Icy Strait Point, near Hoonah, Alaska, welcomed its first cruise ships of the season last week — and offered travelers several new tastes of the region.
Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas, Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice and Century ships, Regent Seven Seas Navigator and Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Pearl all called at Icy Strait Point this past week. 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 Icy Strait Point between May and September 2014. Approximately 130,000 travelers are arriving this summer — double the volume of Icy Strait Point’s first season in 2004.
Known for sharing the area’s Tlingit culture with guests through 22 shore excursions, Icy Strait Point recently teamed up with regional purveyors to capture the flavors of Southeast Alaska, adding exclusive beverage products to its restaurant menus, already full of dishes that showcase Alaska seafood and regional ingredients.
Sitka-based Baranof Island Brewing Co. created a specialty beer for the cruise ship destination called Cannery Red, only available to visitors at Icy Strait Point. The name of the beer reflects the history of the restored Hoonah Packing Co. cannery at Icy Strait Point, which now houses several gift shops and a museum in its bright red building.
Heritage Coffee in nearby Juneau also developed a Mug Up brand of coffee to be served exclusively in Icy Strait Point’s Mug Up café and restaurants. The first two blends to be released are the aptly named Smooth Sailin’ and its hyper-caffeinated alternative, In-seine-ity, named for the seine boats that fish the area waters. The Mug Up brand is an ode to the Hoonah Packing Co. cannery workers of years past who would drink mugs of coffee to power through long, intense shifts at the cannery processing fish when the fishing boats came in due to the lack of refrigeration.
The Crab Station at Icy Strait Point, which has been serving guests fresh wild Alaska crab for years, will be offering up a new drink specialty this season as well. A twist on the traditional bloody mary, the drink will feature a crab leg, shrimp, sea asparagus garnish (a local specialty), lime and a salted rim. Guests can pair their bloody mary with their choice of Dungeness, king or tanner crab, all of which are taken out of the water live and then cooked and served up fresh.
“We’ve worked for over a decade toward incorporating local culture and crafts and regional food into each guest’s experience here,” said Stuart Campbell, Icy Strait Point’s food and beverage director. “It makes sense to work with local brands and products from Southeast Alaska to bring visitors at Icy Strait Point the most unique trip possible.”
Since its inception in 2004, Icy Strait Point has been on a mission to share the Huna Tlingit culture with its guests. An understanding of the area and its peoples’ relationship with the land is one of the most important lessons a visitor can take away.