Cruise passengers are ferried to the Icy Strait Port through a wooden jetty from the Port Frederick Bay. The port was built in 2001 to specifically serve the cruise ship industry. It is a mile away from the famous and historic village of Hoonah, Alaska. The port developer wanted the Icy Strait cruise port to be non-commercialized and was built to allow the passengers feel the “wilderness experience”. Don’t be surprised if you are given a piece of cedar wood upon docking, you need to throw this to the burning Ceremonial Fire by the port. This ceremony represents the hospitality of the locals.
Icy Strait is rich in Tlingit culture and history as well as buildings made of sustainable materials. Nature trips, extreme sport activities and the world’s longest zip line are some of the exhilarating activities that you can enjoy while you are in town.
You can stop by at the Salmon Shop, one of the cannery shops that are just a few steps away from the dock. You can taste Alaska’s canned salmon, caviar and salmon jerky fresh from the cannery.
The “silver dollar” is a must-have souvenir and is offered to every visitor upon arrival at the port. It’s a coin engraved with Indian symbols and the town’s motto “Woosh-Jee-Een” which means pulling together.
Warehouse shops surrounding the Icy Strait Museum sell a variety of goods; from smoked salmon to hand-made crafts and jewelry. The Carey’s Handmade Glass Beads shop is an exclusive store of handmade glass bead jewelry.
Other shops selling handicrafts are Gut Shu Wu, Southeast Artworks, Alaska Gift Shop and the Arctic Spirit.
Things to See
Most of the attractions in town are 10 to 15 minutes’ walk away from the Icy Strait port of call. Once you docked at the port, you will not want to miss the Cannery Museum, where you can see displays of all kinds of fish processing equipment. If you decide to go on a tour inside the museum for $20, you will be given a souvenir timecard and a fish-cutter apron so you can start your shift as worker. They will teach the basics of the canning process.
You can also join the Remote Bush Exploration and Wildlife Search Tour led by locals. The tour starts with a drive along Frederick Bay and you can take photos of sea otters and bald eagles. The bay is also home to the Alaskan Salmon, black cod, crabs and halibut. After cruising along the bay, you will then be brought to the rainforest to check out bear and deer sightings. All sorts of berries also grow in the forest and you can even taste them during the trek.
Other activities include whale watching, salmon fishing and kayaking in the Glacier Bay National Park.
Restaurants and Bars
There are two main restaurants in Icy Strait; the Timberhouse Restaurant and the café-style Cookhouse. The former serves halibut burgers, chips and salad. While enjoying your food, you can also do whale watching as the restaurant provides a superb view of the Frederick Bay.
The Landing Zone Restaurant and Bar serves Alaskan beer, seafood dishes and a waterfront view of the bay. You can also stop for snacks at the Fish House Excursion Lounge.