Alaska for our 50th anniversary

Hubby and I are planning our 50th Anniversary for 2025 trip (our planning and research is part of our journey) Weve benn to the 7 conteninents with Tauck and have been saving Alaska as our big celebratory trip. This question is for the Big Five in the chat room You know who you are😏 and anyone else that wants to input…. Y’all gave such good advice to me last year planning Egypt.

I’ve read all the commentary in the chat room and people either seem to love it or hate it. There are so many mixed signals. I’ve watched a UTube on the Tauck Grand Alaska and frankly, the trip sounded really boring. Now granted my last 3 trips were FABULOUS! Antarctica, Africa and Egypt, so maybe my expectations are too high. I know Tauck standards, but hiking 2 miles to eat a box lunch then trekking back doesn’t sound like fun. The ship doesn’t sound better with bad food and racing from one side of the ship to the other for a picture doesn’t either. Am I over thinking?

Talk me into this. Tauck has never let me down, nor has this chat room. Or maybe I need to revisit one of our favorites like Italy again?
Also any tips on getting the tour/ cabin/ date I want? Alaska fills fast.



  • AustinGirl - Have you considered Tauck's small ship (Silver Seas) Inside Passage Cruise? We had it booked for next year but had to cancel due to an unplanned event. Just a suggestion that you might consider. Good luck.

  • This tour follows the Princess two-week tour that spends one week on the ship and the other on the ground at the Princess lodges in the national parks. While you may not like a cruise ship (we are not cruisers), the ground portion is wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed this trip. I think about driving into Denali, riding the train to to Talkeetna, having the best planked salmon you can imagine, being at the Copper River Lodge for the longest day of the year and having the park ranger take us on a walking tour at midnight when it was still light, taking the boat across the Prince William Sound during a minor earthquake which we never realized was happening (we just thought is was rough water).

    The cruise stops were also informative. We enjoyed the railway at Skagway and the town of Ketchikan. We spent time speaking with the rangers who worked there for the summer season. In Juneau we went to the state capital. They have a sign over the Governor's office counting down the days, minutes and seconds until the term is over.

    There are only two days which are on the ship - Glacier Bay where we saw and heard the glaciers calving and the final day cruising the inside passage on the way to Vancouver. I don't recall running back and forth from one side of the ship to the other to take pictures.

    While this trip will probably not compare with your trips to Africa and Antarctica, it offers a good perspective on North America. It's different than Italy but don't sell it short.

  • I would definitely take a small ship cruise to Alaska. They do exist. Nothing will compare to some of the places you mentioned you have been. Alaska is definitely the last frontier out west. In my opinion, I would not enjoy a mega cruise ship to Alaska. Just my humble opinion.

  • edited September 17

    This tour for us was the least enjoyable of all our tours with Tauck. Especially the ship, we will never go on a big cruise ship again. The land part was ok, but the Copper river lodge was closed due to not having enough staff…this was 2022. Denali, we saw very little wildlife, one moose. I saw another elsewhere along a road somewhere else, no one else spotted it, I shouted but the driver could not stop. The Princess ship also changed its itinerary so no Ketchikan, we missed the Skagway train ride because the ferry broke down coming back from the river rafting. Because the ship changed its itinerary, several of the group, including us and the tour director, had to hightail off the ship and almost missed our flights becaise the ship docked hours later than it was supposed to. Then there was all the Covid.
    The ship was only half full but it still seemed crowded. Meals at the special restaurants had to be reserved and the TD kept booking us altogether and very early, too early for us to want to eat. We only went to the buffet once, it felt like a factory canteen.
    Undoubtedly, all this did not help, but I would rather go back and see Patagonia any day, plenty of icebergs, glaciers and certainly lots of animals all up close.
    I hope more people give you a balanced view to counteract mine. It is our 50th anniversary’s next year.
    How about a part of Italy you have not been to!

  • Thank you British. I highly value your opinion. I feel we are like minded and I am leaning in your direction. Thank you for your honesty, you have given me a lot to ponder. Now let’s see what the other 4 say 😏

  • Very funny Austingirl. Who knows whether they have been to Alaska. AlanS is going to Hawaii for his 50th and I’m sure you know I am going on the Bridges Safari for mine. We have no problem visiting places more than once by the way, places change over the years and you can’t remember everything you see. If you love a place, why not go again instead of trying to have a bucket list and go somewhere just to check places off.

  • My husband and I just did a Danube River cruise for our 55th. That being said, we have been to ALaska, all over Canada from east to west and in between. However, the best trip we had was a 19 day cruise to Norway, Iceland, Greenland and Newfoundland. We are originally from Maine and found ALaska interesting but nothing new.

  • We've never done Alaska with Tauck, but we will be on the Silversea Muse in Alaska next summer at the same time a Tauck group is onboard. So we'll say hi to them! My wife and I have been on Silversea before, and in my opinion, it is wonderful. 600 guests, beautiful ship, great food, peaceful. We've never been on the other ship Tauck uses for Alaska tours, so I have nothing to say about that one.

  • We went in August 2022 with Silversea. The ship was called the Shadow and it holds 388 passengers. Tauck is my favorite company but Silvesea is a very close second. You won't be disappointed.

  • We did Alaska cruising with Regent Seven Seas about 15 years ago. The scenery is gorgeous, but some of the stops were like being on a Caribbean cruise with cooler temps. We enjoyed the Skagway train and dog sledding. You have been to three fantastic places in your last journeys…. Tough to beat those for sure! We are also 50 years next June and doing a Tauck Danube cruise with music every night. My hubby’s choice. For me almost every stop will be my third visit, but no matter what, it’s our 50th anniversary, so reason to celebrate! We are stopping in Paris a few days prior for a special evening to add on….Go and enjoy Alaska.

  • We did Grand Alaska August 2023. The land portion was great. Agree with British that the Princess cruise is not so great. Maybe find a package with land portion and smaller ship. The hiking 2 miles to eat a box lunch then trekking back part was actually fun, with an informative naturalist carrying a 12 gauge shotgun for bear defense, and arriving by fun jet boat then great rivers tour on the boat when we left the land. The float plane overflight of Denali glaciers was superb. Wrangell/St. Elias actually more scenic than Denali, IMHO.

  • AustinGirl - If you're looking for Exotics that you haven't done, then I'd recommend both the Portrait of India tour and the Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand tour. Lots of diversity and amazing sights on both.

    The big three you mentioned was lacking an Asian component. Both of the above would provide that.

  • I agree with Sam, India is a wonderful trip as its the other Asian one. I also loved Japan.

  • Alaska is beautiful, but it's a CRUISE with 3000 strangers. The land part is great, the cruise part is a cruise - which to us, is always not so good. If I were to do Alaska again, I'd go with a small ship as mentioned above or we also like UNCRUISE or National Geo. If you've been to the Canadian Rockies, Montana, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming - those places are much prettier and NOT as touristy as a cruise -- but we all like different things. For us, Alaska was a one and DONE trip. The Skagway White Pass Train ride is amazing, as are a few other things, but overall - it was just an OK trip. If you want to see that type of Scenery, I'd look at the Tauck trips out west like to Wyoming, Yellowstone, Canyonlands, etc -- we had MUCH better experiences there than Alaska.

    I always hear GREAT things about the Tauck Asia trips like India, and others recommended above. Of course, you can NEVER go wrong with Italy/Sicily.

    If Alaska is on your bucket list, then you need to absolutely GO FOR IT. But I'd let it be just a trip and NOT a huge anniversary trip.

  • edited September 17

    Contrarian here: we love cruising to Alaska. First, you have to enjoy cruising. Lot’s of reasons not to, but we’ve done over dozen and we enjoy the unpacking once, lavish meals, entertainment, spa. Have sailed to Alaska three times. Nothing beats sitting on our veranda as the ship sails along the inland passage. Choosing a cruise line and ship is important. We like Celebrity although recent posts imply a downturn in quality. We are sailing with them in March (Eastern Caribbean) so we shall see. Cruising has become less egalitarian. For example on Celebrity if you book a suite you have a private dining room for suite guests (Daniel Boulod is the consulting chef) a private pool and lounge area, a butler, many other perks. Outside of the suites its a few thousand of your newest friends as has been mentioned. When you cruise to Alaska it’s not seeing the interior or close to it. The ports can be hokey but a flight-seeing tour through the Misty fjords will negate any of that. On our second cruise we purchased two matching spoon rests that look like halibut. Well, I broke one, so we had to do a third cruise. We took a picture of the remaining spoon rest and went from shop to shop showing it. Kind of like a missing child quest. We laughed a lot on that one! We just celebrated our 50th at the Four Seasons Hualalai in Kona, Hawaii. Absolutely splendid week; a fabulous resort with true Hawaiian vibe. Not for the feint of wallet, but worth every penny. We’d do it again in a heartbeat. For us it was an easy choice not to do any sort of tour. It’s such a special occasion we just wanted to celebrate each other and we did.

  • FolsomDoc: fabulous point of view from yet another perspective.

  • I would like to ask AustinGirl, world traveler, what is it about Alaska that made you save it for your special celebration? I have been to Alaska twice on cruise ship, and tacked on a brief road trip to one of them. (Yes, even Wasilla!) While I can think of ways to make Alaska a big blow-out celebration, a large cruise ship or group tour are not what immediately come to mind, especially after you have already been to 7 continents. So I am just wondering exactly what it was that made you save it for "last". (And hopefully not really your last!)

  • Oh you guys are so wise. You never fail me. My intuitions were right. Sometimes I get so wrapped up into “checking off my bucket list” I don’t see the small picture. We will definitely do Alaska on a small ship and attach it to land somehow, BUT JUST NOT ON THE BIG 50. I have NEVER considered India because frankly it always appeared so dirty and during these COVID times even more so. But now that we have all stabilized somewhat and upon wise council I’ll take a very serious look.

    Thanks again for all of your balanced viewpoints. You all had very good and valid points.

  • Wan, you hit the nail on the head. Ever since I was a little girl, Alaska was always the destinations that I heard adults talking about. It was like the pinnacle everyone tried to achieve or afford ! I had to readjust my bucket list when I realized I had far surpassed my childhood dreams by traveling further than my elders ever did. I still want to do Alaska especially since I’ve done the bottom of the world, Antiartica. Hindsight we should have done Alaska before Antarctica.

  • AustinGirl - Two places that weren't on my list were China and India. China because of its politics, human rights abuses, pollution, etc., and India for reasons you mentioned above. However, in chatting with people on various trips who had been there, I changed my mind. I went to China several years ago and am glad I did. India is scheduled next year.

    Despite its ruggedness, Alaska is a pretty easy trip - it's an easy travel destination, you can drink the water, etc.

  • Smiling Sam as always you’re the voice of reason. I thought I was done with Asian countries having done Japan, China and Thailand. I had always discounted India as an undesirable country and especially Vietnam/ Cambodia. My father in law is a retired marine and those last two, doesn’t bring back pleasant memories for my husband.

    But now that we have a good vaccine I’ll take a second look at India. I have read many good things about the Tauck India. Maybe I can talk hubby into an adult look at V & C tour so we can appreciate the positive aspects rather than dwell on the negative.

    I’ve always said I would blindly follow the Big 5 off the edge of the earth 😂😂😂😂😂

  • A word of caution about China. Friend's of ours who are a military retiree and a vet/dod civil servant retiree took a trip to china. While they found the sites interesting they also got frequent evidence of surveillance by staff and/or government agents. They were very careful about what they packed, what they said, what they did. No way I'd go to China.

  • We still have a long way to get to our 50th (except that every anniversary we joke that we are celebrating our 50th early, in case we don't make it!) so I am still not quite sure how I might celebrate, but as a huge fan of Italy and if time and money were plentiful I would consider a custom tour of Northern Italy for the Dolomites/Alps, areas of Switzerland including Lake Lugano, the Italian Riviera above Cinque Terre and the nearby Langhe Valley wine region and/or Puglia along the Adriatic Coast with a side trip to Matera if you have never been.
    That is, if I still couldn't talk myself into a more exotic trip. Happy planning!

  • But a 50th is a 50th- you won't get another! We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon, again a year later due to fortuitous Navy scheduling, and several more times since, so it means something to us. Things have certainly changed over the years, but to paraphrase the second most memorable line in the movie Casablanca, "We'll always have Hawaii." Here's looking at you kid. :D

  • Claudia - I'm sorry you feel that way about China. You're missing out on some amazing sights.

    What you described limited my travels for years. I had to do both pre and post travel interviews with our security department and fill out detailed forms any time I left the country. The pre-travel aspect was to see if I was even allowed to travel to where I wanted. I was restricted as to which countries I could visit.

  • Claudia I'm also sorry you feel that way about China. I had no problems when I went, never felt being watched. It was a wonderful trip.

  • We have been to China twice and just loved it!  However, we did not go with Tauck and wished we had.  We are waiting for Tauck to return to China.  Always, felt really safe there and the people are so nice and friendly.   We had four days on our own in Shanghai and stayed at the JW Marriott Tomorrow Square and walked all over the place including the French Concession which had wonderful shops and restaurants.  Also, the Shanghai Museum is well worth a visit.  

  • Austingirl. This is why we do not have a bucket list. The opportunity to travel just gets wider and wider. We have been to every country mentioned here, except Thailand. Oh and Antarctica which we don’t have any real desire to visit.
    In China, we witnessed the censoring….we were watching the BBC news in our room and as soon as Hong Kong was mentioned, the screen went blank.
    We loved Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Laos was the favorite but Tauck no longer goes. We are going to a Vietnam next year.
    We are currently at BOSTON airport waiting for our flight to Japan. My third time there, but not for thirty years. My husband over thirty times I would think.
    Most recently, we seem to have been on Middle East trips, just by coincidence.
    Another thought about the Tauck Princess cruise, You don’t actually get the chance to have a romantic dinner on your own!

  • I'm sorry my friends had an uncomfortable visit. I don't feel any great pull to visit most of Asia. I lived and traveled around Japan for 2 years and had the opportunity to visit Korea and Hong Kong pre-handover. I enjoyed it all. Many other places to see. We all have different things we're interested in.

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