On May 23, Huna Totem Corporation, its contractors and business partners, the community of Hoonah, and representatives of the cruise industry all celebrated the grand opening of the new cruise ship dock located in Hoonah.
Cruise ship passengers will now arrive at a newly-built floating dock at Icy Strait Point, an Alaska Native-owned cruise destination set amidst the wilderness of Chichagof Island.
Constructed in partnership with the City of Hoonah, the 400-foot floating dock was completed well in advance of the first scheduled cruise ship call on May 11.
This year, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Crystal Cruises will make 78 ship calls on Icy Strait Point between May and September, bringing nearly 160,000 passengers over the course of the season.
“In addition to efficiency, the greatest benefit of the new dock is that it will allow more passengers to easily disembark the ship and explore all that Icy Strait Point has to offer without the hassle of tendering. This results in a far better experience for both the guest and cruise lines, and further enhances Icy Strait Point’s competitive position as a world-class destination,” said Russell Dick, chairman of the Huna Totem Board of Directors.
CLIA Alaska President John Binkley addressed the attendees: “The completion of this dock is a real testament to the vision and dedication of the leadership at Huna Totem Corporation. Ports all around the globe are trying to lure vessels to their destinations. It takes innovation such as the public private partnership developed for this project to ensure a port is desirable both by the vessels and their guests.”
During the ceremony, passengers from the Radiance of the Seas were just starting to disembark. They were greeted by Tlingit dancers as the guests made their way down the short ramp and to the new 7,000-square-foot Adventure Center located in front of the dock’s covered trestle. The wood-beam, Tlingit-style building serves as a welcome center, departure lounge and tour booking center for the more than 20 shore excursions, including whale watching, bear viewing and the world’s largest ZipRider.
Sitting on the waterfront adjacent to the Adventure Center, Duck Point Smokehouse offers outdoor seating on a covered patio, where guests can enjoy the views of Port Frederick and search for marine wildlife from their seats.
“With these new investments, we are confident that Icy Strait Point will offer guests the best arrival experience of anywhere in the world,” said Tyler Hickman, Icy Strait Point’s vice president of operations. “Having eliminated the need to tender, more guests will have more time to experience our shore excursions, delicious dining options and the historic cannery site surrounded by unspoiled Alaska wilderness.”
Icy Strait Point’s restored 1912 salmon cannery is a short walk down the trail or boardwalk along the shore. It is home to a local history museum, Alaskan-owned shops and two other restaurants — the Crab Station and the Cookhouse Restaurant, the cannery’s original dining hall.
Icy Strait Point is located approximately 35 miles west of Juneau and 25 miles south of Glacier Bay National Park. It is the United States’ only private, large-ship cruise destination. With approximately 85 percent local hire, Icy Strait Point is a certified sustainable responsible tourism venture that holds true to the mission of advancing the economic aspirations and culture of the ”Xúna Kaawu” (the people of Hoonah).
Cruise Business contributed to this story.