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Icy Strait Point is a cruise ship destination on Chichagof Island, located just outside Hoonah Alaska (to the south). The port is privately owned and named after nearby Icy Strait (Alexander Archipelago, southeastern Alaska). Icy Strait Point is owned by Huna Totem Corporation. The company itself is owned by around 1500 Alaskan Natives.
The best-known (and most booked) tour here is the ZipRider. The zip-line completes its run close to the docking facility and was constructed by the owner Huna Totem Corporation.
- ZipRider was opened in May 2007. The zip-line has length of 1620 m (5330 ft), ranking it the world's longest.
- ZipRider has 6 ziplines. After the launch, passengers quickly accelerate to up to 60 mph (97 kph) soaring 300 ft (100 m) above the rainforest. The experience is definitely one-of-a-kind and a must-do in the region.
- With 6 lines, up to 6 passengers can descend at once, which also makes the activity great for families and small groups.
- The ZipRider excursion starts right after cruise ship disembarkation, followed by shuttle bus transfer that includes scenic drive to Hoonah Mountain's top. Along the ride, passengers can enjoy wildlife viewing - bears, deer, eagles are often seen along the route. The coach travel also includes several vantage points - Hoonah, Port Frederick, Icy Strait. In clear weather can be seen Glacier Bay National Park's peaks in the distance.
- Once on top, guests take a short walk through the rainforest to the ZipRider's launching tower. Upon reaching it, guests are given a safety briefing then are organized into 6-person groups. After all of them are seated and secured (via harnesses) they take-off. The zip-line is both adrenaline-loaded and adventurous activity as it offers the majestic Alaskan scenery to enjoy.
- At the ZipRider's end there is a break-activated landing area located right on the beach at Icy Strait Point.
- Be sure to bring warm clothes and raingear. The facility doesn't allow open-toe shoes. Among the requirements for using the zip-line there is also a weight limit - guests must be between 75-275 pounds (34-125 kg) and to be comfortable with heights. The ZipRider is not recommended for people with back or neck problems (injuries), and also for pregnant women.
Another popular shore excursion in Icy Strait Point is to search for brown bears on Spasski River. Sightings happen often, but as all things in Nature are not guaranteed. Bald eagles are also frequently seen in the region. Whale watching excursions are also often booked, as the facility is close to the Point Adolphus - feeding area for humpback whales.
The whale watching excursion goes to Point Adolphus (protected marine area). A 24-passenger boat is used for the tour. The wildlife viewing includes whales, sea lions, harbor seals. Eagles and brown bears can be seen along the coastline. There is a guarantee if you don't see at least 1 whale they will give you USD 100 cash refund at disembarkation. The whale watching excursion's duration is between 4,5-5 hours. Layered clothes and waterproof outerwear are recommended.
Among the more "extreme" Alaskan cruise vacation experiences offered from Icy Strait Point is the ATV Expedition adventure. This is a guided tour that also starts with bus travel - this time through Hoonah en-route to the departure site located high in the hills. Upon arrival, local guides provide the safety briefing before boarding the Kawasaki's 4x4 Mule. Follows the adventurous rugged drive through the forest. Along the route there are numerous stops to enjoy the region's scenic scenery - valley, mountain, and the ocean. Along the trail, the accompanying guide often stops to explain the region's history. Licensed drivers can drive the vehicle. This tour's duration is approx 3,5 hours. Requirements are the same as for the ZipRider, plus a min age requirement (6 yo).
Cruising season runs May through September. Among the often visiting cruise companies are Celebrity, Crystal, Holland America, NCL Norwegian, Oceania, Princess, RSSC Regent, Royal Caribbean International.
During season 2016, the port handled 78 ship calls and around 160,000 cruise tourists. On August 28, on its 80th visit to Icy Strait, the liner Celebrity Infinity set a record - marking port's 1000th ship call and bringing in the 2 millionth passenger since Icy Strait first opened in 2004. In 2004, the port received 32 ship calls.
On December 6, 2018, NCLH (Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings) signed a partnership deal with Huna Totem Corporation to build a second cruise pier, with scheduled completion for Alaska 2020 season. The new terminal has berthing capacity to handle Breakaway Plus-class NCL liners (LOA length 326 m, max passenger capacity 4900). The deal provided the NCLH brands (NCL, Oceania and RSSC-Regent) with preferential berthing rights and also allows NCLH to increase fleet's Icy Strait Point capacity with larger vessels.
For season 2019, in Icy Strait Point were booked the NCLH-owned luxury ships Oceania Regatta and Regent Seven Seas Mariner, and also the larger NCL liners Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Joy. In 2019, Hoonah cruise port had scheduled 137 ship calls with estimated 267,000 passengers. In 2020, the newest (second) Megaship Dock will add more passenger capacity. For season 2020, Hoonah had booked 192 ship calls with projected ~408,000 passengers.
Icy Strait Point cruise terminal
Large-sized cruise ships to Icy Strait Point Alaska anchor near Hoonah and their passengers are transported via ship's tender boats.
In front of the new dock was built the Adventure Center (serving as tourist center), departure lounge (waiting hall), tour booking office (for booking Alaskan shore excursions, such as wildlife viewing - whales, bears, also selling ZipRider tickets) and the restaurant Duck Point Smokehouse (adjacent to Adventure Center). The new brewery-restaurant features views of Port Frederick and serves fresh seafood, specialty pizza, in-house made smoked salmon, draft beer.
The new docking pier was opened in May 2016. The first vessel berthed at the new pier was Norwegian Pearl (on May 12th). Hoonah Cruise Pier's construction works started in June 2015. For all offshore works was contracted the Alaska-based company Turnagain Marine Construction. The project was a partnership between Alaska State, Hoonah City and Huna Totem Corporation.
Before the new pier (since 2004), cruise ships used to tender their passengers to Icy Strait Point's salmon cannery. The new floating pier has length 400 ft (122 m) and allows berthing even to world's biggest passenger liners.
In May 2019, was the groundbreaking ceremony starting the construction works on the newest (second) Hoonah cruise dock. The Megaship Dock is designed with capacity to handle two NCL-Norwegian mega-liners simultaneously. The 500-ft long (152 m) floating dock project is a 25-year lease deal between NCL and Huna Totem Corporation. The new (second) dock is located approx 0,5 ml (800 m) from downtown Hoonah.
Port Icy Strait Point cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Icy Strait Point, Hoonah, Alaska. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|29 April, 2020|
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