New Alaska Native destination Klawock bags first call

PHOTO: NA-DENA` CRUISE_Klawock.jpg
Klawock treats cruisers to views of the wildlife-rich archipelagos, dramatic mountains and lush islands
Featuring sport fishing, culinary experiences, wildlife viewing and totem carving traditions, Alaska’s next cruise ship destination is being built near the Tlingit village of Klawock.

Oceania Cruises is the first line scheduled to visit on May 24, 2023, with three additional calls in the 2023 season.

Na-Dena`, the joint venture between Alaska Native corporations Doyon, Limited and Huna Totem Corp., will lean on Huna Totem’s success in sustainable tourism in the development of the port, and work alongside Klawock Heenya Corp., an Alaska Native village corporation that represents the Tlingit people from Klawock.

Globally recognized port development model

The Huna Totem port development model is globally recognized for its ability to create balance in small communities while welcoming larger groups of travelers, as it does in Hoonah and its cruise port, Icy Strait Point. (Icy Strait was Seatrade Cruise Awards' Port of the Year in 2020.) Adopting Na-Dena`’s core development principles, Klawock will share local culture and promote employment of Native and local Alaska workforce and feature an Alaska-only retail program.

CRUISE_Klawock_map.jpg

Ideally positioned

Built on 16 acres on Klawock Island, the port sits on the Pacific coast side of Prince of Wales Island and is said to be ideally positioned for both north and southbound Alaska itineraries. With two separate fjord entrances, sailing in and out of the port treats cruisers to views of the wildlife-rich archipelagos, dramatic mountains and lush islands. The port island connects by bridge to Prince of Wales’ vast road system to other communities and tour options around the island.

'Tourism is the opportunity we need,' said Klawock Heenya Corp. President Teresa D. Fairbanks. 'It’s exciting to now pursue the future for Klawock and our Native shareholders. We know building a tourism-based economy is a process, but we share a similar history of fish canning and timber harvesting with Hoonah. Thanks to the partnership with Na-Dena`, together, we know Klawock Heenya will be successful.'

Attractions and tours built around traditions, wildlife

Na-Dena` will assist Klawock Heenya Corp. to develop attractions and tours that embrace Klawock’s totem-carving traditions, the abundance of wildlife and the area’s renowned sport fishing industry.

'Our vision of tourism, balanced with Alaska’s cruise industry, creates meaning for travelers and our Native communities,' said Huna Totem Corp. President and CEO Russell Dick. 'Huna Totem’s Icy Strait Point incorporates elements of who we are as Alaska Native people, leaving travelers with a better understanding of our culture and the importance of our lands and surrounding environment. While the experience enhances their Alaska vacation, in turn, it also builds economic stability for all Alaska Native people to practice and share our traditions and history with the world. Na-Dena` looks forward to celebrating Klawock Heenya’s values and traditions in Alaska’s newest port.'

Alaska's tourism industry evolving

The port of Klawock helps Na-Dena` promote the evolution of Alaska's tourism industry, providing travelers with an increasing number of cultural tour products and sustainable tourism opportunities. The port partnership expects to announce additional cruise line visits for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

'A port is the next natural step for Na-Dena`,' Doyon President and CEO Aaron M. Schutt said. 'We are looking forward to expanding tourism in Southeast Alaska to keep up with the increase in visitor volume and introducing cruise guests to Alaska Native culture.'

Huna Totem and Oceania Cruises' parent, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, also have a memorandum of agreement to develop berthing and upland facilities in Whittier, Alaska.

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