May 17, 2009 -

John Heald

Before Kye was born I promised myself that I would not become one of those parents that only talk about their kids.

“Hey, did you see the new Aston Martin DB9?” ………And a Dad would say “No, but the new Silver Cross GTR 300 stroller is incredible.” Or – “

“Hey, how about that skirt Jennifer Lopez was wearing at the MTV awards…….she has the finest bottom in the world.” And a dad would say “Oh, I was watching Discovery Health channel about the new baby formula that apparently is 37.56 % more like breast milk.”

Nope…………..I would never be one of those……………..never my arse.

She is all I have talked, thought and dreamt about these past 24 hours and with your kind permission later on in today’s blog………..I will again.

Actually, I am going to talk about being a Dad now in a round a bout way. First of all I should tell you that at 2 pm yesterday Heidi and Kye came home, more of which I will tell you about later. However, I spent Friday night alone as they were both still in hospital. Now, I new I had a job to do because I had been told this by my mentor “Dad”
magazine. This is what it says.

“For the next period in your life you will have to become both a Father and clean up after yourself and do the mundane stuff as like the housework. A new mum goes through all sorts of hormonal changes which affect her behaviour. On whom should she rely for keeping their relationship going, other than her partner? A new dad should act like the “mother’s Mum” for several months after the childbirth. That includes his being supportive, understanding, helpful, gentle, affectionate, doing whatever it takes to boost his wife’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Being distant, quick-tempered or undevoted isn’t part of the recipe.” …………………….Bugger !

Household work is not my strong point as basically I have never had to do any. I lived with my parents, then I went to work on a ship where the various Ketuts cleaned my cabin and then I married Heidi. Now suddenly I am expected to become a domestic goddess. Take the dishwasher for example. As you will read later we left the house in a hurry on Friday and when I came back home later that day as stressed as I was I truly wanted to smash the bloody thing into tiny pieces. That is because when it’s finished washing the plates and cups it makes a beeping noise. And if I don’t empty it immediately it beeps again. And then again.

How stupid is that? There I was, sitting down for the first time in many hours, nodding off in front of the television, when my slumber was disturbed by the buggers electronic summons and, because you know it will go on until forever,

I had to haul my tired arse out of my chair, waddle into the kitchen, and turn the bloody thing off. Then, my Dad magazine reminded me that I was now the housekeeper so I emptied the dishwasher.

God, it’s so boring. However, fearful of Heidi’s hormones and somewhat guilty after all she had been through I surprised myself by making sure everything went where it was supposed to and even dried the pots over with a cloth as I had seen Heidi do ……. well ………actually I didn’t know where she kept the cloths so I used my T-shirt.

When Heidi came home she was amazed at how clean the house was…….I had never seen her like this. I wondered…… this like pornography for women? Should I a website full of men, featuring videos of men fully clothed saying things like “Breakfast is on the table. I’ll have your outfit ready in five minutes” or a stud draped over an ironing board to another man on the phone about the best way to iron a blouse.

I mean……I have been trying, as have most men I think, to discover a way no get more rumpy pumpy. But the answer may well be enough to dampen our wishes: do the housework. Dusting, vacuuming and even taking out the garbage are the best ways it seems to get what you want………and I just discovered this now…………when rumpy pumpy is as far removed from Heidi’s mind is wanting to put my head between Judge Judy’s breast and go ” woubawubawubawuba ” is in mine.

OK, let’s take a break from kiddie talk and return to the wonderful world of cruising. We will start with this most welcome news.


MIAMI (May 15, 2009) – Carnival Cruise Lines will resume visits to Mexican ports of call based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which is no longer recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico. Once all voyages with previously modified itineraries are completed, those vessels will revert to their original routes featuring stops in Mexico. Most itineraries were modified through mid-June with the exception of the Holiday which was modified through late May. A ship-by-ship listing including dates for when each vessel will resume its original itinerary is available at

“We are very pleased to resume our previous itineraries to Mexico, one of the cruise industry’s most popular destinations, and we thank those guests who were impacted by the modified schedules in recent weeks for their understanding and patience,” said Gerry Cahill, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines.

Cahill added, “The health and well being of our guests and crew is our highest priority and we are returning to Mexico after careful evaluation and consultation with the CDC. It is important to note that the concentration of H1N1 flu cases in Mexico has been inland rather than in the coastal resort areas where our ships visit.”

Cahill also noted that the cruise industry works closely with U.S. public health officials in the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program in developing and complying with extensive policies and procedures that are effective in mitigating illness aboard cruise ships. Carnival will continue to follow CDC guidelines for cruise ships which include pre-boarding health questionnaires for all guests and crew, along with secondary screening by shipboard medical professionals as necessary. Additionally, all Carnival ships stock influenza test kits and anti-viral medications for treating type A influenzas.

“Mexico has so many wonderful sites and attractions and feedback from our customers suggests that the majority support a resumption of port calls in Mexico. We know that they and our port destination partners are very much looking forward to our return,” he added.

Carnival Cruise Lines, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), is the largest and most popular cruise line in the world, with 22 “Fun Ships” operating voyages ranging from three to 16 days in length to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Panama Canal, Canada, New England, Europe and Bermuda. The line currently has two new ships scheduled for delivery between now and 2011. The first of those, the 130,000-ton Carnival Dream, is set to debut Sept. 21, 2009.

For additional information or reservations on the “Fun Ship” vacation experience, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit

That is brilliant news and hopefully this will start to put to bed the H1N1 virus thingy and all the problems that went with it and overall the right choices were made. However, one last time I will say sorry to the many who had their itineraries changed. We know it meant that some of you were angry and many were disappointed and for that and on behalf of all of us at Carnival……..sorry. I also hope that those people who were putting off sailing with us will now pick up the phone and click on your mouse and book a cruise.

I know some people died of this illness in Mexico and two in North America and that is of course a tragedy but flu (that’s regular flu) kills thousands every year across the world. So, if any of you are still worried about this illness I just want to say…….why? Because when you think about it, outside of Mexico the swine flu meant a few people went to Mexico, got a bit ill and then ummmmmm……… got better again? It’s not up there with the plague, is it? So, let’s have fun. The ships are ready and the prices are still astonishing. The end of the world has been postponed therefore I hope to see you onboard a Fun Ship very soon.

So, that’s that and there will be no more talk of bird or swine flu …….. oh………hold on …….CNN are reporting that a donkey in Bolivia has a bad cold and Wolf Blister is in the CNN situation room stating that this is animal may have started another world wide epidemic scare………….it’s Ass Flu.

Let’s do some questions……….here we go

Jackie Asked:
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Thanks for giving me a pair of socks to wear at New Orleans airport in Feb. I have had 5 chemo treatments and have one to go…………. Hope all goes well for you as well
Before you know it thingy will be here. Perfection cannot be rushed. Looking forward to seeing pictures.
Stu and I booked the Bloggers cruise out of New York in Nov. Looking forward to celebrate with you and the group.

John Says:

Hello Jackie
Thank you for mentioning Robert. With everything that has been happening I have not had chance to talk about him. Robert and his wife Suzann have sailed with me 38 times …….they have done 50 plus with Carnival and 38 of those have been cruises where they have found out what ship I would be on and booked their vacation accordingly. This means we have become great friends and I can truly say that if there is anyone who can beat cancer it is him. Let’s keep them both in our thoughts.
Now, with regard to the bloggers cruises later this year I had to postpone my telephone conference because of Kye’s arrival but I will have this next week and let you know soon after some of the fun we have planned.
Thanks you for all the kind words
Best wishes

Norman (Malta) Asked:

Could you answer me John Please?
Hi John,
My wife (Frances) and I are continually watching and reading your famous blog for an update on the thingy. I just hope all goes well and that he/she is on its way to this world very soon.
One thing John about the pictures of that beautiful island beach which you put on the blog a couple of days ago. Could you tell me whereabouts that was because it was stunning and would dearly love to visit the place in the future?
All the best and good luck to you and Heidi

John Says:

Hello Norman
I want to say a special hello to you and everyone from one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean……..Malta. I have been there myself and the neighbouring island of Gozo and maybe one day I will be lucky enough to sail a Carnival ship there. I know Costa Cruises and I think Holland America call at your beautiful home so maybe one day you will se the Carnival smokestack there as well.
The photos you refer to are of a private island in the Bahamas that Carnival shares with our sister company Holland America. It is called Half Moon Cay and is visited by some of our fleet. It has no shops and not traffic and is just simply………..paradise. Have a look at the website. Click on “Fun Ships” and then have a look through the fleet and see which of our ships visit Half Moon Cay. If you need any further help please let me know and as much as I want to vast Malta again I hope just as much that you get to see Half Moon Cay.
Best wishes

Ricky Venable Asked:

Please Reply.
John…Relax. Having twice been through what you are going through now, I can tell you that everything will be fine. After all, when the time comes, if you faint, you will be in a hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses. Remember to breathe (important for Dad too). If you hear ringing in your ears, raise your hand. Now that my boys are 11 and 13 years old, I can barely remember my hair falling out from the stress of the days before birth. The hair grows back. A lot more gray, but it grows back.
Last time I wrote I asked if you were on the Holiday in April 1990. I know you have a lot going right now, but I am still curious about that.
Remember, if you can’t get to the market for more TABASCO, let me know and I will make sure you are well-stocked.

John Says:

Hello Ricky.
My Tabasco craving continues and in fact tonight I made my self a chicken salad which as Heidi was too tired to cook looked like a bunch of green stuff thrown over some cold chicken……..but that didn’t matter as the bottle of red spice made it a wonderful meal. Thanks for the kind words of support mate and I will always think of you when I shake that bottle.
My best to you and the family

Mark Asked:

John, please reply,
Just saw your comment about Butch not coming on the Liberty for now. I emailed you a couple weeks ago about my son wanting to do something special to propose to his girlfriend on the May 23 cruise. I hope you can get the message to the new CD and it won’t get forgotten. You had said you would let Butch know, but now it looks like you need to let a new person know.
If we can have that opportunity for my son and his soon to be fiancé, that would be great.
Once again, my room number will be —-. My cell phone is ——.
Have not heard too much about this CD, so I hope he can work the magic like you do.
I wouldn’t ask you again, but with the Thingy on the way and the changes in CD’s, I just thought I would send this reminder and double check.
Thanks for all you do.

John Says:

Hello Mark
Maybe I mislead you mate or maybe I read the wrong dates out but Butch will indeed be the CD of the Carnival Liberty. He is on now watching Steve the current CD and then he will be taking over on the 23rd. So, all is set for your special day and Butch knows to contact you rather than your son or daughter in law.
I look forward to reading all about it and hopefully to discover she said “yes.”
Have a brilliant cruise

Brian gliba Asked:

Hey john
I’m looking for a good military family deal for a week cruise around the end of September. Can you find me anything?

John Says:

Hello Brian:
First of all thank you for your service in the military. Carnival is so very proud to help you and your comrades enjoy your hard earned time at the best possible prices. I will have someone contact you about finding you a Fun Ship vacation as you requested.
If you need anything else I will be here for you
Best wishes

Sheila Asked:

John, please reply.
(post or not as you see fit.)
I’m sorry to be asking a question right now. Like Countess Carolyn I had all back labour with my first child and my water did not break. You may even be at the hospital as I write this. I’m guessing the Thingy’s arrival is imminent.
If you’re occupied I’m sure Stephanie can answer me. Congratulations Stephanie!
In early April (see “Sweet Sixteen”) you made arrangements to have a fire-resistant lounge made for my daughter (the one with Lyme Disease) to have on our balcony on Carnival Pride on May 30,2009.
I recently saw Capers from the Pride out of Baltimore and the Captain is not the one who was kind enough to grant the request-Captain Vito Giacalone-but rather Captain Alessandro Galloto.
I would just like to make sure that the lounge doesn’t get overlooked with a change in Captain.
Our booking # is —- and the cabin is #—.
Again, my apologies for bothering you right now but I’d hate for you to go to all that trouble and then not have it happen.
Thank you and my best to you all,

John Says:

Hello Sheila
Heidi has some pretty bad back pain as I will talk about later so I know she will appreciate your kind words. No need to apologize for asking a question, that is what I am here for.
I can assure you that your arrangements for your daughter’s special needs are all in place and everything will be fine. I will send a kind reminder to the ship but I know they are ready and willing to look after your all. I hope you will let us know how the cruise went and I wish you all a brilliant family vacation
Best wishes

Diana Asked:

Hi John, (please reply)
1st off, I would like to congratulate you on the soon to be expansion of the family! Family is the most wonderful thing!
This is my 1st time to respond to a blog… so please be patient. I have been on the carnival website researching what to expect on a cruise in 2009. The last time I was on a cruise was 15 years ago (carnival of course). While on the site, I came across your blog. With too many posts and comments, I was not able to read it all so I decided to write my own. Luckily I came across it, who better to ask than you. So here I am…
We are having a family reunion on the Splendor with a sail date of 6/14/09 out of Long Beach. With over 20 family members in my group, I would like to ask for your recommendation on how to maximize our trip with such a large group in which most are 1st timers. (Please suggest FREE ideas as we are on a budget!)
Thanks, looking forward to your response.

John Says:

Hello Diana
Thank you for taking the time to post on the blog thingy. I am glad you did so that I can say how you will notice Carnival has changed since you last sailed with us 15 years ago. How wonderful that your family is being reunited on the Carnival Splendor and here are some of the things you must not miss…..some free as you asked for……and one or two that shows Carnival’s value for money is unbeatable
1. You must not miss the shows. After dinner make sure you all go together and sit in the Spectacular Theatre and enjoy the cast perform ” The Beat” and “Vroom” and of course a brilliant mix of comedians and speciality acts.
2. Before you go to bed, gather the family together and read through the Carnival Capers. Have a look at the following day’s activities and decide which ones the entire family will go to. Maybe for example you could be one of the teams for the Super Trivia event or have fun together dancing at the deck party.
3. One night you must all sit under the stars or if it’s a little chilly sit under the dome and watch a movie on the Carnival Seaside Theatre Giant Screen on Lido Deck……’s fantastic
4. We have changed a lot in 15 years especially in our food choice and quality. At lunch try the Mongolian Wok or the Indian Tandoori restaurant and then take your cameras as the fun you will remember in the dining room is still with us today but you will be amazed at the food we now serve there. And if you can, spend $30 a person and try our Pinnacle Steak House. If it’s not the best food you have ever had at sea then tell me and I will eat my own hair. It’s the prefect place to toast the coming together of your family
Most importantly……..have fun, relax and let our friendly crew serve and entertain you
Please let me know if there is anything else I can do for you and welcome to the blog thingy
Best wishes

That’s all for today. I am sure many of you have asked questions and I am a little behind in my replies so my apologies for that and I will get back on track this week. Some of you may have also been holding off from asking due to Kye’s arrival so please post away now and if you need a reply please write for me to do so at the top of your comment. Also, please keep the cruise reviews coming, they are so very valuable.

Now, let’s take a break and enjoy some photos of the Carnival Splendor alongside in Vancouver and Astoria.

Vancouver 1

Vancouver 2

Vancouver 3

Vancouver 4

Vancouver 5

Victoria 1

Victoria 2

So, I have been catching up on the news as obviously my mind has been elsewhere and last night as I sat watching TV alone missing my beautiful daughter and my beautiful wife I was mesmerised by the news of Connie Culp and her miraculous face transplant. It made me think what amazing times we live in when someone can be given a new face.

Also I should mention her husband shot her in the face with a shotgun and then, as they say in news reports, turned the gun on himself. The fact that both are still alive suggests a level of marksmanship that would make Dick Cheney blush. Anyway, it’s a marvellous story and I wish Connie happier times ahead……she is a remarkable woman.

And so the wonders of medical advancement brings me nicely onto the story of our daughter’s birth and a medical system that when it comes to giving birth……has changed very little over the years.

Anyway, lets go back to Friday afternoon and Heidi who by 5 pm was suffering. Her pain had her bent over her birthing ball for 30 – 40 seconds a time and it seemed that as the night went on these pains that she later described as being stabbed from the inside out became more frequent. However, as Heidi had not had her “big piss” we didn’t think it was time yet but when at 9:30 pm her pain was so immense that for the first time ….. my brave wife cried tears of anguish…….I gathered her pre-packed hospital bag up and the Range Rover sped her to the hospital.

Now, I want to at this point explain something about the medical system here in the UK. While you can have a baby delivered privately in London and you have the insurance to pay for it the majority of births happen in public hospitals.

Carnival’s brilliant insurance would have covered us for a private hospital but as we don’t live close enough to London we, like 99% of the country relies on the National Health Service.

I once tried to explain the NHS system to some friends of mine from Chicago and you could hear their voices quiver before asking if maybe there was a chance of having the baby in the US. When I explained that UK hospitals were not only public but also relied on midwifery care, the quivers turned panicky. Only those with no choice accepted public, albeit free, services they said thinking no doubt of the TV program ER.

Neither Heidi nor I have had much exposure to the British hospital system and I must admit that when we visited our local hospital I was a little nervous afterwards during my first trip to our local hospital. From the outside, it looks like the prison from the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Inside were exposed pipes, creaky doors and high ceilings where Heidi imagined huge spider webs. It may be the most hygienic hospital on the planet, but it didn’t look it. North American hospitals look hygienic. Across the 50 states, hospitals are uniformly white and bright. Doctors’ waiting rooms are sterile, with nurses practically spraying phones with disinfectant in between calls.

However…….my fears were totally misplaced and the free for all health system we have here in the UK may have its faults but the maternity unit at Southend General Hospital ……… truly brilliant.

You see, in the UK the whole birthing process is handled by a midwife and her assistant. There is no doctor unless you have complications. The midwives are mostly middle aged or older ladies and are a cross between Mrs Doubtfire and Mary Poppins. I was a bit taken a back by this. I wanted machines that go ping and doctors cloaked and masked and ready to get my baby here now……what I got was a lady called Christine who wore a uniform from the 50’s. She was around 55 years old and bloody marvellous.

So in we went and by the time we were led into one of the delivery suites Heidi was having pains every two minutes.

Her pain was so great that she made loud grunting noises like Serena Williams does when she hits a tennis ball. Then as the contractions grew her moans became howls. Was my wife turning into a werewolf? Christine then did one of those ummmm…….inspections of Heidi’s lady garden and said that she had found Jimmy Hoffa, and that Heidi was already 6 cm dilated. It was a good thing she said that we had come in even though her waters still had not broken.

The time was now 11:15 pm and the start of one of the worst and best nights of my life.

Every time a contraction would hit Heidi I rubbed her lower back because she said the pain there was excruciating. She was given “gas and air” which helped a little but did nothing to stop her feeling pain like she had never felt before……….and there was worse to come. I had a little gulp of the gas and air myself and boy that stuff’s good…….at one point I saw God……….and she told me not to have any more.

At 3 am Heidi was 8cm dilated and the contractions were coming every minute or so.

At 4 am she was 9cm dilated and the pain was so bad that I begged Heidi to have an epidoodle but she refused.

At 5 am she went into labour and I stood by her side and watch my brave Heidi push with all her might and scream in total agony. I held her hand, I tried to make a joke, I told her I loved her and never………..never………I have I felt such a useless bastard in my life as I did then. For three hours plus she tried with all her might and all the time the midwife Christine told her how brave she was and talked her through everything that was happening ……….I know I am repeating myself but she was amazing.

Kye was in a strange position. Her head was facing up instead of down or down instead of up……I can’t remember which. I had my back firmly to the show and as much as I wanted to help Heidi through the pain I was going to be no bloody good having a quick look downstairs and immediately fainting.

Heidi screamed and she shook and I mopped her sweaty brow with a washcloth. At 8:05 am she said “I can’t do this.” I said, “Yes you can, it’s your dad’s birthday and this is his gift.” So my brave lady continued pushing through the pain.

The midwife told her to “push down like you are having a good poo.” Now I could have made a joke or two there but as any attempts at humor by me had so far had been met with angry looks or me being told to go forth and multiply in both Dutch and English I decided not say nothing.

I really was trying to help. I said “Breathe ………. in ……… out ……….in………out.” And my normally non-swearing placid partner replied……..”I know how to fu**ing breathe.”

And she screamed some more and then………suddenly Christine simply said ……… “Three more pushes”………and three pushes later at 8:50am Kye entered the world weighing a touch under 7 pounds. Heidi cried, Christine our midwife asked me if I wanted to cut the cord. I told her to bugger off and a few moments later wrapped in a towel and sitting on my wife’s chest was our daughter…….something we thought we would never have ………….and she is the most beautiful gorgeous little thingy …………… in the world.

Then as they weighed her and did what they do to newborn babies I thought it was all over, so for the first time in hours I turned around ……….just in time to see Heidi deliver a placenta…………and although some of you may think I am adding this for entertainment values I promise I am not. Because at the sight of this blob of blood and ooze being plopped out into what looked like a dish we use for the side orders in our supper clubs…….I knew I was going to be sick………and I just made it to the toilet in time to prove myself right. I don’t think it was just the placenta though…….I am sure it was being on my feet for eight hours and a low sugar level and the whole emotion of the night.

After cluster-bombing the toilet I returned to see Heidi who was having ladies things done to her that I won’t mention here. Then, just as my Mum told me she was when she had me, we were both offered a cup of tea and some toast and jam………I asked for a Spotted Dick and when the midwife said that there was probably one in the male surgical wards.

Heidi laughed a little for the first time that night. Again, the National Health System has its faults but for a free service I can’t fault it……..and I thank Christine and all the staff so very much and when I went to collect my family today I brought huge boxes of chocolates for them all.

Heidi and Kye spent last night in hospital and they conducted hearing and mobility and joint tests which she passed with flying colors and they arrived home yesterday. I did the journey to the hospital in 12 minutes. Strange then that with Kye in her car seat the journey back took 30 minutes as the Range Rover never went over 30 mph……the polar bears should be happy, as well.

So, here she is. And for all the people who said my life would change……… were totally right. I never put the TV on…….I looked at my raspberry less……….I didn’t care what was happening in the world……all I did was stare at something that this ugly grey haired overweight sod had helped create……and the whole experience has so far been jaw droppingly astonishing.

She slept three hours then woke for a feeding…..then slept two more hours and was hungry again…………then she got another two hours sleep before wanting to suck on Heidi’s breasts. This means I got some sleep as well although at 4 am I woke up also wanting to suck on one of Heidi’s breasts…….she’s gone from Kate Moss to Pamela Andersen in just a few weeks and I can’t enjoy them…….double D bugger

I have though a new found understanding of what women have to go through giving birth. I don’t think anyone can understand what it is like to see the one you love in so much pain and be able to absolutely nothing about it.

Ladies…….you are amazing and none more so than Heidi……..whom I love with all my heart.

I will now and then tell you a little about my daughter and how she is doing but please don’t worry as normal blog service free from all this mushy stuff will be back tomorrow. However, I must say that never would I have imagined that returning home we would find 300 comments of love and congratulations waiting for us on the blog. I wish that I could reply to them all but instead I hope you will allow me on behalf of Heidi and Kye to say that you are all true friends and we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the love you have shown us in your postings……….once again……..thank you from the three of us. We have printed out the comments and they will take pride of place in her baby book.

And she was born on the same day as Casper Joop ten Brink, Heidi’s much missed Father and since his passing May 15 has always been a day of sadness……….not any more. Kye met her Grandpa Nebbles (my Dad) and Grandma Hilda (my Mum) yesterday and it brought joy to my heart to see them so happy to have another grandchild.

So, that’s it. Tomorrow I will return to a much less mushy fluffy style of blog but I will make sure I let you know how Kye is doing. She has Heidi’s chin and Heidi’s eyes but yesterday I knew she also had some Heald in her because as I sat and held her……..she farted……..puffed out her cheeks and did a huge poo………..that’s my girl.



Your friends
John, Heidi and Kye

Hi, I’m John, and this is my blog. So please don’t mistake my opinions — or those of my dear friends, fans or commenters — for those of Carnival Cruise Line or Carnival Corporation. My apologies in advance for anything I may say that upsets you, but this disclaimer covers Carnival and puts the blame directly on me………….. bugger.