(16 Reviews)
100% Recommended

Jo Ann Buening

La Crosse, WI

Alaska, Luxury, River & Ocean Cruise Expert

For Alaska, Cruising (River or Ocean) or Luxury Travel, you have found the source for your best vacation. Knowledge is power and since entering the industry in 1985, I have earned many travel certifications. What defines a GREAT travel agent is a commitment to learn and the passion to exceed clients' expectations. Please check out my bios, stories, photos and - most importantly - testimonials from just a few of the thousands of happy, repeat clients I have helped to realize their dream.

My Travel Specialties

Luxury Travel Professional

A private watch-making experience in Switzerland with a well-known watchmaker, a private experience to a beautiful waterfall in Iceland and dinner at a remote lodge, a connection to ‘get it done’ for ‘over-the-top’ requests in Las Vegas … I could go on and on. These are just a small sampling of connections...
Read more from my Luxury Travel Professional bio.

Private lesson with a watchmaker in Switzerland

River Cruising Specialist

Let me help you experience the relaxation of cruising down the river! Certainly, river cruising is one of the fast growing segments in travel … and I can see why. While I feel there is a place for ‘ocean’ cruising as well as ‘river’ cruising, I can say first-hand that after recently completing over...
Read more from my River Cruising Specialist bio.

One of the great rivers of Europe

Worldwide Cruise Expert

More than twenty-five cruises taken, well over 1,500 happy cruise passengers booked (and returned!), referrals from across the country, plus the highest cruise specialist and ‘counsellor’ designation earned give me more knowledge and personal experience in cruising than many travel agents in North...
Read more from my Worldwide Cruise Expert bio.

Reflecting on the beauty of Alaska!

Alaska Destination Specialist and Travel Expert

Alaska became a state of the union on January 3, 1959, the same day I was born. I must have been destined to make this my specialty and over the years, I have developed a passion for Alaska! My first visit to ‘The Great Land’ was in the mid ‘80s. Fast-forwarding to the summer of 2021 finds me having...
Read more from my Alaska Destination Specialist and Travel Expert bio.

In my favorite destination!

My Travel Albums

River Cruising in Europe
On the Rhine River
Luxurious Travel Experiences
Five-star Hotel Majestic - Cannes, France
Alaska Adventures ... 14 & Counting
Aboard Regent Seven Seas in Alaska

My Travel Stories

‘Welcome Aboard Regent and the Last Frontier’

Are you looking for a very special experience that leaves you refreshed, relaxed and feeling pampered? Do you have a milestone birthday or anniversary to celebrate? Let Regent Seven Seas Cruises take you away. This past summer my husband and I wanted a special way to mark our anniversary...Read more.

Customer Testimonials

Jo Ann is Absolutely the Best!

During the last 7 years, Jo Ann has helped us plan and carry out many “trips of a lifetime”; we are deeply grateful for her wonderful help. She is much more than a travel agent. She is a trusted friend who goes above and beyond to make our dreams come true! Jo Ann is helping us plan our second Disney family cruise in June 2017. In hope we could get a reservation on one of the few “double dipping” (twice at Castaway Cay) cruises before they sold out, she came into the office several hours early to begin calling to secure our booking. She was successful after being on hold for nearly two hours, arranging cabins near each other for the thirteen of us. Jo Ann makes all of this planning look effortless on her part, but the truth is, she is an expert - a pro, and her work is the result of years of training and doing and listening to her clients. She is just the best, and we are so thankful for all of her help in planning the next in our long list of upcoming adventures!
Michael & Joanne W. - Ferryville, WI

Your Efforts Are What Made This Trip Fantastic

Dear Jo Ann; There are not enough words, nor enough ways that we can express our gratitude for the work you did to provide us with a nearly perfect trip. (You could not make some of the other guests adopt preventative measures to stop the spread of germs!) Everything, and I mean everything could not have been better. Avalon is a tremendous company and provided a first-class experience. We feel, however, that your efforts on our behalf were what made this trip so fantastic. From the moment we first started the process, until our pre-departure session, we never had a concern because we knew you had worked on our behalf and had taken care of every little detail. You equipped us with all the information we needed to go off and not be anxious, because there were no unknowns. Other passengers were so impressed with you, but we knew that indeed you are truly 'the best.' Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! We are so grateful!
Bob and Gretchen - La Crosse, WI

Wonderful Planning and Service

We just wanted to thank you for the wonderful planning and service you gave us on this trip again. We had a great time and know it was because you had taken care of all the details for us. What a wonderful job you are doing for us! This is trip #3 and we couldn't be happier. Thank you again…
Dr. Ken & Joan M., West Union, IA

Everything Was Wonderful!

JoAnn, Again, thank you for planning our wonderful cruise on Viking. Perfect, fantastic and beautiful; all these words apply. Soooo relaxing AND entertaining! And EVERYTHING was taken care of in such great detail. Patty and I shall remember and cherish forever. Great memories for all. Fabulous!!
Jim & Pat B. Prairie du Chien, WI

Terrific Anniversary Trip!

Dear Jo Ann; Wow! Thank you so much for making our anniversary trip so terrific! We had a fabulous time. Going first class all the way was truly wonderful. Both my husband and I felt SO pampered.
Madalene B., La Crosse, WI

A Fabulous Grand European River Cruise!

Dear Jo Ann; Where do we begin? We have just returned from our fabulous Grand European River Cruise with Viking. Every single thing was absolutely wonderful! Your pre-trip preparations for us anticipated every and all situations, and we marveled at how much your information to us, prior to leaving, surpassed that of our fellow travelers. Your thoroughness, once again, is so appreciated. Viking is an absolutely wonderful company for traveling. They smoothly and seemingly effortlessly guided us every step of the way of our 15-day cruise. Their schedule was on time - to the minute. Extras were included as wonderful discoveries ... like special lectures, cooking demonstrations, musical programs and bringing a glass blower on board for a demo. We would recommend this trip to anyone and we hope to travel with Viking again in another part of the world. Again, Jo Ann, thank you so much for your wonderful professionalism in guiding and preparing us for this adventure!
Michael and Joanne W., Ferryville, WI

The Work You Do Matters!

What a FABULOUS cruise! It could not have been better. The service, the food, the opportunities, the cabin --everything was superb and completely delighted us. It was just the medicine we needed ... and we came home with lifelong memories. So, again - thank you. The work you do matters and you do it so well! You touched our lives in a most positive and healing way.
Katherine K., Viroqua, WI

My Reviews

20 of 32 people found this review helpful
A Great Partnership!
After more than 7 years in partnering with Jo Ann Buening from Travel Leaders in LaCrosse, WI for Carroll University’s Alumni Travel Program, Carroll’s Office of Alumni Engagement is appreciative of all of Jo Ann’s diligent work, superior service, keen attention to detail to Carroll’s needs and in serving our constituents, contribution in helping to re-build Carroll’s Alumni Travel Program, and her trust and friendship. She is a top notch travel agent who we would recommend to any individual seeking a reliable travel agent and group that is looking for someone to manage group travel and many logistics. Jo Ann helped us plan group alumni trips to Alaska, Italy, Ireland, Spain and Greece (although this one was cancelled due to the pandemic). We will miss working with you Jo Ann and will always appreciate your expertise in the travel industry, and the imprint that you have left with us, with many adventures and memories around the world that speak to it. Thank you Jo Ann!
By  Carroll University's Alumni Travel Program  from  Waukesha, WI
Traveled to  Alaska ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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42 of 77 people found this review helpful
The advise and recommendations were excellent
I appreciate the thorough and attentive attention I have received. Jo Ann's support has been very timely and professional. I am looking forward to my next trip which she has provided a great deal of information and support.
By  Skip  from  Onalaska, WI
Traveled to  Alaska ~ USA
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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44 of 82 people found this review helpful
Viking Grand European River cruise
We have been working with Jo Ann for 9 years, and her assistance with ALL our travel needs, and even a couple Crisis situations, has been stellar!! She makes a serious effort to really know her clients- their interests, preferences, special needs, and comfort level with traveling within the USA and abroad.
She is excellent in searching out the answers to all questions, and providing good advice, both from a personal and a professional perspective. We absolutely would not travel without Jo Ann's knowledge and expertise to guide us. We cannot speak more highly of her!
By  JM  from  Tomah , WI
Traveled to  Prague ~ Czech Republic ~ Europe
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends

Jo Ann Buening responded:
Clients like you are why I LOVE my job!!

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37 of 71 people found this review helpful
Great trip
Great person to work with
By  Jerry  from  Onalaska Wisconsin
Traveled to  Vietnam ~ East and Southeast Asia
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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Viking River Cruise
We first traveled with Jo Ann when she led an Alaska Land/Cruise Tour back in 2008. In 2013, we (and 2 other couples) met with Jo Ann to plan a trip on a Viking River Cruise. Jo Ann gave us material to look over and then met with all of us several times to pick the trip best suited for our interests. She arranged the flights, helped plan the leading days in Paris and the final days after the cruise in Prague. She has also helped us plan other trips and secure airline tickets through the years.
By  Linda & Whitey  from  Onalaska, Wisconsin
Traveled to  Europe
I would recommend this agent to my family and friends
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Destination Expert:

  • World Cruise
  • Alaska
  • Basel
  • Mediterranean
  • Avignon
  • Denali National Park
  • Fairbanks
  • On the River
  • Heidelberg
  • Inside Passage
  • Vancouver
  • Passau
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Ketchikan
  • Glacier Bay

Travel Specialist:

  • Cruises
  • Luxury
  • River Cruises
  • World Cruises
  • Culinary & Foodie
  • Groups
  • Luxury Cruises
  • Christmas Markets
  • Escorted Tours
  • Small Ship Cruises
  • European Culture
  • Wine Country Vacations

Top Travel Partners:

  • Princess Cruises®
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Viking
  • Abercrombie & Kent
  • Avalon Waterways
  • Holland America Line
  • Palace Resorts
  • Tauck
  • Oceania Cruises
  • Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours


  • Alaska Destination Specialist
  • Elite Cruise Counsellor/Luxury Cruise Specialist
  • Princess Cruises Commodore
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises Specialist
  • Travel Leaders Certified Travel Specialist

Industry Affiliations:

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