Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Mon June 15 2015

Icy Strait Point Building a Cruise Ship Pier

Cruise Line & Cruise Ship | Theresa Norton | June 15, 2015

Icy Strait Point Building a Cruise Ship Pier

PHOTO: A new floating pier is being built offshore in time for use in 2016. (Courtesy of Icy Strait Point)

Icy Strait Point has started construction of a floating pier that will let cruise passengers walk into the Alaska port of call instead of taking tenders.

Icy Strait Point, a seasonal cruise destination along the Inside Passage, opened in 2004 and continues efforts to grow as a cruise ship destination.

Turnagain Marine Construction, an Alaska-based heavy marine construction firm, is working on the floating pier offshore with completion expected by early October.

“It’s an exciting time for the community to see this pier coming together in front of our eyes,” said Tyler Hickman, Icy Strait Point vice president of operations. “Thanks to the partnership between the City of Hoonah, State of Alaska and Huna Totem Corporation, this investment will further improve our world-class destination. Even better, the construction does not negatively impact our current operations and guest experience.”

The new 400-foot floating pier, which was designed with input from the cruise industry, can accommodate the largest cruise ships and will allow ships to tie up directly beginning in 2016. Icy Strait Point will manage the pier’s operation and provide long-term maintenance.

Additionally, a new Tlingit-style, wood-beamed welcome center and excursion departure lounge will also be in place for the beginning of the 2016 season. Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2015, after the current cruise season has ended.

Since 2004, more than 1 million cruise guests have visited Icy Strait Point between May and September. Last year, seven cruise lines made 74 calls, and this year 75 calls are scheduled. In 2013, about 130,000 travelers visited Icy Strait Point, double the volume of 2004.

Cruise lines that visited last year include Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line.

To make sure visitors have a comfortable, authentic experience, Icy Strait Point restricts cruise ship visitation to only one large ship at a time.

Once on shore, cruise passengers can explore 23,040 acres of beach and temperate rain forest. The facilities include a restored 1912 salmon cannery, five restaurants and food vendors, 12 retail shops and merchandise outlets, nature trails and a museum.

Icy Strait Point offers 22 shore excursions, including the highest and longest ZipRider zipline in the world, brown bear viewing, whale watching, fishing, local cultural dances and oral histories, a cooking class, and kayaking.

Locally inspired dishes include Hoonah fish tacos made with fresh-caught cod, fresh King and Dungeness crab, seafood chowder, halibut and chips, reindeer or salmon sliders, and reindeer chili.

Icy Strait Point is a wholly-owned and -operated subsidiary of Huna Totem Corp., the village corporation owned by approximately 1,350 Alaska Natives with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area. Icy Strait Point is located on Chichagof Island, about 1.5 miles from Hoonah, Alaska, and 35 miles west of Juneau. It is the only private large-ship destination in Alaska.

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