Around the World with Captain Mercer: m.s. “Amsterdam”

Around the World with Captain Mercer: m.s. “Amsterdam”

Hotel Director Henk Mensink and Captain Jonathan Mercer.

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,
Captain Jonathan


Join the Discussion


  1. Almuth Ewing January 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Wonderful !! Congratulations !! I wish the blog would mention the Captain on any Grand Voyage or World Voyage, as many of us like to sail with a specific Captain at the helm.

  2. John Majors January 7, 2012 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Congratulations Captain Jonathan;

    All of us Blog readers are in for a treat reading from afar about MS Amsterdam’s ports of call on the World Cruise while we are shoreside in-between our next Holland America cruise!

  3. Elise Hearn January 7, 2012 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Have a great journey Captain Mercer! I really enjoyed the elephant story. Made me laugh. Delightful!

  4. Almuth January 7, 2012 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Wishing you the best trip and safe return. Does this mean you will remain with “Amsterdam” from now on? i.e. take turns on the World Cruise ?

  5. ANNAMARIE January 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm - Reply


  6. Laure Champagne January 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Hello, My dear sister left yesterday at Fort Lauderdale for the Grand Voyage. Is there a possibility that we follow your trip on a blog or on a site. I am sure you will meet her, she is 85, very alert and funny and had travelled all over the world before. Her name is Denise Champagne Faulkner and she travels with her friend Monique Bertrand. Thanking you in advance.
    Laure Champagne

  7. Harlan Ratliff January 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on your new assignment — being fortunate to have you as Captain on the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam, we know the guests and crew are in safe hands! Will be anxiously awaiting your blog so we can share in your adventures.

  8. Maria Carmen de Munoz January 8, 2012 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Bon Voyage Captain Mercer! May you have blessed and safe crossings. I will be avidly following your blog and tracking the Amsterdam. Wish I could be sailing again with you!

  9. lizday January 8, 2012 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    Super!!! I hope you keep us on your blog during the voyage. I enjoy reading it very much! Liz Day

  10. Julie January 9, 2012 at 9:34 am - Reply

    Hi Almuth, If there’s a specific voyage you’d like to know who is master, email info@hollandamericablog.com and I can see if I have that schedule! Julie

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