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Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Icy Strait Point, Alaska

30 Aug 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

The fourth day of our Alaska cruise brings us to Icy Strait Point, a small port located on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska.

Icy Strait Point is a Native owned and operated cruise port run by the Native population in the area. It's a private port run exclusively for cruise ship tourists.

The gangway opened at 8AM this morning, but we weren't in a rush to disembark the ship as all-aboard time wasn't until 5:30PM. Yesterday we were only in Juneau from 1:30 to 7:30, so it felt really rushed.

I wasn't totally sure what to expect for Icy Strait Point. The words "private port for cruise ships" initially sounded like it might be a tourist trap, and I thought there wouldn't be much to do due to the port's small size.

That being said, I wanted to keep an open mind. Plus, the surrounding scenery was gorgeous, so even if I didn't find much to do I figured I could at least still enjoy a nice view!

First impressions of Icy Strait Point

We disembarked around 9:30AM and began exploring the port. The bridge to the dock was the steepest I've seen yet! There were also complimentary shuttles available to take guests across the water over the bridge.

Once I started exploring Icy Strait Point, I found that it offered the perfect mix of a private, touristy port area while still maintaining local culture and lifestyle.

A zip line and gondola ride were available for adrenaline-seekers and this proved to be popular despite the rain.

In addition, there are several restaurants, food stalls, a bar, shopping areas, a museum, nature trails, culture center, and scenic viewing spots to explore in Icy Strait Point.

It didn't feel like a tourist trap at all and exceeded my expectations! It was really serene, especially when compared to more populous cruise ports in Alaska. The workers in Icy Strait Point were all very welcoming and friendly, too.

Icy Strait Point has a nice boardwalk leading to a beautiful orca statue, and it's the perfect spot to look for wildlife and enjoy the view. We spotted a cute otter (or sea lion?) playing in the water, but failed to see any whales! Some guests saw a couple whales from the viewpoint, though, so it's worth a try!

We then walked through Icy Strait Point's museum and souvenir shop. I really enjoyed the museum, which discussed Alaska's history and culture with displays on topics from salmon production to the gold rush era.

Afternoon in Hoonah, Alaska

When researching Icy Strait Point, I learned of a small town called Hoonah located just 1.5 miles from the port. Residents of Hoonah run the cruise port.

I hoped to visit Hoonah and I was pleased to find out that the town made it extremely easy to visit from Icy Strait Point. I was worried it would be challenging to leave the private port area and venture to town, but it turns out that visiting Hoonah is encouraged and common.

While I found the amenities of Icy Strait Point nice, I was excited to see a more local side to Alaska in Hoonah.

Reaching Hoonah can be achieved via a 30-40 minute walk or by a complimentary shuttle bus. As the weather was quite nice in the morning, Reeham and I decided to walk.

The walk was a lovely and peaceful stroll along a coastal path with breathtaking views. Informational bulletins were placed along the way to give more insight into the area's history, and there were a few areas to take a rest along the way. Even if you don't plan to visit Hoonah, I'd recommend the coastal path solely for the views.

As we got closer to town, it started to rain pretty heavily, so we were definitely grateful for our rain jackets and waterproof daypacks. Whatever you do, don't forget a rain jacket and waterproof backpack on an Alaska cruise!

Related: What should you bring on an Alaska cruise?

Once in Hoonah, we came across a building where several locals were carving a traditional totem pole. You'll see these totem poles all over Alaska, and each one tells a different story through its carvings.

The craftsmanship and artistry of creating these totem poles is truly impressive, and it's always fascinating to watch how they carve such intricate designs into a giant log!

Following the carving demonstration, we spent more time walking around Hoonah. It was really small and felt authentic, as there were no lines of jewelry stores and other souvenir shops like you'll find in the immediate downtown of other Alaska cruise ports.

I found it intriguing to see how people live in such a remote location. We stopped into a local grocery store and I was shocked by the prices! Individual apples were $2, a jar of salsa $8, a box of Quaker oatmeal $28, and a bag of jerky was priced at $23!

Lunchtime soon approached and I was excited to taste Hoonah's local cuisine. There are only a couple places to eat in town, and I had heard great things from a few locals about The Fisherman's Daughter, a seafood restaurant in the center of town.

The Fisherman's Daughter was founded by Kristi Styers, the daughter of a local fisherman. Her restaurant focuses on salmon and halibut caught locally or brought to town from nearby Juneau.

We ordered the salmon bites ($23) and a bowl of clam chowder ($6.50) and it was fantastic! Fresh Alaskan salmon was chopped into bite-sized pieces, breaded in panko bread crumbs, and deep fried. These little bites of goodness were so addicting; I wish I had been hungry enough to try more!

The weather in Icy Strait Point/Hoonah today couldn't make up its mind between sunny skies and heavy rain. At this point of the day it was pouring, so we took the shuttle back to Icy Strait Point instead of walking.

The shuttle took around 10 minutes to reach Icy Strait Point, where we were greeted with a delightful smell of cinnamon and sugar.

That smell led us to Lil’ Gen’s Donuts, a small stand selling mini doughnuts by the dozen in tons of flavors. We ordered 6 huckleberry and 6 chocolate coconut espresso mini doughnuts, and they definitely hit the spot!

I also made friends with a local cat, so that was another highlight of the day!

Back onboard

We got back onboard in mid-afternoon, and I took advantage of the sunny skies to finally walk around the outdoor decks of Radiance of the Seas.

I also spent some time filming a full ship tour of Radiance of the Seas for the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel, so be sure to subscribe to our channel so you'll be notified when we post new videos!

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting in our stateroom before catching sailaway from the pool deck. I also made a brief visit to the Diamond Lounge, which had plenty of yummy snacks available.

Sailing away from Icy Strait Point was really beautiful, so I watched the views from the Viking Crown Lounge while sipping a mojito and looking for wildlife in the calm waters outside.

I also spent a half hour or so chatting with Ari and Manuel, two crew members working in the lounge! I love getting to know the crew and everyone has such interesting backgrounds and stories.

Reeham and I were so busy looking at the scenery that we totally forgot about dinner! We ended up going to the late night seating at 8:30 in the Main Dining Room. I've never eaten in the MDR so late before, but I loved the more relaxed atmosphere as there were far fewer guests dining late. The service also seemed to be about 2x faster than the early dinner seating.

We finished dinner around 9:45 and went back to our stateroom to get some rest for tomorrow in Sitka, our fourth port of call.

Jenna DeLaurentis enjoys exploring new ports of call around the world on a cruise ship, learning about new cultures, discovering beautiful landscapes, and trying diverse cuisine. She loves to get active while at port, whether cycling through mountains in the Caribbean or scuba diving under the sea.

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