Accessibility Issues When Cruising to Icy Strait Point

Uncategorized Jan 18, 2021

Accessibility on the cruise port at Icy Strait Point, Alaska and what wheelchair users need to know

So, you are planning a cruise to Icy Strait Point, Alaska. You have heard about the local, Native culture and hospitality and the indescribable wilderness. Wanting to experience it for yourself you would like to tour the port area on your visit but wonder how this will work with my mobility limitations.  

Come along with us and see what to expect on a cruise day on NCL Jewel at Icy Strait Point.  

Preparing for the Day 

Alaska is known for rainy days, but today we are happy to see just some cloudiness. I was able to video some of the trip into Icy Strait Point from our balcony.  The water was very calm, as it usually is on Alaska cruises. As it is April the temperature is cool but not uncomfortable.   

When cruising to Alaska in the early or late season, it is good to remember raingear and warmer clothing. Here is a link to a great coverup for wheelchair and scooter users, which kept Cheryl and our gear dry on several occasions. It is a good bit heavy but that works great to help it not blow about in the wind. It will take up more space in your luggage than a thin rain poncho. Cheryl says the thickness of the cover also helps her stay warmer.

We all enjoyed breakfast in the dining room. This is a wonderful opportunity to eat foods we love but take more time to prepare than we normally do at home. Bon appetite! 

I chose broiled kippers and bacon for breakfast. 

My granddaughter chose eggs benedict. 

My wife opted for the pancakes. 

On Shore Activities

Getting To Shore

If you want a fully accessible excursion, be sure to book your trip on a ship that will dock at the pier, not a ship that will be using a lifeboat tender. The lifeboat tenders are not fully accessible, so you would need to be able to take several steps up and down to take an excursion. The crew would then move your wheelchair for you. 

We planned this be a special day for my granddaughter and I to have some time together. We both love fishing and boats, and a cruise can be a great option for taking a grandfather – granddaughter fishing trip at Icy Strait Point. As this was our special day together, Grandma Cheryl decided to spend a relaxing day on board. 

Since we were not in a rush, we did not use tender tickets, we just waited a while, watching the tendering/loading process and got right onto a tender. 

The tender ride was just a few minutes and then we were on the dock next to the NCL JoyThe photo shows the steepness of the ramp from the floating dock next to the Joy. Those who can walk without limitations walk up the ramp. For those that have mobility issues, there is a shuttle that will take you to various areas around the port, with both pick up and drop off. , and it picks up and drops off at the bottom by the ship for those that have mobility issues.

Activities at the Port  

A short walk takes us to the visitor's center. From the visitor's center we explored the port area and walked along the nature trail. The visitor’s center is accessible. 

The nature trail is a hard smooth gravel surface that will work well for scooters and on which a wheelchair could be pushed. Here is a link to a video of the nature trail. Nature Trail Video


After exploring this area, we went to the shops located in the old cannery, which has souvenirs and gifts available and relics from the cannery’s heyday. The pier area is accessible. 

Murray Lundberg, a Canadian Historian said the restaurant on the pier had the best crab legs in Alaska. We would have tried some, but by the time we got there the line was out the door. So, it would be good to obtain an early tender ticket or debark early if you plan to eat there.

Halibut Fishing Excursion (limited accessibility) 

Our fishing guide picked us up in an area set aside for tour groups, though he probably wasn't supposed to. The port controls access to make you use their tours. We booked independently and saved a significant amount of money.  We also had a choice of morning or afternoon trips this way. 

With a short drive to the nearby village of Hoonah, we boarded the boat. This excursion had limited accessibility and required a good bit of stamina.  

On the way to the fishing grounds, we saw a whale in the distance. The water was smooth with almost no motion to it. Our guide from Ear Mountain Charters was knowledgeable and outgoing. The trip our and back were quite pleasant.  Here is a link to the video. Video Halibut Fishing in Icy Strait Point

This was a fishing trip, not a catching trip. While we did get several strikes, no one landed a fish, and while that was a little sad, my granddaughter and I had a fun time together and enjoyed the trip. 

The Finishing Touch – Dinner in Tsar’s Palace and a Show 

After the fishing trip, it was time for dinner in Tsar's Palace. Here are some of our choices from dinner. 

Spareribs and Spring rolls for an appetizer. 

Waldorf Salad

Bang Bang Shrimp and Chicken

Shrimp and Mushroom Alfredo


Almond Crusted Ruby Red Trout


Brownie Smore

Bananas Foster

Then off to the show. The comedian, Tim Kaminski, got people from the audience involved. It was fun ending to a pleasant day in Icy Straight Point.  

What to Remember  

Exploring the port area at Icy Strait Point, Alaska can easily be done in a wheelchair or scooter, if your cruise docks at the pier, not tendering. While it may not keep you busy all day, it is an opportunity to see a less traveled are of Alaska, eat highly rated crab lunch, local memorabilia, shop, and follow a nature trail. 

Be sure to remember raingear and warm clothing depending on the time of year and your personal needs. It may be good to wait for the shuttle to take you to the welcome center and to return to the ship, to save energy to explore the nature trail.  

The views from the ship can be wonderful all day long when you are traveling between ports in Alaska. Booking a balcony can be well worth the extra expense on Alaska cruises because there is so much to see on the inside straight. We hope you will join us on our next cruise to Alaska. 

This blog was updated 1.17.2022. The cruise mentioned was in April 2019. The links are affiliate links and will generate a small commission for us, but it will not affect your price.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



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