a full car deck the length of the ship, and could take up to 120 cars. A major advance, taking a car with you on holiday was a doddle now. Many Faroese and international travellers took advantage of this. England took 634 passengers. England sailed to the Faroe Islands in the summer from 1974 to 1980.


Winston Churchill


In 1981 DFDS assigned M/S Winston Churchill to the Faroe Islands route instead of M/S England, which had served the archipelago over the last 7 summers. This vessel was a little smaller than M/S England, but they were otherwise very similar. Winston Churchill also had a car deck the length of the ship and capacity for 180 cars, along with 390 passenger berths. However, it could take 462 passengers, because at the time it was normal to buy a deck ticket instead of booking a cabin for the crossing. M/S Winston Churchill sailed to the Faroe Islands in the summer from 1981 to 1992. Its last trip to the Faroe Islands was in August 1992. This was also the final chapter for DFDS in the Faroe Islands, after this DFDS definitively cancelled its Faroe Islands route.




The first Norröna entered service between the Faroe Islands and Denmark in 1983. The acquisition of Norröna broke new ground in Faroese international passenger sailing. She entered the service of the newly founded Smyril Line, which had been established by private entrepreneurs the foregoing year. The vessel, which was built in 1973, was previously named Gustav Vasa and registered in Sweden. Before her launch in the Faroe Islands, she was refitted and modernised at the Flensburg ship wharf. In her day she was considered modern, a ship fit for her times. Norröna took 1050 passengers and 250 cars. This means that she was considerably larger and better equipped than the vessels, which had previously connected the Faroe Islands to the world. Initially she only sailed to the Faroe Islands in summer. However, freight shipping demand grew and by 1998 Norröna was sailing between the Faroe Islands and Denmark year-round. During summer seasons she would sail between Iceland, Faroe Islands, Shetland Islands, Norway and Denmark until 2003, when a purpose-built Norröna took over.




The second Norröna sailed her maiden voyage to the Faroe Islands in 2003. She represented another innovation in Faroese passenger transport. Smyril Line recognised that the first Norröna was past her prime. She was built in 1973 and came to the Faroe Islands in 1983. So, the company decided to again break new ground and ordered the first ever luxury ferry purpose-built to connect the Faroe Islands and the world. It was a major undertaking. Smyril Line signed an agreement with Flender Werke in Lübeck to build the ship, and in the summer of 2003 the newly built Norröna was launched. The new Norröna takes 1482 passengers and 800 cars – or 130 trailers. 



Norröna today

Shortly before Christmas in 2020, M/S Norröna sailed from Tórshavn to Fayard shipyard in Munkebo, where they immediately began a comprehensive rebuilding and renovation of the ship. On March 6, a freshly painted and impressive Norröna sailed out of the port of Hirtshals and set course for Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands and then Seyðisfjörður in Iceland.


Get your free catalogue

Please fill in the address details to receive your free catalogue

Yes, I want to receive regular news and special offers from Smyril Line directly in my inbox.