Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Huna Totem Corporation have agreed to jointly develop a new cruise terminal facility in Whittier, Alaska. The project will include access for trains and busses as well, offering travelers more convenient ways to enjoy the gateway to Prince William Sound, one of the most picturesque areas of Alaska and a popular stop for cruise ships.
Joint Project Announced
The new development is a joint project between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Huna Totem Corporation. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings includes not only Norwegian Cruise Line, but also Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and all three lines will have access to berths at the new facility.
Huna Totem Corporation is one of the most successful Native village corporations in Alaska, with the mission of advancing “the economic aspirations and culture of the Xúna Kaawu through business excellence, sustainable economic growth, leadership, and education.”
In addition to the cruise ship dock, the new project will also include overall terminal facilities with rail and bus access. This will permit easy arrivals and departures for shore excursions, giving cruise passengers more opportunities to explore and appreciate the area’s outstanding natural beauty. While details have not been released, it is likely the terminal will include local retailers and restaurants as well.
As Whittier is just an hour and a half from Anchorage it is possible that this new development may also create more options for embarkation and debarkation or pre- and post-cruise tours, though this has not been confirmed at this point.
“The strong public-private partnership with the City of Whittier, Norwegian, and Huna Totem is the tourism model of the future for Alaska,” said Russell Dick, Huna Totem Corporation President & Chief Executive Officer.
“This project integrates the natural beauty of Prince William Sound, its rich history, and diverse cultural experiences into the design of a new turn-port destination in Southcentral Alaska. Norwegian’s commitment to the Port of Whittier expands sustainable tourism for all of Alaska, and Huna Totem is thrilled to be part of this vision,” he continued.
The project will be privately funded, and no timeline has been announced either for the project to begin or for when it may be finished and ready for visitors.
Second Collaboration Between Companies
The new terminal to be developed in Whittier is the second joint development project between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Huna Totem Corporation.
The two companies partnered to develop a cruise pier and other facilities in Icy Strait Point, Huna Totem’s world-class cruise ship destination in Hoonah, Alaska, and close to Juneau, the state’s capital. Norwegian Cruise Line made its inaugural call on the Wilderness Landing pier at Icy Strait Point on August 7, 2021.
“Alaska is one of the premier cruise destinations in the world and we are excited to partner once again with Huna Totem Corporation to develop facilities to enhance the experience of the hundreds of thousands of guests our brands bring to Alaska on a yearly basis,” said Juan Kuryla, Senior Vice-president of Port Development and Construction for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “We are proud to continue our commitment to bringing positive, long-term and sustainable economic impact to the region, particularly after the challenges the Alaska cruise tourism industry has faced over the past two years.”
Norwegian Encore was the first ship to visit the Icy Strait Point facilities. To commemorate the occasion, a special ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially open the pier and the first of two gondola systems. That port of call has quickly become a favorite among cruise ship passengers.
Huna Totem’s port model at Icy Strait Point is globally recognized and has received numerous awards, including Seatrade’s Global Port of the Year in 2020. That expertise and the company’s commitment to local sustainability and native preservation ensures that the new development at Whittier will be equally outstanding.