Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has partnered with Alaska Native-owned Huna Totem Corp. to develop a second cruise pier in Icy Strait Point at Hoonah. Last month, Norwegian President and CEO Frank Del Rio said the company was looking to make strategic investments in Alaska to ensure preferential berthing rights for its growing deployment there.
Del Rio thinks Alaska is “under-supplied. There is great demand. It’s safe. Americans want to visit. There is much more opportunity to grow.”
Ready for 2020 cruise season
The pier is scheduled to be completed for the summer 2020 Alaska cruise season and will be built to accommodate Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway Plus ships. The partnership will provide Norwegian, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises with preferential berthing rights in the popular destination and allow the company to increase its calls to Icy Strait Point.
Currently, Oceania’s Regatta, Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner, Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Joy are scheduled to call at Icy Strait Point in the 2019 season.
Upgraded retail, dining, tours
In addition, the new pier will provide more cruise passengers with access to Icy Strait’s newly upgraded retail, restaurant and shore excursion amenities, including the world’s largest ZipRider zip line, the most accessible coastal brown bear viewing platforms in Southeast Alaska, whale watching and fishing excursions, local cultural dances accompanied by oral histories and more.
Howard Sherman, EVP on-board revenue and destination development for Norwegian, said the pier will “strengthen our presence in the wildly popular Alaska market and provide our guests with a best-in-class experience as they explore the natural beauty and exciting shore excursions of this unique destination.”
The partnership will benefit the Hoonah community, home to approximately 750 people, including approximately 80 percent of Icy Strait Point’s employees. By leveraging the rapidly growing demand for top-tier destinations for Alaska cruises, Icy Strait Point creates more jobs and local opportunities for Alaskans.
Significant economic impact
“The economic impact that this expansion and Norwegian’s investment will have in Hoonah and the Southeast Alaska region is significant, and we’re looking forward to how our Alaska Native community can be a sustainable contributor to the future of Alaska’s cruise industry,” said Russell Dick, Huna Totem Corp. president and CEO.
“Icy Strait Point is one of the few Alaska cruise ship destinations where cruise passengers can step off the dock and into Alaska wilderness,” he continued. “We have the land, the capacity and the hospitality to welcome more travelers into our home in an authentic way while maintaining our heritage and the values of our Native Tlingit culture.”