High-speed gondola planned to transport NCL cruisers at Icy Strait Point

The pier at Icy Strait Point.
The pier at Icy Strait Point.

An aerial lift system is in the works for the new Wilderness Landing at the dock being built for Norwegian Cruise Line at Alaska's Icy Strait Point, a feature that will eliminate the need for bus transportation at the site.

Huna Totem Corp. -- the Native American entity that developed and owns Icy Strait Point, near Juneau -- is installing an elevated line with two gondolas and developing the upper part of Hoonah Mountain near its ZipRider attraction to offer additional experiences for visitors in 2020.

Norwegian said the gondolas will enable Wilderness Landing to be a "vehicle-free zone." It estimated that without the system, 72 buses would be needed to move guests from ships such as the Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss around the port.

"Travelers will be able to move through the treetops between the Historic Cannery and Wilderness Landing on the Transporter, a high-speed gondola system installed by the world's premier lift manufacturer, Doppelmayr Lift Systems," Norwegian said.

It said the gondola is wheelchair- and scooter-accessible and is capable of moving more than 5,600 visitors per hour in eight-person cabins.

Doppelmayr has supplied similar systems at ski and tourist areas around the world.

Norwegian said a second line to the lift system will provide a six-minute ride to the top of Hoonah Mountain.

New excursion attractions will be developed by Huna Totem and are expected to debut in 2021. They include a network of walking trails; a 340-foot suspension bridge swaying over a box-canyon with a 900-foot vertical drop; and a tour departure center for bear searches, ATV adventures, and helicopter flightseeing.

Guests may also enjoy an extended, top-of-the-mountain nature trail loop around a glacially carved reflecting pond.

Norwegian said by traveling to the top of Hoonah Mountain guests will have expansive views of icefields, the Fairweather Range and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

The gondola is expected to be ready at the start of the 2020 season for the lower part and mid-summer for the ride up the mountain.


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