It’ll be at least another year before the first large cruise ships visit Prince of Wales Island. A consortium of Native corporations working to transform a former logging dock in Klawock into a destination for tourists has delayed the cruise port’s opening until 2024.
The Oceania Cruises ship Regatta was originally scheduled to tie up at the dock owned by the village corporation Klawock Heenya next month. The roughly 650-passenger vessel was originally slated to visit Klawock four times this summer.
But getting the former logging dock ready for visitors is a big undertaking. Nick Nickerson, Klawock’s mayor and a member of Klawock Heenya’s board of directors, said the port just isn’t ready yet.
“We felt it would be better to wait a year, you know, that way we have everything lined up, all our ducks are in line, and we would have a better port to present to the tourism industry,” Nickerson explained.
According to Klawock Heenya, the port will include a welcome center, retail, a cafe, walking trails, historical displays, buses and bathrooms once it’s open.
“It’s going to be done in stages,” Nickerson said. “We’re looking at a port reception, we’re building reception. Of course we have to develop the, you know, the port facility, you know, so the ship can come in and we’re looking at transportation.”
The port is a collaboration between Klawock Heenya and Na-Dena, a partnership between Doyon Limited and Huna Totem Corporation. The project is modeled after Huna Totem’s Icy Strait Point port in Hoonah. It’s expected to be the first port to host large cruise ships on Prince of Wales Island.