Story last updated at 9/4/2013 - 6:42 pm
The Alaska Native-owned and operated Icy Strait Point will welcome two new cruise ships during the 2014 summer season. Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line will each send an additional ship to call on the Southeast Alaska cruise ship destination, the Celebrity Solstice and the Norwegian Pearl respectively.
The Celebrity Century and Millennium ships and the Norwegian Sun already visit Icy Strait Point regularly. In total Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Holland America Line will make 73 ship calls on the Alaska Native cruise ship destination between May and September 2014.
"We're only 10 years old. It's rewarding to see a growing demand for the experiences we offer to travelers," said Johan Dybdahl, Icy Strait Point director of special projects and community relations. Dybdahl grew up in Hoonah on the site where Icy Strait Point now stands and has been involved in its development and operation from the beginning.
Approximately 130,000 travelers are arriving this summer - double the volume of Icy Strait Point's first season in 2004. More than a million cruise guests have visited since 2004.
Approximately 70,000 of those travelers have taken a ride on one of the destination's most popular excursions - the ZipRider zip line, which opened in May 2007. The world's highest and largest zip line, the ZipRider features six side-by-side cables that release six guests simultaneously for a thrill ride, dropping 1,300 feet from the top of a mountain to the shore below at Icy Strait Point. Guests travel nearly 5,330 feet, reaching speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
The extreme attraction has drawn adventurers of all kinds, including Governor Sean Parnell, state legislature representatives, grandparents, honeymooners, kids and most recently producers of Travel Channel's new show "RIDE-iculous." The ZipRider will be featured on the TV show on Sunday, Sept. 1.
For those intrigued by the ride, 2014 cruise itineraries are already available through each of the cruise lines visiting Icy Strait Point. The 2014 season opens on May 11.
Opened in 2004, Icy Strait Point is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Huna Totem Corporation, the village corporation owned by approximately 1,350 Alaska Natives with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area. Located 50 miles west of Juneau and 22 miles south of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Icy Strait Point is the only privately owned cruise ship destination in Southeast Alaska. The former Hoonah Packing Co. Cannery building complex was restored to house the destination's museum, gift shops, restaurants and theater. Guests can take part in 23 guided shore excursions on site. For more information on visitor activities, please visit www.icystraitpoint.com.