Left Coast By Design

Category: Travel (page 1 of 4)

Discounted Onboard Credit with Royal Caribbean

If there’s one thing we Canadian travelers are sensitive to, it’s how much our dollar relates to the dollar of our neighbours to the south.  While we have had some recent history where the loonie was trading for more than an American greenback, we’re quite accustomed with it being the other way.  In fact, no more than where it sits as of late – just shy of a full quarter less.

So you can imagine my surprise when I was browsing the Cruise Critic forum and came across a post suggesting that Royal Caribbean sells Canadian cruisers onboard credit in $USD for only 10%! That’s right – $100US only sets us back $110.

Radiance of the Seas - Royal Caribbean

Radiance of the Seas – courtesy of Prayltno

The nitty-gritty is this – if you booked through a Canadian travel agent and paid with a Canadian credit card, then you should qualify for the preferred exchange rate. If that’s you, then do the following:

  • Call Royal Caribbean Gifts & Gear at 1-800-722-5443.
  • Ask to pre-purchase onboard credit at the preferred Canadian exchange rate.
  • Enjoy the savings!

Now I will concede that “mileage will vary” depending on who you get on the other side of the phone, but from the forum post it seems just a second phone call back is all that is needed. And for those worried about where the unspent credit goes, you can withdraw at the casino for a 5% premium or simply have the value refunded back to your credit card.

Score, right?

So have any of you travelers taken advantage of this deal or something like it?

What To Do In Toronto?

As I continue my jet-setting ways during this spell of funemployment, I’ll find myself FINALLY visiting Toronto (apparently I can’t count stops at Pearson International as a visit) next week. That’s right, while I’ve been to Whitehorse and Halifax, Quebec City and Winnipeg, I’ve never found an opportunity to check out the “Big Smoke.” So I need your help – what do you I get up to while I’m there?

At the moment, my plans are to catch up with friends who’ve moved out east over the years, yet with three-and-a-half days in town I figure I’ll need to fill ’em with something.

The Stanley Cup

Courtesy of Jackman Chiu

Obviously as a red-blooded Canadian, no stop to Toronto is every complete without a visit to the Hockey Hall of Fame. In fact, I’m pretty darn sure it will be my first stop on my trip – well, second considering I’ll need to check-in to my hotel and such. I’ll get to give Lord Stanley’s Cup a good look, maybe see what Pavel Bure’s plaque looks like up close, and maybe even bump into The Count… err… Gary Bettman so I can give him a piece of my mind.

But then there’s the small matter of the Canucks making the playoffs – where will I watch the games I’ll miss while on the road? Should I just camp out at the Real Sports Bar & Grill I hear so much about, or is there somewhere better?

Blue Jays Baseball at Rogers Centre

Courtesy of laurencehorton

And then there’s the Blue Jays! Would you believe I’ve never been to a major league baseball game ever? Sure I make sure to swing by the Nat to catch a Canadians game every season, but while an exciting brand, it’s not the show. Heck, even with such close proximity to a pro club down in Seattle, I’ve still never seen the big leagues so I can’t pass that opportunity up.

Heck, maybe I’ll take in a couple of games. Both the Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves pass through town while I’m there.

Lastly, there’s the CN Tower.

Yeah, the VERY tall CN Tower.

You see, I have this fear of heights and while I’ve visited landmarks that have challenged my comfort zone of having two feet firmly planted to the ground – hello London Eye – I’ve never done the fear factor thing on my own. Are there support buddies available? People to hold on to when fear tries to get the better of me? Or do I just suck it up and head to the top like a big boy? Oh the humanity.

Anywho, what other suggestions do all of you fine people have for me? While I’ll be staying downtown at the Hyatt and would like to get around by foot as much as I can – remember, I’m funemployed and all – if there’s an attraction I just can’t miss, I’m willing to make the effort to get there.

An Amtrak Cascades Sunset

While riding the Amtrak Cascades train down to Seattle last month, I setup my GoPro on the window of our coach and set it to take a picture every two seconds.

This is the result:

Sure the video is rough around the edges, and you get bonus footage of my wife’s reflection, but I’m pretty proud of my little creation.

As an aside, if you’ve never hopped on the Amtrak Cascades, I highly recommend the trip. Not only do you get some pretty solid scenery, as well as see pieces of Metro Vancouver you never knew existed, it’s just a comfortably pleasant trip in just as much time as it takes to drive down the I5.

My Love

One year ago to the day, I married my beautiful wife Marnie.  I have truly enjoyed each day with since, just as I have enjoyed each day prior and look to enjoy each day forward.  She is my everything.

I love you Marnie!


You can learn more about our wedding story and see more pictures at Marriage in Maui.

One Day in LA

As part of my journey to rediscover my soul, the wife and I will have one whole day in Los Angeles and haven’t a clue on how we’ll spend it.

That’s right – one whole day!


Our problem is that there is so much that we could do in LA and we’re having difficulty choosing one or two things.

We could go up to Disneyland, as I’ve never been, but we think that would take the whole day. Hop on a Starline Tour Bus and simply see the sights? Visit Universal Studios?  Or visit Rodeo Drive.

What would you do with just one day in LA?

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