Alaska Port Reviews
Icy Strait Point Shore Excursion On Your Own
By Tom Ogg
The Radiance of the
Seas Anchored Off Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point is a
relatively new port being visited by Royal Caribbean
Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises. It is an old cannery
that has long since shut down, but has been converted
into a themed destination by the residents of Hoonah.
The Indians of Hoonah were presented with the option of
moving to a reservation, but elected to start their own
corporation and become self-sufficient. I spoke with a
young lady that took great pride in the fact that her
community had made the decisions that they have and I,
as an American do too.
I had read reviews of Icy
Strait Point in some communities and they were
somewhat negative. Folks, this is one great port, as it
displays exactly what Alaska is all about. I will try to
share why in this review. If you visit Icy Strait
Point be sure to immerse yourself in the local community
and enjoy. If you don't, you will miss the complete
Port Location and Information:
Tendering Into Icy
anchor off of Icy Strait Point and tender into the
tender wharf. The second that you arrive you begin to
understand that this is not a typical Alaskan port of call.
Fresh Crabs Being Taken
From Storage on the Tender Wharf
thing that I saw was someone netting crabs from a
confinement on the pier. They were scooping up Dungeness
crabs that were alive and healthy. I knew that they were
going to be served later in the day.
Exploring on Your Own:
Flowers in Hoonah
Strait Point is very much like the port of Costa Maya
in Mexico. If you get off the ship and just visit the
old cannery turned cruise port, you will be
disappointed. But if you walk into the adjoining village
of Hoonah, you will be captivated. Hoonah is not a
tourist attraction at all. It is where the Indians live
that work at Icy Strait Point. If you visit Hoonah,
you will come away with a complete feeling of
satisfaction because the secret to Icy Strait Point
lies in the people that created it.
the sales people in the section of the cannery operated by
Hoonah Corporation and they will openly share their lives
and experiences with you.
If you plan on taking an excursion from Icy Strait
Point, you MUST book it on your cruise ship prior to
arriving at Icy Straight Point. None of the excursions will
be available to visitors not book by the cruise line.
Icy Strait Point Shopping
and out buildings in Icy Strait are all about shopping.
All sorts of products are available and by buying here you
are helping the Tlingit Indians. Hoonah is the largest
Tlingit village in southeast Alaska.
Icy Strait Point Shopping
find tons of tee shirts, parkas, sweatshirts and other
The Various Shops in the
Many of the
stores sale local art and craft items that are collectible.
Leather Goods are Plentiful
also see furs and other leather goods.
More Tee Shirts and Logo
on most of the items in the stores are quite reasonable.
The Local Cream Remedies
note are the cream remedies that the Indians produce and
sell. They are made from local bushes and shrubs and deal
with a wide variety of issues. The thing is, they really
work. My wife suffers from eczema and purchased some local
cream said to heal eczema. It did!
More Local Art
have a great time just shopping in the cannery.
The Hoonah Packing Company
Turned Shopping Center
is ample shopping in the Hoonah Packing Company stores there
is also a couple of shops in downtown Hoonah.
had some great Alaskan tee shirts with completely unique
The Icy Strait Zip Line
Strait Point boasts the world's longest zip line. I
suspect that it is, as it take approximately 45-minutes
to drive to the top of the mountain where the ride
begins. The ride is 5,330 feet long and has a vertical
drop of 1,300 feet. You hit a maximum speed of 60 mph
and the entire ride takes less than two minutes. Also,
you will need to book this with the ship, as it will
sell out and is not available off of the ship if you
decide to do it.
The Hoonah Packing Company
Part of the
Icy Strait Point complex includes a free museum that
documents the cannery's history. It is extremely interesting
and well worth the time to explore it.
The Icy Strait Point
surrounding Icy Strait Point and between Icy Strait
Point and Hoonah is simply beautiful. A forest trail is
maintained for folks to explore the deep forest at Icy
Strait Point and it is very enjoyable.
The Rain Forest
is populated with fragile ferns and other plants that grace
the forest floor. The entire forest floor feels as if you
are walking on a soft mattress because of the compost that
has piled up year after year.
Icy Strait Point Bicycle
are done exploring Icy Strait Point you will probably want
to make your way to Hoonah. There are three ways to do it.
There is a shuttle that will take you for $5.00, you can
rent a bicycle and ride your way there or you can walk.
One of the Waterfalls on
the Way to Hoonah
recommend walking simply because this will expose you some
of the most beautiful countryside that you have ever seen.
On our walk (there and back) we saw sea lions, a humpback
whale, a bald eagle and several small animals. This is
Alaska at its best. You will see several waterfalls, rugged
forest, sea life galore and many animals and birds. The walk
is about a mile and a half with no hills whatsoever. There
is a trail that follows the road right along the coast and
it is surrounded by forest and beauty.
A Hoonah Graveyard
pass two graveyards on the way and they are well worth
visiting. The graveyards document the history of Hoonah
A Hoonah Totem Pole
arrive in Hoonah you will pass the hardware store and local
market. There is little doubt that Hoonah is not a tourist
Hoonah is a
small village made up of a ferry terminal and the vital
necessities for living. There is a small grocery store,
hardware store, a couple of shops and some restaurants.
Hoonah is the regional center for fisherman and fresh fish
is available every morning on the docks. There is a ferry
that runs between Juneau and Hoonah that is used by locals
to get into the "city"
Grandma Nina's Coffee Shop
Outfitters is located in Grandma Nina's Coffee Shop and
offers local fishing excursions for both fresh water and
salt water experiences. They can also arrange bear watch
trips, as well. Contact them in advance of arriving in
Icy Straight Point to book your excursion.
and Drinking Suggestions:
Inn, Hoonah: All three restaurants in Hoonah are
excellent, but Mary's was simply outstanding! This restaurant
was the high point of the visit to Icy Strait Point. Since
we were just trying the food, we ordered a single order of
halibut and chips that we shared just so we could experience
the quality. The fish was the best of the entire trip and
also very plentiful. The owner then gave us a bowl of egg
drop soup and poured tea for all of us. The soup and the tea
were no charge. If you are going to dine off of the ship,
definitely make your way to Mary's and enjoy!
The Owners of Mary's
Restaurant in Hoonah
fresh fish, the owners offer a complete Chinese food menu that
was to die for. I love Chinese food and was regretting not
being able to try several of their creative dishes.
Mary and Me
watched as the husband prepared several dishes in a wok that
looked as good as any I have ever seen. This place is
awesome! Mary's wonderful personality and caring nature make
this restaurant a complete winner.
Office, Hoonah: The runner up restaurant in Hoonah was
the Office. They were cooking fresh crabs in the pot on the
porch of the restaurant when folks order them. This is the
true meaning of "fresh" crabs. We ordered a Dungeness crab
that we split between us and also an Alaskan Amber.
The Office Interior
Office was full of locals and some cruise passengers, Mary's
wins hands down. However, if you want crab specifically, the
Office is much better than the Crab Station in Icy Strait
Icy Strait Point
The Crab Station
Station: I found this place a little misleading. There
is an aquarium adjacent to the Crab Station that has some
wonderful large Dungeness crabs in it serving as an
advertisement. We ordered one crab to
check out the quality and was served a small Dungeness crab
that was easily half the size of the one we were served in
the Office. The catch? We were charged $23.95 for the crab.
My suggestion make you way to Hoonah before you eat
The Cookhouse Restaurant
Cookhouse Restaurant: Not really a restaurant, but a
burger and seafood cafe.
This is a
self serve restaurant with plastic forks and knives. It can
be very crowded and noisy. Unless you are starving, go to
The Landing Zone Restaurant
Landing Zone Restaurant and Bar: Next to the Zip Line
landing zone you will find the Landing Zone Restaurant and
Bar. We were full by the time we arrived here, so just
checked out the menu and found it was exactly the same as
the Cookhouse Restaurant.
didn't do it, I would say that doing the Zip Line is a "must
do" I would certainly sign up for it on my next visit.
Everyone that did it raved about the experience. Icy Strait
Point has an excellent website that will help you plan your
visit. Click HERE
to visit it.
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