Ted Blank

Stillwater, Minnesota Travel Agent

All My Travel Experiences

Afternoon Tea on the Queen Mary 2

You'll Feel Special on a Cunard Luxury Cruise

If you’ve spent some time investigating cruises, you’ll quickly discover that the word “luxury” is perhaps the most overused work in the travel industry.  I’ve yet to find a somewhat upscale cruise line that doesn’t define itself as a luxury brand, yet, luxury is such a subjective term that it’s almost ... Read more from my You'll Feel Special on a Cunard Luxury Cruise story.

Osborne House, Queen Victoria's Vacation Home

In Queen Victoria's Footsteps

Britain’s Queen Victoria, who died in 1901, exerts a powerful influence on the world’s imagination and historical consciousness today.  She lent her name to the Victorian Era, has been the subject of recent movies like Victoria and Abdul (starring one of my favorite actresses, Dame Judi Dench), and is still celebrated ... Read more from my In Queen Victoria's Footsteps story.

St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Two Days in St. Petersburg, Russia

A luxury cruise is a great way to discover the beauty and history of Europe’s Baltic Sea region.  I recently had the opportunity to cruise the Baltic Sea on Cunard’s luxurious Queen Elizabeth, visiting a variety of ports in seven countries during my two-week cruise.  By far, the highlight was the ... Read more from my Two Days in St. Petersburg, Russia story.

The Best Cruises for Wine Aficianados

Whether you are a seasoned wine aficionado, with a taste for the finest wines or newest discoveries, or simply want to learn more about the culture and traditions of winemaking while sipping a glass or two, you’re part of a growing trend of travelers who enjoy incorporating wine-related experiences into their ... Read more from my The Best Cruises for Wine Aficianados story.

A beautiful sandy beach on the island of Symi.

The Serene Islands of the Greek Aegean

Whether you're looking for unspoiled sandy beaches, unhurried island life, distinctive luxury, or unique history and culture, Greece's 230 inhabited islands - and nearly 6,000 uninhabited ones - offer something for every traveler.  I recently enjoyed the opportunity to spend a week exploring the islands of the southern Aegean, including the ... Read more from my The Serene Islands of the Greek Aegean story.

Fallot Mustard Factory in Beaune, Burgundy

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

I hate mustard.  If there’s one item on a menu guaranteed to get me to choose something else, it’s anything with mustard as an ingredient.  You could not pay me to eat mustard on a sandwich.  Do you love mustard?  Let’s agree to disagree! 

Yet, mustard – and a mustard tasting event ... Read more from my Step Outside Your Comfort Zone story.

What's on Your Bucket List?

What's on My Bucket List?

According to a recent survey conducted by AARP, travel is the top aspiration of Americans of all ages. Whether Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen Xers, or folks – like me – who fall somewhere in between, the average person has eight destinations or travel experiences on their bucket list. And, let’s be ... Read more from my What's on My Bucket List? story.

Luxury Cruise Review: Cunard's Queen Elizabeth

I recently returned from a two week European cruise on Cunard's luxury liner Queen Elizabeth.  In this blog post, I'll cover a few of the highlights that made this cruise one of my top travel experiences.

First, the Queen Elizabeth far exceeded my expectations when it came to food.  The world gourmet ... Read more from my Luxury Cruise Review: Cunard's Queen Elizabeth story.

Cunard's Queen Elizabeth

Is a World Cruise for Me?

Does the idea of circling the globe for four months on a luxury cruise ship sound like your idea of the journey of a lifetime?  For many travelers, myself included, a world cruise is a definite must-do on life’s bucket list.  For others, though, the idea of a world cruise can ... Read more from my Is a World Cruise for Me? story.

No Crowds in Sight!

What's New at Sea?

Cruising is one of the most popular types of vacations for Americans. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, over 12 million Americans have cruised during the last decade. Some cruise lines boast a repeat factor of over 90 percent, meaning that once guests have traveled with them, they come back ... Read more from my What's New at Sea? story.

Luxury River Cruise Along the Danube

An Introduction to River Cruises

Have you dreamed of gliding along Germany’s Rhine River, admiring the castles and medieval cities? How about sipping a glass of Oregon Pinot Noir as you follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark on the Columbia River? Or, for the more adventurous, discovering the magic of the Temples of Angkor ... Read more from my An Introduction to River Cruises story.

Gate of Heavenly Peace, Forbidden City, Beijing

China's Many Faces

China.  An emerging Asian superpower.  One of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet with some of the poorest people.  A Communist nation that has embraced capitalism, with bustling cities full of modern skyscrapers.  A deeply traditional nation that reveres its past yet worships progress and newness.  These are just some ... Read more from my China's Many Faces story.

An UnCruise Adventure!

Rollin' on the River with UnCruise Adventures!

UnCruise Adventures offers small ship cruises focused on adventure, wildlife, and culture.  Each year, they offer several wine tasting cruises along the Columbia River on their SS Legacy, a reproduction coastal steamer.  I enjoyed one of these cruises, sailing from Portland, Oregon along the Columbia and Snake River system.

The UnCruise visited ... Read more from my Rollin' on the River with UnCruise Adventures! story.

The Only Thing You Buy That Makes You Richer

It struck me during my annual spring cleaning that I had too much stuff. That extra crock pot, a great deal, sits untouched five years later. I’m not sure where I ever thought I’d put that (admittedly very cool) lamp, and I have enough dress socks to last a lifetime or ... Read more from my The Only Thing You Buy That Makes You Richer story.

A view of the Canal du Midi in Southern France.

Exploring Southern France by Luxury Hotel Barge

Southern France - the regions of Occitaine, Provence, and the Cote d'Azur - offer the best of French food and wine combined with a lovely Mediterranean climate, fascinating history, and charming local atmosphere.  Luxury cruises by hotel barge along the Canal du Midi offer the best way to discover this lovely ... Read more from my Exploring Southern France by Luxury Hotel Barge story.

Tall Ship Royal Clipper moored in Menorca, Spain

Royal Clipper Mediterranean Cruise

When you take a small ship cruise, you have the opportunity to explore ports and regions that are too small for the mega ships. 

I had the opportunity to travel on the Star Clippers tall ship "Royal Clipper" in the Mediterranean, visiting ports in Spain and France.  With a capacity of fewer ... Read more from my Royal Clipper Mediterranean Cruise story.

Gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice

Milan and Venice, Italy

Located in northern Italy, Venice and Milan offer a contrasting perspective on this charming Mediterranean nation. 

Venice is a maritime city of canals, bridges, gondolas, as well as the quieter Lagoon Islands.  Venice is best explored on foot, where different perspectives unfold around every corner as narrow passages open onto beautiful courtyards ... Read more from my Milan and Venice, Italy story.

Barging along the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy

Barging in Burgundy

Famous for its vineyards, fine cheeses, handcrafted mustards, charming chateaux, and  gourmet food, the Burgundy region of France is easily accessible from Paris, yet is a quiet world apart.  The best way to discover this area is from the deck of a hotel barge on one of its canals, as I ... Read more from my Barging in Burgundy story.

Greek Flag at the Acropolis in Athens

September in the Eastern Mediterranean

Blessed with azure seas, centuries of history, delightful cuisine, and sun, the eastern Mediterranean hits all the right notes for me.  I enjoyed a two week cruise from Italy through the Greek Isles, Turkey, and Croatia before returning to the port of Venice.

Along the way, I discovered amazing places, like the ... Read more from my September in the Eastern Mediterranean story.

Luxury River Cruise Ship Moored Along the Rhine

Rhine River Cruise

A river cruise along the Rhine River combines scenery, culture, history, and fine cuisine. It's a great way to experience Europe in luxury, making the most of your time on the continent.  Along the way, you'll enjoy castles and villages, history and culture, and a change to discover the local beers, ... Read more from my Rhine River Cruise story.

Mount McKinley from the Air

Alaska Cruise and Denali

Alaska has it all - glaciers, wildlife, amazing national parks, quirky locals, and plenty of fresh seafood. I traveled with my family, ranging in age from 4 to 73 for a two week Inside Passage cruise and a scenic railroad journey to Alaska's heart, Denali National Park. Along the way, we ... Read more from my Alaska Cruise and Denali story.

View from the stern of Croatian Coastal Cruise

Croatian Coastal Cruise & Bosnia

Croatia is one of Europe's hidden gems. Blessed with a great climate, crystal clear waters, a burgeoning wine industry, and miles of undeveloped beaches, a visit to Croatia offers something for everyone! Croatia is also a great add-on to an Italian vacation or Mediterranean cruise.

I had the opportunity to spend two ... Read more from my Croatian Coastal Cruise & Bosnia story.

All My Travel Albums

Onboard Queen Mary 2
You'll Feel Special on a Cunard Luxury Cruise
Queen Victoria's desk at Osborne House
In Queen Victoria’s Footsteps
St. Isaac's Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russa..
Two Days in St. Petersburg, Russia
Alcobaca Monastery in Portugal
Views of Portugal
A lovely beach on the Greek Island of Symi.
Escape from It All in Greece
The Queen's Room with Nightly Dancing
Unmatched Style and Discovery on Queen Elizabeth
Deluxe cabin on UnCruise Adventures' SS Legacy
Rollin' on the River with UnCruise Adventures
A quiet tropical park in Hong Kong
Comfortable accommodations on a French hotel barge
Exploring Southern France by Luxury Barge
What a great place for a glass of wine!
Royal Clipper Mediterranean Cruise
La Scala Theater in Milan
Venice and Milan, Italy
Abbaye de la Bussiere, luxury Burgundy hotel
Barging in Burgundy
Beautiful Korcula in Croatia
September Cruise in the Eastern Mediterranean
Sun Deck ofRiver Cruise Ship in Basel, Switzerland
Rhine River Cruise
Totem Pole Museum in Ketchikan
Alaska Inside Passage and Denali
Mosque in Bosnia
Croatian Coastal Cruise