Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Norwegian Encore set sail from Seattle on Saturday, making it the first Norwegian cruise to resume sailings from the U.S. It is also the first vessel in the industry to berth at the new Wilderness Landing pier at Icy Strait Point, Alaska, built in partnership between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Huna Totem Corporation.
The port is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Huna Totem Corporation, which is a village corporation owned by around 1,400 Alaska Native shareholders.
“Our return to Alaska is a monumental moment for not only NCL but for the state’s communities as well,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line.
“The absence of cruising last year was detrimental to these communities, which lost approximately $1.5 billion. Our return represents our continued commitment to Alaska and to the well-being of the destinations we visit. Our investment in Icy Strait Point is providing our guests with more opportunities to experience and understand the natural and cultural beauty of the destination and its people.”
With the opening of the new high-speed Transporter Gondola, guests have easy access to Icy Strait Point’s first pier, Adventure Landing, where the Historic Salmon Cannery dating back to 1912 and other local attractions are located. Once completed later this summer, the Mountain Top Gondola will take passengers to the top of Hoonah Mountain where there is a number of new hiking trails and scenic views to enjoy.
The new Wilderness Landing is a vehicle-free zone, and provides additional forest and beach areas for visitors to explore. In total, there are 23,040 acres of private beach and temperate rain forest to enjoy. The area also offers the most accessible coastal brown bear viewing platforms in southeast Alaska, whale watching, kayaking, and the world’s largest ZipRider zip line.
Located a mile from the community of Hoonah, travelers can also learn about local culture with exposure to native traditions and dances, oral histories, and cooking classes.
This week, Norwegian Encore will make her first calls to Juneau and Ketchikan before returning to Seattle and continuing her season of seven-night Alaska voyages through October 16, 2021.