In mid-August, Norwegian Cruise Line celebrated its return to cruises in the U.S. with an inaugural call to Icy Strait Point, Alaska by the ship Norwegian Encore.
NCL restarted its cruise operations on July 25 following a more than 500 day suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Norwegian Encore, which is NCL’s newest cruise vessel, set sail from Seattle on Aug. 7 for her first season of voyages to Alaska. According to NCL, the Norwegian Encore is the first in the cruise industry to berth at the new Wilderness Landing pier at Icy Strait Point, which was built in partnership between NCL’s parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) and Huna Totem Corp., the village corporation owned by about 1,400 Alaska Native shareholders with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area.
Icy Strait Point is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Huna Totem Corp.
On Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, a double ribbon cutting ceremony took place to officially open the new Wilderness Landing pier and the first of two gondola systems being completed as part of the joint investment between NCLH and Huna Totem.
“Our return to Alaska is a monumental moment for not only NCL but for the state’s communities as well,” Norwegian Cruise Line President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Sommer said. “The absence of cruising last year was detrimental to these communities, which lost approximately $1.5 billion.”
“Our return represents our continued commitment to Alaska and to the well-being of the destinations we visit,” he continued. “Our investment in Icy Strait Point is providing our guests with more opportunities to experience and understand the natural and cultural beauty of the destination and its people.”
Norwegian Encore made her first calls to Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska in mid-August before returning to Seattle. A season of week-long voyages to Alaska is expected to continue through Oct. 16.