Ferry operator Irish Continental Group (ICG) is investing €165.2m in a new cruise ferry that will operate on Irish Ferries' Dublin-Holyhead route.

The new vessel will be able to accommodate 1,800 passengers and crew, with capacity for 330 freight units per sailing.

The ferry is expected to be delivered by mid-2020 and, once in operation, will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity.

It is expected to replace the schedule of the MV Ulysses, which in turn will replace the currently chartered vessel MV Epsilon in the Irish Ferries fleet.

This will allow for the deployment of the WB Yeats (arriving Mid 2018) full-time on the direct Ireland-France route alongside the MV Oscar Wilde. 

German company Flensburger Schiffbau will complete the build of the new vessel, with 20% of the contract price paid in instalments during the construction phase.

The remaining 80% will be paid on delivery, and ICG will borrow to finance the build.

Irish Ferries is a division of ICG.

ICG shares were more than half a percent lower in afternoon Dublin trade.