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Who has been to Hoonah(I.S.P.) What were your likes and dislikes....honestly

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HOnestly....nothing I would change about Hoonah. I loved the area and my excursions (whale watching and the town tour). It was very enjoyable and we had a lovely young lady who did our town tour (can't remember her name but she was around 20 and heading to Juneau for college to become a teacher). The whale watching was fantastic. Had a great captain who kept us out beyond the 2 1/2 hour tour. I had a sandwich at the shop by the excursions desk. Best sandwich I had in a long time. The people were so friendly and so willing to answer questions. A fantastic place!

Please keep Hoonah and ISP as pristine as it is. I know it will help by limiting the number of ships that enter. (I think the one ship a day is a GREAT idea).

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Hoonah is a great little place. The best things are:

 

1) It's not Ketchikan Juneau or Skagway. Hopefully they'll keep it that way.

 

2) They only allow one ship per day. Any more would overwhelm them.

 

3) If you don't take one of the ship's tours there is not a lot to do once you've wandered through the museum and walked on the beach and through the forest. This is good.

 

4) It is a great, scenic spot to just hang out on the ship. We had a gorgeous, warm sunny day on the Lido deck, saw whales and a mother bear and two cubs on the beach while the ship lay at anchor.

 

All in all, it is one of those jewels that will inevitably fall victim to its own success.

 

On a side note, much to my amazement after 33 years of marriage my wife offered, on her own volition, to ride the zip line with me (!). Alas, the wind caught the slave lines they use to haul the chairs back to the top, and they got tangled in the trees, so they had to shut it down for the day. I may never get an opportunity for such a spectacle again. :D

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I too have been to Hoonah. It is a nice set up separate port area, different from the town. I would only consider going independent with a whale watch, since they go out for about 4 hours, more is always better. No guarantee that the ship contractors will, with most tours scheduled for only 2 1/2 hours.

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I have been to the dock area and then did the tram tour through the rainforest. We did not actually go into Hoonah.

 

I thought the area was lovely and unspoiled and would like to come back.

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Like others have mentioned, I could whale watch there forever, but beyond that, active excursion options seem limited. This could just be my ignorance.

 

This is nitpicking, and more about Hoonah than ISP, but on the ride up to the zipline, I recall passing 2 dumps / landfills. The scene is striking because on the one hand, the bus stops so you can admire the views and scenery along the way, and then all of the sudden you see something very out of place. I know such facilities are necessary, and it's not liked it ruined my time in ISP or anything, but it creates a memory...

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...Especially the beach with all of the rocks, and all the Bald Eagles in town. Bought a couple of books in the shopping area by the dock, in a store where proceeds went to help local schools. The Alaska museum in the shopping area was nice too. We took the shuttle into town in the afternoon, and my one worry while there was that we would somehow miss the last shuttle back to the dock!

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Like others have mentioned, I could whale watch there forever, but beyond that, active excursion options seem limited. This could just be my ignorance.

 

This is nitpicking, and more about Hoonah than ISP, but on the ride up to the zipline, I recall passing 2 dumps / landfills. The scene is striking because on the one hand, the bus stops so you can admire the views and scenery along the way, and then all of the sudden you see something very out of place. I know such facilities are necessary, and it's not liked it ruined my time in ISP or anything, but it creates a memory...

This is my lasting memory of Hoonah too. We went into town, and walked around. There was lots of trash and junk all over the place--not exactly what I expected. The surrounding area is beautiful, but the town is not that interesting (or clean) and there aren't alot of activities to do short of whale watching. We never saw any whales or eagles while we were there so I was frankly disappointed with the visit.

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I loved Hoonah because of the beautiful accesible scenery and the amazing whale watching. Even on a ship spponsored tour we were surrounded by an abundance of whales with great viewing.

We went on a Bear Watch and did not see any bears but the scenery on the Bear Watch was so beautiful and different than what we saw in other ports that we still thoroughly enjoyed it. In one day we got to stroll the beach, stroll the woods, whale watch and see the Hoonah scenery on the Bear Watch. Only regret is no time left over to see much of the town of Hoonah. Next time.

 

Keep Hoonah the way it is. Please don't add Diamonds International and try to get HAL to come back. I prefer sailing HAL, or if not HAL, Princess, but I want to go back to Hoonah.

 

Ruth

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I loved Hoonah and the walk to town from the pier in Icy Straight Point. As mentioned, it was great to see the bald eagles and the whales from the edge of the bay. The local bar was fun and chatting with the locals who were gardening in their front yards was a treat. I also liked that shops, zipline and video presentation at the pier in ISP. Keep it just the way it is now. Sadly, I've heard that Holland America won't be stopping there in 2008. :(

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This is my lasting memory of Hoonah too. We went into town, and walked around. There was lots of trash and junk all over the place--not exactly what I expected. The surrounding area is beautiful, but the town is not that interesting (or clean) and there aren't alot of activities to do short of whale watching. We never saw any whales or eagles while we were there so I was frankly disappointed with the visit.

 

This is typical of just about every small village in Alaska. I have been to a lot of them. When we were living in Barrow I asked one of the older native men about all the junk they had in there yards. His reply was "You just never know when your going to need something".

 

Personally I think it adds a bit of character to the place. Alaskans tend not to have the "throw-away" mentality that the lower 48er's have.

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We recently ended up in Hoonah by accident when we couldn't port in Skagway. We were very impressed that the town welcomed us with little notice that we were arriving. We enjoyed our local guide (Paula) and learning about her culture. We saw tons of whales on the approach but unfortunately a whale watching tour wasn't available that day (I could go whale watching every day in Alaska!) I agree with the other posters, please keep Hoonah free of the major stores that cater to tourists and thanks for your hospitality!

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I agree, the port area is very nice. We did the whale watching which was nice, but thought it could be longer for the price. Same with the Bear Search. In fact, all of the tours are pretty pricey out of there. We did the Silver Bay cruise and Salmon Hatchery out of Sitka, saw whales, eagles, and toured the Salmon hatchery, for around $75 less than the ISP whale watch tour.

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We enjoyed our Bear excursion but we didn't see any bears. It was beautiful at the site and the carved bear was very cute. We also enjoyed our tour guide and asst and bus driver. They did try to catch a bear on the bridge crossing but no luck. I wish, I could have able to walk more around the site, I was having foot trouble and was in a wheelchair. It's nice to go to a place where it's not all jewelry shops, etc.

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LOVED ISP and Hoonah on our trip a few weeks ago! We booked a whale watch thru F.I.S.H.E.S. and I can't think of a single thing I'd change. This was truly one of the best jewels of our 14 night cruise and was only topped by our Floatplane/salmon bake in Juneau. Hi Floyd and THANK YOU SO MUCH! :) :) :)

 

The port area development is perfect! Just the right mix of things. The only thing you might want to do in install a few benches in the tender boarding area for those of us who can't stand for too long.

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I was in I.S.P. two years ago on a cruise/land tour and absolutely loved it. I loved the fact that it was not overrun with diamonds, tacky shops, etc. I cruised there again this September with my sister and her husband and one reason we picked the itinerary we did was because we all loved I.S.P. I have been whale watching here and saw lots of whales and other wild things, went on the bear watch on both trips and we saw bear, eagles and other "critters". :D

 

What I love most about this place is the people and their beautiful attitude and stories. The scenery is fantastic along the beach and trails. I don't travel to do the "tourist" stuff, I travel to immerse myself in the culture, customs and people of the area. I wouldn't change anything - just don't let more than 1 ship a day come in! :eek:

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We loved ISP. We were there July 3 2007. Our daughter did a bike ride excursion and enjoyed the history of the port. We all did the Zipline and it was great.

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Besides FISHES, which seems to be the best, what other whale watching tour companies are available in ISP. We are a family of 7, and FISHES is only licensed to carry 6 on board?

Anyone have recommendations/experiences they would like to share.

I may just have to split group up :(

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Besides FISHES, which seems to be the best, what other whale watching tour companies are available in ISP. We are a family of 7, and FISHES is only licensed to carry 6 on board?

Anyone have recommendations/experiences they would like to share.

I may just have to split group up :(

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Besides FISHES, which seems to be the best, what other whale watching tour companies are available in ISP. We are a family of 7, and FISHES is only licensed to carry 6 on board?

Anyone have recommendations/experiences they would like to share.

I may just have to split group up :(

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Besides FISHES, which seems to be the best, what other whale watching tour companies are available in ISP. We are a family of 7, and FISHES is only licensed to carry 6 on board?

Anyone have recommendations/experiences they would like to share.

I may just have to split group up :(

 

Email Floyd and Marjorie and see what they say.

 

He does run 2 tours a day, weather permitting.

 

There are other whale watching tours in ISP; FISHES is just very good.

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We loved ISP We consider it to be one of the highlights of our trip. We booked a private bear watching excursion with Forgetmenotoutfitters@yahoo.com I can highly recommend them. We had a wonderful trip and saw many bears. Bob is a very experienced guide and goes above and beyond fo assure his clients a wonderful time.

We loved the fact that the port and the town are practically non-commercialised which was very refreshing. This is the real Alaska.

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We LOVED Hoonah and consider it the highlight of our cruise in June this summer. We went whale watching with Chris Erickson of Tok River Oufitters and he was wonderful - gave us more than our moneys worth and we had a terrifc day with more whales then we could believe. A bonus was seeing about a hundred bald eagles too! Hoonah is a gem and I hope it stays that way - undeveloped wth only local shops etc and no commericialism. We enjoyed it so much we are coming back in 2008 for more.

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We just got off the Serenade of the Seas which was the last ship in ISP/Hoonah for this season. First time cruisers and we loved it, but we may be biased. We spent a lot of years on the north eastern coast of Canada and thats just as isolated.

We didnt do any excursions. Got off the ship early, took the walk into Hoonah along the road and stopped at the first coffee shop we could find. Place had windows wrapped around the front. Tables in the front of the store with souvenir type stuff along the back. Not sure of the name but we were in there early and the owner was extremely friendly. Got talking to the wife of the chief of police who also worked in the store and found everyone to be equally as friendly. Considering how many tourists that meet in a year it was all very impressive. We like to walk the side streets of towns and although it could be cluttered we have seen worse. Its a normal village, not a fake frontage, jewellry store,tourist trap kind of place and we enjoyed that.

Thought the renovated Cannery was very informative and the quality of the souvenirs was very good. [ok so the 50% off prices was excellent!] Bought some great coffee mugs and other small knick knacks and overall dont change a thing! It was a nice quiet day. Saw no garbage along the roadside, very few vehicles on the road to Hoonah [occasional shuttle bus]. Loved it [might be why we are booking the same cruise for the 2008 season]

Pete

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