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Cloud-9 – we had the best of days at Icy Straight Point (Hoonah). We were on an Oceania ship and the only ship there, so no crowds at all and it did not feel anything like what you described – in fact your description made me think instantly of Skagway which is full of jewellery stores and madly crowded with, on the day we were there, 4 ships – ours was dwarfed by the others!
At Icy Straight – well Hoonah – we went on a small boat which took only 16 people and did a whale watching trip. It was magical, the captain really knew his stuff, and we saw not only whales, but sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, eagles. You are tendered ashore so do walk through a converted cannery which houses some shops, and this cannery is privately owned and set up to welcome cruise ship visitors, but it is very sympathetically done and the “shops” are small independent retail places and laid out inside the old cannery in such a way that it is tastefully done. And there is no pressure to buy anything or even go into them!
Hoonah itself is a very small, normal town and not much going on, a few shops, but nothing like Skagway.
I believe they have the longest zip line in the world there – not that I was even thinking about going on it!
SpeedbirdABZ – would enjoy reading about your trip to the Baltics – we certainly would not have seen even 10% of the very small part of Alaska we did visit, if we had not been on a cruise ship.
I’m still working on my review but time is running away with me this week, and I feel like I’m still on Pacific time!