About me

2014-09-11_0001I have been at sea for over 40 years.  Indentured as an apprentice in the British and Commonwealth Shipping Co, I served on Clan Line General cargo and Reefer ships, Union-Castle Mail ships, Bulk carriers and Container ships.  I obtained my Masters Certificate in 1980 and served on Cross-Channel ferries as 2nd, Chief Officer and Master.  I presently command cruise ships and have done so for almost 20 years.


39 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Hello again Captain Mercer. We are so happy to be able to follow you World Cruise again. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to provide us with a wonderful educational experience. Good to see that your wife is able to be with you again. We look forward to receiving our notification e-mail that there is another post for us to read. Regards to you both.

    Dave and Ardele Bond

  2. Captain Jonathan. My wife, Gloria and I are really looking forward to the 2015 GWV. We di the 2014 Far East, Asia with Captain Fred. We have heard so much about you and look forward to meting you. Dr. Milton P. Marrone

  3. Jonathan – When is the ms Amsterdam due in port in Sydney AUS and how long will you be in port? If it worked out wanted to head down to the Overseas Passenger Terminal and may get to see you – Regards Allan Gibson OAM – guest ex Seattle, September 6

  4. Hello Captain Jonathan: Are you scheduled for the 2016 World Cruise?? Sincerely hope so as I did so enjoy your ‘captaining’ on the 2014 cruise with your lovely wife.

  5. Captain Jonathon:

    I have noticed that you use Joystick control mode when docking in a tight fit. Can you please explain the pod positions during such a maneuver? I would expect that in this mode, moving the stick from ahead of dead center to slightly behind, would merely reverse the motor and prop rotation while keeping the pod aligned with the hull, and that the advantage of quicker response in not having to wait for the pod to rotate 180 degrees offsets the lessor importance poorer efficiency of temporarilly operating a fixed pitch propeller in reverse. Is this correct?

    Lou Messer, retired engineer.

    1. Hello Lou, I do apologise for not replying to your question; it’s a little bit more complicated than you suggest, however you’re not far off the mark. We are fixed pitch, variable rpm. The azipods both turn inboard at 90 degrees when one selects ‘joystick’. Now it gets complicated, of one chooses ‘manual’ heading, (i.e. the operator controls heading by way of a miniwheel) the rpm on each go to 20. If one selects ‘auto’ heading, i.e. I want the heading to be kept, the rpm stay at 0. The joystick controls the forward/astern movement and the pods incline, either ahead or astern. Dependent on how fast one wants to do either, one moves the ‘stick’ further, thus increasing the rpm and the angle. The pods always ‘pull’, so one pod will offset with more rpm than the other if one wants to go sideways. It’s difficult to explain, I can feel a video coming on 🙂

      1. I would expect if one wanted to gosideways to starboard, the port Azipod would pull the stern and the bow thruster would produce a balancing moment, all managed by the computer. The starboard pod would be aligned fore and aft so as to cancel any motion in that direction. However, since you say the pods only pull, unwanted forward motion would be cancelled by the port pod turning a small bit past 090 relative. Is that correct?

        Lou M.

  6. Wondered what happened after Ponta Delgado. No more blog updates? Thoroughly enjoyed reviewing your latest World Cruise. Being notified of updates by e-mail was a great idea. Thank you so much.

  7. Thank you, Captain Jonathan for your diligence and great kindness throughout this World Cruise. It is a delight and reassuring to have you in command. You have done everything you possibly could to make this cruise so enjoyable and to keep us safe.

  8. Jonathon

    Kevin & Robyn here from Tonga.

    We have returned back home to NZ and whilst looking at the site tonight worked out how to contact you. We did not realise until the day after your boat left, that we did not have your email address, we thought it was on the bookmark. I tried emailing Hollande America Line asking for your email address, but received no response.

    We did join your blog and have enjoyed reading about the adventures that you are having.

    We wanted to thank you and the ladies for entertaining us over lunch on board and showing us around the huge liner, we really appreciated this as we knew you are a very busy man.

    Pass on our regards to Karen, Margaret and Leslie and we hope they continue to enjoy the trip.


    Kevin and Robyn Riordan

  9. In April, in the Amsterdam dining room, I asked if you would consider doing the Holiday Cruise this year. Karen seemed to feel she would like to do it and I was wondering if any decision had been made. My best friend and her husband would be very pleased if you were there to officiate at their renewal of vows.
    Looking forward to sailing with you again in ’15 and beyond.

  10. Thank you for your decision to bypass Western Africa on the 2014 GWV. We were with you on that sail and supported your decision at the time. Current events have proved you tragically correct. Thanks again for being our Captain and making the tough decisions.

    We’ll be with you again on the 2015 GWV and look forward to another great adventure.

    1. Thank you Ken, difficult as the decision was, at the time I wondered if I had done the right thing; watching the news now, I feel vidicated 🙂 Look forward to seeing you in January!

  11. Hard to believe there are folks smart enough (or lucky) to afford a world cruise but dumb as stones to want to override a captain’s decisions. Sleep well. We sail with HAL because of captains (masters) like you. See you in ’15.

  12. Hello, again. We just found the “About Me” section along with the comments. We were DELIGHTED to read you are scheduled for the 2015 WC. We were hoping against hope you would be the “Master-in-Command” once more. We so enjoyed you and the whole 2013 WC and are looking forward to next year.

    Your blogs continue to inform and to entertain. You are indeed a writer!

    Mary and Gordon Thompson

  13. We were on a segment of the 2013 World Cruise and thoroughly enjoyed having you as Captain. We have booked the entire World Cruise for 2015 and are hoping you will be the Captain on that cruise. Will we be seeing you then?
    Jim and Cathy

  14. We will be on the Sunfarer cruise on St. Patrick’s Day and for the first time will be staying in a suite, so may actually meet the Captain! I’m excited but VERY nervous, and would appreciate any words of wisdom regarding appropriate topics. Thank goodness I know where Easter Island is!! Thank you!

    1. Dear Marjorie, I am sure you will get to meet the Captain, most of us are quite gregarious creatures :-). Have a wonderul cruise, I’m sure you will enjoy it.

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A medley of command, travel and family