Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the innovator in global cruise travel with a 54‑year history of breaking boundaries, completed its milestone‑making voyage in the U.S. with Norwegian Encore’s return to Seattle on Aug. 14, 2021 after a celebratory week of calls to the Alaska ports of Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Ketchikan for the very first time.
After suspending sailings 17 months ago, Norwegian Encore made her debut on the West Coast and showcased NCL’s commitment to Alaska by unveiling new guest experiences at Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan, Alaska. During the sailing attended by more than 2500 guests as well as members of the SailSAFE™ Global Health and Wellness Council members, NCL also received a commendation from the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation for its joint sustainability efforts with the new Ward Cove development in Ketchikan.
“It has been incredibly rewarding to sail again and to see our robust health and safety measures in action,” said Harry Sommer, Norwegian Cruise Line president and chief executive officer. “The past week was filled with firsts: Not only was it Norwegian Encore’s Alaskan debut and our first sailing out of the U.S. in 17 months, but we also officially opened two new docks, developed with our local partners in Icy Strait Point and Ward Cove in Ketchikan.”
On Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021, a double ribbon cutting ceremony took place at Icy Strait Point to officially open the new Wilderness Landing pier and the first of two gondola systems to be completed as part of a joint investment between Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) and the Huna Totem Corporation. The new Wilderness Landing provides additional forest and beach areas for visitors to explore the natural wonders of the destination. With the opening of the new high‑speed Transporter Gondola, guests have easy access to Icy Strait Point’s first pier, Adventure Landing, where the Historic Salmon Cannery dating back to 1912 and other local attractions are located. Once completed later this summer, the Mountain Top Gondola will take guests to the top of Hoonah Mountain at 1,600‑feet of elevation, where miles of new hiking trails and scenic vistas await.
In addition, on Thursday, Aug. 12, the Company and Norwegian Encore made history yet again, docking for the first time at The Mill at Ward Cove in Ketchikan. The Mill at Ward Cove is a development by Ward Cove Dock Group, LLC in partnership with NCLH to build a two‑berth cruise ship dock and corresponding Welcome Center and Passenger Transit Facility. The Mill at Ward Cove is the first step in creating a world‑class tourism destination in Southern Southeast Alaska that promotes the heritage and adventurous spirit of the region through an immersive experience.