01 Apr 2009
Enroute to Darwin, Australia; Cruise Day 65
Today was another fun sea day, with the normal complement of activities. I’ll comment on just a couple.
Today’s highlight – I, more than Allyn, thoroughly enjoyed a PowerPoint presentation by last night’s illusionist. This sounds weird, but it was all about Houdini. Many things we think we know about him are false, because all the movies and literature have erroneously characterized him.
The truth, itself, is quite amazing.
Today’s “lowlight” – American Express annoys me. Now I am a big fan of theirs and use them all the time, but a couple years ago I got suckered into purchasing a Centurion Black Card. Ever since, I have felt like a big sucker.
Somebody gave me a line about "a man of my stature needing this card, blah, blah, blah; it’s hard to get, etc." The theory is that they have special concierge service, special travel reps, special programs, they can get you in to any place, restaurants fall all over themselves to cater to you…You get the point.
So I bit and paid $5,000 for the card. I’m not kidding. What a fool I am.
Never have I received any extra benefit, and I have certainly tried.
So, just now we decided to overnight in Hanoi (away from the ship) in a few weeks. I called them up because I like to at least try to use them.
They wanted over $100 surcharge for each of us for the air fares, which I ended up booking on Vietnam Airlines directly. He couldn’t find the flight at first, so I found it online and pointed it out. That was before I knew what they were going to charge.
The capper was that I asked them to get us a limo from the ship to the airport (about an hour away). He was supposed to email me in 10 – 15 minutes. I heard nothing and then called back in two hours.
The AMEX "expert" told me he couldn’t find any limo service, but spoke to his supervisor. They suggest that I TRY to find a taxi!
He went on to give me "that extra AMEX help" by suggesting that if I do find a taxi, I should get the price nailed down before we get in.
I then spoke with the tour people on board. They arranged for a limo in five minutes. Needless to say, I have made better investments than this "special" card.
Today’s weirdness – We have a 30-minute time change tonight.