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Cruises to Icy Strait

Icy Strait (Photo:akphotoc/Shutterstock)

About Icy Strait

One of Alaska's newest cruise ports, Icy Strait (just outside of Hoonah) opened in 2004 so local communities and giant cruise corporations alike could profit from visitors eager to experience America's "last wilderness." The native Tlingit Corporation Huna Totem owns Icy Strait Point, and in conjunction with cruise line partners and investors, they've created a cruise port with some of the highest passenger satisfaction levels around.

The demand for a slice of "real" Alaska has only increased in the years since -- shore excursion offerings in Icy Strait more than doubled from 2015 to 2019. Facilities have expanded and increased over the years -- Huna Totem owns 23,000 acres. In 2020, Icy Strait will debut a second dock and their largest yet -- the Wilderness Plaza -- built in conjunction with Norwegian Cruise Line. No matter how big the port expands, the company is careful about the tiny details that preserve its nature-focused ethos; you'll never see a tour bus until it's time to board.

The facility -- just down the road from Hoonah, Alaska's largest Huna Tlingit village, and 22 miles southeast of Glacier Bay National Park -- has been a lifeline for the community, providing a much-needed alternative source of income for locals afflicted by a downturn in their traditional businesses of fishing and logging. Millions of dollars have been invested in creating facilities that offers cruise travelers an authentic "wilderness experience" and a refreshingly non-commercialized alternative to the usual run of Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Sitka.

What they've created is an attractive destination expressly for cruisers that's manmade but not commercialized. Icy Strait offers pretty woodland walks, an insight into Tlingit history and culture, a wide range of back-to-nature adventures and high-quality restaurants. Upmarket craft shops feature artisan crafts and locally made goods like woodland berry jam and confectionery, rather than the "made in Taiwan" goods so prevalent in, say, Juneau. Buildings are constructed from sustainable local timber and built by local Tlingit workers in traditional style.

Although the port receives ships from many cruise lines, officials -- have wisely limited ship calls to ensure high passenger satisfaction. This will shift slightly when two ships are accommodated at a time, heading into the 2020 cruise season.

  • Why go to Icy Strait?

  • Icy Strait Cruise Port Facilities?

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Serenade of the Seas
Serenade of the Seas

7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

1,609 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
May 8, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Spirit
Norwegian Spirit

9 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Sep 12, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Jewel
Norwegian Jewel

10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:San Diego
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Apr 22, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite
Celebrity Eclipse
Celebrity Eclipse

7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

1,835 Reviews
Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jul 6, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seward
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
Sep 11, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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11 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Sep 21, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seward
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Sep 18, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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9 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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12 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
May 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Royal Caribbean International
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seward
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Jun 2, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seward
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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7 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Oct 3, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
Aug 31, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Seattle
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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10 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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21 Night
Cruise to Icy StraitDetails

Leaving:Vancouver
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Aug 27, 2022
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Why go to Icy Strait?

Pros:

The word "authentic" isn't wasted here; this Tlingit-run port is true to its culture and in harmony with the environment

Cons:

Cruisers looking for an exhaustive list of amusements, apart from nature, might be disappointed

Bottom Line:

Icy Strait offers a great glimpse of native Alaska and everything is within walking distance

Icy Strait Cruise Port Facilities?

Icy Strait is not your "typical" sprawling cruise port with lots and lots to do, other than excursions or a scenic stroll around the main site. In 2016, a dozen years after Icy Strait Point debuted to cruise passengers, a 400-foot-long floating dock was built to allow cruise ships to pull alongside Icy Strait Point, eliminating the need for cruise passengers to tender ashore. The infrastructure allowed the small port to accommodate growing cruise ships and an increase in cruise passengers, while the 7,000-square-foot Adventure Center and Duck Point Smokehouse added important tour and dining options.

The Adventure Center serves as a welcome center, lounge and place to book more than 20 day-of shore excursions. Due to Icy Strait's compact nature, nothing on the main site is more than a 10- to 15-minute stroll away from the pier.

The forthcoming Wilderness Center will be located a half-mile from the Adventure Center, ensuring that crowds are spread out on two-ship days. The nature trail will be extended so that it is a quick 10-minute stroll for visitors between cruise facilities.

Good to Know?

Icy Strait strives to be a sustainably managed port, so don't expect luxuries that might unduly impact the land, water or wildlife. Also, food prices in Alaska can get quite high -- don't be surprised that fish and chips with a beer could run a pretty penny (but it's oh so worth it).

Getting Around?

On foot: The immediate area around the Adventure Center is easily explored on foot, and nowhere is further away than a 10- to 15-minute walk. Clearly marked walking trails will take you along the seashore, into deep rainforests and around the edges of mist-wreathed lakes.

By tram: Currently, transportation is available only through cruise lines' shore tours and a tram that will transport cruise passengers around the facilities and back toward the ship.

By shuttle: Don't waste cash on tours of Hoonah; it's within walking distance -- or a $5 roundtrip shuttle -- and easily explored on your own.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the U.S. dollar. We advise getting cash onboard your ship, should you need it. There's no bank in Icy Strait, which means no ATM. However, most vendors take credit cards.

Language?

English is spoken, though an effort is being made to preserve the native Tlingit language and you might be lucky enough to hear some spoken -- most often in a welcome greeting aboard a tour.


Icy Strait Cruise Reviews
This first trip to Icy Straits, it had a new dock, easy access, short easy walk to old fish cannery showing what they did there and how it was done, it was interesting. It does have a great looking zip-line. HubRead More
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DRHuff
It was okay. I took a bear excursion and saw 1 brown bear. That was cool. We encountered no other wildlife though. There is not whole lot else to day at Icy Straight Point.Read More
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lmom1
Good restaurants in Icy Strait Point. Enjoyed the food and the museum.Read More
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rmanderson49
Not much to do here. But NCL is working on it Read More
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Topher from Vegas

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