As part of its commitment to the growing Alaska market, Norwegian Cruise Line today announced several strategic initiatives, including partnering with an Alaska Native corporation to transform Icy Strait Point into a vehicle-free tourism hub. Two eight passenger gondola systems will transport 5,600 guests per hour between a new Wilderness Landing, the historic Icy Strait cannery and Hoonah Mountain, which features the world’s longest ZipRider.
“Wilderness Landing will cater to visitors in search of individualized experiences with the land, wildlife and native peoples of Alaska,” said Norwegian, which will gain preferred berthing rights at Icy Strait. As part of the expansion, Huna Totem Corporation will install two gondolas and develop the upper part of Hoonah Mountain near its ZipRider attraction to offer additional experiences for visitors in 2020. To elevate the experience and maintain its natural setting, Wilderness Landing will be a vehicle-free zone. Instead of needing an estimated 72 buses to move guests around the site, travelers will be able to move through the treetops between the historic cannery and Wilderness Landing on the Transporter, a high-speed gondola system supplied by Doppelmayr. The gondola will be wheelchair and scooter accessible.
Opening a few months later in mid-summer, a second gondola will take guests up the 1,600-foot Hoonah Mountain to the forested area around the ZipRider launch. The six minute ride will unlock additional areas for exploration and afford spectacular views of icefields, the Fairweather Range and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit people. Huna Totem Corporation will develop new attractions for guests: a top-of-the-mountain nature trail around a glacially-carved reflecting pond, a 340-foot suspension bridge swaying over a box-canyon with a 900-foot vertical drop, and a tour departure center for bear searches and ATV adventures. Helicopter flightseeing and more will be added during the 2021 season.
“The natural beauty of Alaska makes it one of the most popular destinations to visit, and our investments in the region will enable us to provide our guests with a best-in-class experience as they explore the wonders of the Last Frontier,” said Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “These strategic initiatives mark the latest steps in our ongoing efforts to promote economic development in the region and make a positive economic and environmentally sensible impact on the Alaska tourism industry.”