Hotel Director Henk Mensink and Captain Jonathan Mercer.
Dear blog readers,
The above header is not a ‘typo’, I have transferred to this beautiful ship for a contract. I received a phone call whilst on the “Nieuw Amsterdam”, my senior corporate ofﬁcers asking if I would like to command the Grand Voyage, a world cruise on the “Amsterdam”. I was both ﬂattered and exulted to be asked, so the decision was one which required no further thought, I found myself uttering ‘yes please’ no sooner than the question being asked.
So here I am, in Fort Lauderdale, about to embark on a 37,000-mile, 113-day, seven-continent voyage of Discovery. Our journey will take us to the Caribbean, South America, Antarctica, (the most awesome place on the planet); across the Paciﬁc via Easter and Pitcairn Islands, Polynesia, Australia, Indonesia, Hong-Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Corsica, Spain and Portugal, then across the Atlantic, back to Fort Lauderdale.
I have been to many of these places before, during my early years as a junior ofﬁcer on cargo ships and they have no doubt changed ‘a little’. The modus operandi has changed too. For example, the last time I called in India, we departed with eight elephants standing on the aft deck, destined for Antwerp zoo. These beautiful creatures are intelligent beasts, as we were to ﬁnd out.
Access from the centre accomodation to the aft parts of the ship was only possible via the deck on which these animals were ‘quartered’. It became apparent that merely walking passed them was not as simple as ﬁrst thought, one doesn’t argue with an extremely large beast with an equally large trunk, they demanded a ‘toll’ to do so. Be it an apple or one of our freshly-baked bread rolls, the piper had to be paid and thus one started the necessary journey with a bag of the aforementioned articles; having successfully made the journey, we stockpiled the goodies for the return journey.
I trust that this voyage will not see a repeat of this ‘adventure’, providing, of course, that one of our guests does not return from ashore with an overly large ‘souvenir’. And so, with much anticipation, I hope to take you on our travels as we commence this epic voyage.
Ciao for now,