Norwegian Cruise Line announced this morning that they’re planning to return to operation in Alaska starting on August 7, 2021. Norwegian Bliss will sail weeklong voyages from Seattle with calls on Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Icy Strait Point, Alaska. Selection voyages will also feature Glacier Bay National Park or the Holkham Bay Glacier Fjord.
“Seattle has always been our second home, and we are beyond excited to return to this incredible homeport and to once again bring our guests to Alaska,” said Harry Sommer, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Twenty-one years ago, we were the first to offer itineraries to Alaska from Seattle, and we continue to celebrate a strong relationship with our partners in this spectacular destination. We have been waiting for a very long time to announce a resumption of cruising from the U.S. We are so proud to be sailing for the first time in over a year from our special homeport of Seattle to the breathtaking state of Alaska.”
Alaska Tourism Recovery Act
The news comes on the heels of the passage of the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act by both Houses of Congress which temporarily waives the Passenger Vessel Services Act, allowing cruising to Alaska to resume upon obtaining the pending Conditional Sailing Certificate from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Alaskans are ready to welcome visitors from across the globe to Alaska, where they can personally experience the scenic and cultural wonders that can only be found here,” said Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I am grateful for the teamwork and thoughtful planning that many people from Norwegian Cruise Line, Alaska’s local governments, our congressional delegation, tourism industry, and the state’s public health team put into preparing for a cruise ship season that promises to be both safe and rewarding for everyone.”
New Pier at Icy Strait Point
The sailings also feature the second cruise pier in Icy Strait Point, which Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings developed in partnership with Alaska Native-owned Huna Totem Corporation.The pier was originally scheduled to open in 2020.
The expanded Wilderness Landing on Icy Strait Point is a highlight of the new development and includes retail shops and restaurants, as well as shore excursion offerings, including the world’s largest ZipRider zip line, the most accessible coastal brown bear viewing platforms in Southeast Alaska, whale watching, fishing adventures and walking trails as well as Alaska’s first gondola connecting the new Wilderness Landing development to the Adventure Landing and Historic Hoonah Packing Company Cannery.
There’s also plans for a Mountain Top gondola coming in 2022 which would offer some of the best views of the icefields.