The Crying Game

May 27, 2009 -

John Heald

Bloody Hell………I am so tired. Please don’t tell Heidi I told you that but I feel like doing a Rip Van Winkle impression and sleeping for the next 40 years. Last night was our first difficult one with beautiful Kye. Our daughter has been sleeping for 3 – 4 hours between feeds without so much as a whimper but last night all that changed………because she got something called colic………or to give it its Latin medical name “Screechingmaximus Nosleepius.”

She started to cry around 10 am and she continued to exercise her tiny but leviathan lungs until 3:30 am. And the reason I think I am so tired today is not because of the lack of sleep but the distress I felt for my usually so serine princess who suddenly looked as though she was fighting the most intense pain in the world. She would lay in her Moses basket drawing her knees up to the stomach during screaming fits and clenching her fists her tiny little head turning deep red. The only time she would stop crying was when Heidi fed her or held her tight. She would then fall asleep but once we put her in her cot again…….the tears and anguish would start flowing……and I joined her in those emotions.

Heidi meanwhile handled this as she does everything else …….calmly and with clarity of thought. Me?……..Well I headed for the internet to see what I could find out and that’s when I discovered the colic thingy. I also discovered so much conflicting information that I was very close to throwing my laptop and myself out of the window. Strict four-hour feedings? Or on demand? Should you put your baby to sleep in a separate room, or allow it to nestle next to you all night? One website even suggested that if the baby showed signs of colic then we should ignore the cries and eventually she would cry herself to sleep.

This article was written by someone with a heart made of pure stone. How could anyone with a beating heart leave any baby or child sobbing on its own in a darkened room?

When the first squeak emanated over the baby monitor, I would rush over and pick Kye up. And yes, Heidi breast-fed wholly on demand. Her reasoning? No baby is born with a Rolex on their wrist, therefore how on earth can they understand the “four-hour rule,” a rigid feeding sermon preached by the likes of idiots who think that babies need to fit in with their adult schedule, rather than the other way around……….bet they are vegetarians with beards.

What also made me mad was the fact that as I trawled Mr. Google for advice it was all written to Mothers and “their partners??” It seemed that “Dad” or “Father” was a dirty politically incorrect word………….what a load of bollocks. Once upon a time being a Dad was a pretty straightforward affair. You were expected to be the breadwinner and do something with the kids at the weekend. Dads in those days were figures who worked hard, put the bookshelves up and smoked pipes by the fireside. They did not read books about how to be a Super-Single-Divorced-Tough-Love-Dad; they did not believe that to be a good dad you had to heal your “inner wounds” or get in touch with your “feminine side.” Dads were just Dads…….apparently today…….they are an extinct species.

At around 1:30 am I thought it best to call the 24-hour hospital hotline for new mothers. So, I called…….and got a busy signal. There is nothing more annoying than getting a busy signal when you are desperate to speak to someone?

The other day I called my friend, Danny, and the line was busy. I think the last time this happened it was 1995.

Naturally, I assumed something awful had happened.

Maybe someone had broken in to his house and cut the line and eaten him. Maybe he had been in touch with his feminine side and while dusting had accidently knocked the phone off the hook.

It seemed incomprehensible that in this day and age, a busy signal would not be the result of some horrible mishap or accident. Unless you’re 80 years old, there’s no excuse for not having call-waiting.

After several attempts, I got through. Turns out, he wasn’t dusting or dead. He was talking. Once I discovered the absence of call-waiting was intentional, I expressed my frustration. His defense? “It’s honest. You know what a busy signal says? ……. I’m “fu**ing busy.”

As far as I’m concerned, call-waiting is a necessity. Like breathing and taking a Carnival cruise. It’s impossible to imagine life without it.

Plus, the beauty of it is, you can ignore it. You have a choice. If there’s someone you don’t want to talk to – you don’t respond. For the person calling, they get it – you’re on another call. If you were out, the voicemail would answer. These rules are understood. A busy signal is nothing but rude. It’s like being put on hold. I’m an impatient person when I’m trying to call someone but once I’ve reached them, I have all the time in the world. Except when someone keeps me waiting for so long that I forget I’m on hold because I have been hypnotized by Kenny Bloody G and his bastard saxophone. Then when eventually they come back on the line they sound surprised that I haven’t hung up. “You’re still there?”

Anyway, the National Health Service Hotline did not have call waiting and that’s not surprising because thanks to the UK’s current government I am surprised they can afford a bottle of aspirin and a rectal thermometer. Anyway, eventually I got through and after describing Kye’s symptoms the lady said “Yes, she has colic by the sounds of things.” So I asked if we should drive to the hospital to see a doctor……”No,” she laughed …. ”This is just to prepare you for the weeks ahead” and she laughed again. I hung up the phone and drove over to the hospital and found the nurse who had answered the phone and gently patted her on the arse…….”Why did you do that?” she asked …..I laughed and said “That’s just to prepare you for my foot going in your arse if you don’t stop laughing at my baby’s illness.”

Well, of course I didn’t do that and I know she was just doing her job. You see, she told me that Kye is healthy and this is common with many newborns and they may continue to be like this for many weeks. This morning I contacted our own doctor and Doc Ramitin was very helpful. He gave us some over the counter medicine and suggested Heidi cut out any citrus food and drinks as well as things like cabbage and garlic, etc.

So, eventually Kye slept from 3:30 am – 5 am and has been on and off since then. We have given her the medicine which judging by the face she made and the tears she cried was as tasty as me eating a pair of my own underwear……on toast…….and I doubt she will ever forgive us for doing so.

She is calmer today so far but still wakes up with tears rather than the smile we are used to……..and that makes me very sad indeed. She’s not ill and has continued to put weight on and has received glowing praise from doctors and midwives………but last night her Mum and Dad felt helpless, exhausted and personally………..I didn’t handle it well at all.

Lets do some questions………………here we go.

wil-da-beast Asked:
HI John (please reply) first of all, I’ve enjoyed the pictures and comments about Kye. Keep them coming. I can’t get enough. Your baby is BEAUTIFUL…..I’ve read the comments about the Carnival pins being discontinued and was so disappointed as I look forward to receiving them on each cruise and wear them proudly. My thought was to have them at the purser’s desk and the people who REALLY want them could ask for them as they do with the deck of cards. Then I read other people’s idea of selling them in the gift shop and that made me sound cheap, but giving my idea anyway…I will be doing the TA on the Dream in Oct. and excited to hear that Ken will be on the Dream, but I have to be in his dining room. Then I heard that you will be joining us in Bermuda and hope that is true. Then I heard that Jaime will be on the Dream for a few weeks. Please tell me that she will be there with us for the TA. Please confirm that 3 of my favorite Carnival people will be with us on this cruise. I will be so disappointed if I don’t have correct info. This is too good to be true, but it would be a dream cruise on the Dream for us if it was. Our best to you and your family. Regards from Texas…A&W
John if you have time in the next few days, please read an article that appeared in the Toronto Star on Sat. May 23 about cruising. It’s really cute. Please go to and in the search engine type “Ashley Botting”. She’s the writer of the article. She’s been on a cruise ship working for the last 3 months as an entertainer; however, she doesn’t mention which cruise line she’s on. I’m wondering if you can guess which one from the article. Can you tell me if what she writes is true?
I hope you enjoy the article.

John Says:
Hello Wi-da-beast
Thanks for the kind words. Kye is beautiful and last night it was so difficult to see her so distraught. I will as requested make sure that I keep the photos coming. So I just finished the article and it seems that this young entertainer/reporter has for the most part had a good time despite the fact that she twice refers to her cabin as a prison cell. I certainly don’t recognize any of the names she mentioned but I have to say most of what she has written is close to the truth while a few bits are certainly not. One thing that is true is that friendships and relationships happen much quicker onboard than on land. On a ship unlike ashore there is no “I will see you in a few days” after a first date. That’s because as big as the ships are, below stairs, you eat, work and play with the same people day in day out……so as you can imagine friendships and beyond happen at a furious pace.
She was also spot on about the crew meeting in cabins to say goodbye to friends. A crew member’s cabin is their home for six months and just as at home you do intend to invite friends round for a drink or two……..however on a Carnival ship, food items such as she mentioned are not allowed for hygiene purposes……….crab legs?…….she said crab legs? ………were brought to the crew cabin party…………..maybe therefore she is on Seabourn?
It will be interesting to see if she reveals what ship she has been undercover on so please let us know if that secret comes out.
Jaime will be on the Carnival Dream’s trans-Atlantic and I truly hope to join in Bermuda to ride the ship into New York. Ken will be there for sure so hopefully these are all things that will make this cruise your most special yet and of course………the ship herself will for sure give you goosebumps…………..she is amazing
Best wishes to you and the family

Cindy Asked:
Jane and Tom
When we were on the Freedom Mediterranean cruise in May, 2007, you had a lady singer that was absolutely fantastic. We are trying to remember her name – she sang operatic songs & had many a standing ovation. She sang songs from The Sound of Music in addition to songs from the Phantom of the Opera. Is there any way you can line her up to perform on the Bloggers Cruise on December 3rd? Again, what was her name – Lisa?? Comes to mind, but I’m not sure.

John Says:
Hello Jane and Tom
Ahhhhh…… are talking about the incomparable Penny Mathiesen. I will certainly see if we can indeed get her to perform onboard the Carnival Dream for the Bloggers Cruise. She is outstanding. What a great idea. I will put it out there right now.
Hope you are both well and see you soon
best wishes

Erin W. Asked:
Hey John – Please Reply!
Heidi looks amazing! and baby Kye is simply beautiful Thanks for the info on the Cruise Directors for the dates that I gave you. I have booked my cruise on the Dream; in fact I have booked my next 3 cruises for this year! I am going to be on the 2 day to nowhere from NY. I saw that the Bloggers Cruise starts when we get back and also noted that you were going to join the ship in Bermuda and sail with her up to NY. Does this mean that you will be onboard for the ride during the 2 day to nowhere and available for a meet? Or even before or after sailing? I would love to say hello in person!
Hoping to make Platinum Soon! – Erin W.

John Says:
Hello Erin
I want to thank you for your continuing loyalty to Carnival and it looks like you have some brilliant voyages planned for this year. I will indeed be hoping to join the Carnival Dream in Bermuda so I can experience the sail into New York. I have not done this since 1996 onboard the Carnival Destiny. I will for sure be on the two-day cruise so it seems we are destined to meet.
Looking forward to seeing you and best wishes to all

Clair Asked:
Hi John, (Please reply…no rush)
Thank you for sharing the video of Heidi and Kye with us.
My husband and I just got off of the Carnival Splendor today, and I wanted to let you know that we had a fantastic time!! I’ve been reading the blog thingy from the start, and just knew that I had to give Carnival another try (hadn’t sailed on the line since the 1990’s), and my husband never had. After talking Chris into the Splendor, I knew that I would have a great time, but secretly hoped that he wouldn’t spend the whole time comparing the experience to Princess or DCL (the two lines we usually sail on). Well, not only did he not do that, on the way home this morning he turned to me and said “what’s the name again of the next new Carnival ship? I think we should said on that one next year.” Yippee!!
I am now a huge Carnival fan, who has been talking non-stop today to my friends about the wonderful vacation we just had.
The staff on the Carnival Splendor went above and beyond. Brad seems to be a very gracious CD, and Matt (asst. CD), Owen and Grayson were all very down to earth and fun Social Hosts.
Thank you for helping to arrange a table for 2 in the dinning room. We really appreciated it!
I do have a comment/suggestion/question:
1). There was an unsafe situation that developed when we were all lined up for going ashore in Astoria. Two gangways had been set-up. The halls and stairs were filled with people, the all clear to go ashore was given (I forget the exact wording) but I was standing by one of the Social Hosts when it came over his walkie talkie type device, we inched forward and then everyone stopped. Another Social Host who was down mixed in line with everyone in one the stairwells yelled to everyone to turn around and go to the other end as this exit wasn’t ready. Well, when she did that, there was a mass rush of people pushing and shoving, and I felt bad for the older folks who got mixed up in all of this. I realize that the guests pushing and shoving caused most of the problems, but couldn’t there be a more organized way to get people off of the ship?

John Says:
Hello Clair
Thank you so much for reading my daily mutterings these past two years and also for letting me know about your recent cruise on the Carnival Splendor. I was so delighted to hear that Chris had a great time and I certainly won’t be so unprofessional and gloat that he thought we his first Carnival cruise was his best…….oh bugger…..I can’t stop myself ……NA NA NA NA NA……….WE ARE BETTER THAN DISNEY…. M – I – C – K – E – Y – O – U -S -O – B……..bugger ………..spelt that wrong didn’t I?
I am glad you found the staff to be fun and I am glad the table worked out for you. Let me address your concerns with Brad and Duncan. I am sure this may have been one of the first calls to Astoria and it sounds like some guests did not listen and also that we could organize this a bit better. Information like this is so valuable to us and I know Duncan and Brad will be so appreciative that you took the time to write so we can improve.
I will send this then to the ship and they will also be so proud that you and Chris have decided that after your time on the Carnival Splendor to book a cruise on the one and only Carnival Dream
Best wishes to you both

Melissa Asked:
Dear John,
Please Respond
Thank you for your checking saying you’d look a little deeper into why some ships wouldn’t be heading back to Cozumel earlier. Wondering if you had heard anything?
I also have a favor to ask. On our last Carnival cruise my husband and I were seated close to the entrance and couldn’t see anything that was going on throughout the night. I was wondering if it would be possible for us to be seated near a window. I have always wanted to be able to see the ocean while eating. If this is not possible I would at least like to be out in the middle where we can see everything around us. We are sailing Carnival Legend 6/7/09 Room # (Melissa) (Please don’t post last name). I would appreciate any help you could offer. Thanks! I hope you are having a wonderful time with baby Kye!

John Says:
Hello Melissa
I hope you saw yesterday’s answer to your Mexico question from our Senior Vice President Terry Thornton. If you didn’t here it is again.
“When the CDC issued a travel warning recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico, we changed our itineraries and eliminated our Mexico calls for departures through about mid-June. At that time, we advised all existing bookings about the itinerary change and offered the opportunity to cancel without penalty. If the existing bookings did not elect to cancel, they made this decision based on the revised itinerary information we provided. In addition, all new bookings for the revised itineraries purchased the cruise based on the revised itinerary. We now want to provide all of our guests with the cruise itinerary that they selected.”
If you have any follow up to this please let me know.
I shall certainly pass on this request to my mate the maitre d of the Carnival Legend who I know will do his very best to accommodate you as requested.
Have a fantastic cruise and my best wishes to you all and my sincere thanks for the kind words for Kye.

Sheryl Asked:
John please reply
I know that Carnival has stopped giving out the pins fleetwide because so many were being wasted. However, there are so many people (like myself) who love to collect them and will miss the opportunity. Couldn’t Carnival just have set up something that when a person books they would be asked do you want a pin or not? Maybe when they filled out their FunPass. If yes, it would be given. If not, none would be wasted.
Just a thought……..

John Says:
Hello Sheryl
And…….it’s a great thought. I had a chat with our Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Roberta Jacoby about this just a few days ago and all options are being considered. For now, we are working quickly on making them available in the onboard shops and at the same time finding ways to maybe distribute them differently as before when so many were wasted. One thing is for certain………I don’t think we realized just how passionate people are about the pins.
I promise to keep you informed and thanks for the great idea………watch this space.
Best wishes

Stacey Asked:
Hey John (Please Reply),
Just wondering how the next CD assignments for the rest of the year are coming along. Anxiously awaiting news… 🙂
Hilarious story about Kye’s diaper. I do child care for a living, and have changed more diapers than can probably even be counted…so my words of wisdom would be, “there’s plenty more of THAT to come”.
Oh, and the moral of that story is….there are times that you really should listen to your wife.

John Says:
Hello Stacey
I am glad you liked the diaper story and I seem to errantly smell of pee and poo ……… although that is not just Kye’s fault! I have the CD schedule here minus a few last minute changes that we are working on. However, I should be able to post it in a few weeks but meanwhile should you or anyone wish to know who is on what ship and when then please mark your posting for my reply and I should be able to let you know
Best wishes and a little bit of poo

Beverly Asked:
Dear John,
please reply
Congratulations on the birth of yours and Heidi’s baby! Zij is Mooi!” Please don’t stop posting the stories.
Below is a letter I wrote to Skip Lyons CD on the Inspiration sailing May 14, 2009. Requesting clarification.
Dear Skip,
As a follower of John Heald’s blog I am extremely interested in the birth of his and Heidi’s 1st baby. He informed us his blog is accessible without charge on Carnival Ships. I inquired with the Internet Manager and found this not be the case on this ship.
If I have misunderstood John’s statement I apologize.
Thank you for your consideration in advance.
This letter was left with the purser at the Guest Services desk the evening of May 14, addressed to Skip Lyons I was never contacted by Mr Lyons or his staff in any way.
I was curious enough as to the birth of your baby, that on May 16th, I finally broke down and paid to gain Internet access to check the status of the birth.
1. John, was I initially mistaken that I could obtain complimentary Internet access to the “Blog Thingy” on any Carnival ship?
2. I am very astonished after taking the time to write a letter on platinum stationary placed in a platinum envelope that I received absolutely no response during the remaining three full days of my cruise!
Thank you
17 Carnival cruises and wanting more!

John Says:

Hello Beverly
I am so very sorry. Let me start by saying that I was wrong when I said the blog was free. I assumed incorrectly that because now had free access in the internet cafes that my blog which after all is part of Carnival would be free as well …… but it isn’t. And I must keep my frustration about this bottled up …….for now.
I sent an e-mail to all the cruise directors asking them to please print the blog and place it daily……in a binder…and place the binder in the ships library. Many ships have done this but I guess in the case of the Carnival Inspiration it was not.
Then there is the question of the non-reply. Even if you wrote your question on the back of a post it notes, regardless you should have received a reply and quite frankly I am annoyed that this did not happen. Please therefore accept my apologies for this and I will address it immediately with Skippy.
I will renew my efforts to get the blog printed daily and placed in the libraries and I would ask anyone cruising in the next few weeks to look out for this and let me know.
Once again sorry for the misinformation and I hope you had a great cruise
Best wishes

Kathy Asked:
Hi John, Heidi and Little Kye,
John please respond. please.
Someone responded to a question about tips and said that the only people that worked for Carnival that DID NOT EARN A SALARY were the waiters and they only lived on their tips. Is this true, I find it very hard that everyone else on the ship is paid but the waiters.
If you could answer this for me so I can post it on cruise critic, I would greatly appreciate it.
Btw, I love Kye’s name and could you tell me what it means.

John Says:
Hello Kathy
I am hoping that the gentlemen who wrote these inaccuracies on Cruise Critic will write to me here on the blog so I can provide him with the correct information. Each and every crew member is paid a salary by the company………without exception. Now, in some cases such as the waiters and stateroom stewards those salaries are heavily compensated by gratuities from guests. This is an industry-wide standard and of course really not that different to a hospitality job on land. I am glad you took the time to ask and once again I hope Host Mach my mate will place this onto this bogus thread about tips.
Thanks so much for the kind words for Kye. Her name means beautiful ocean which is where she was conceived……… name is John………….it means…………toilet
Best wishes

That’s all for today. I just wanted to mention that yesterday I wrote on the blog that I would be joining the Carnival Freedom on July 20th…….oops………and bugger …. I meant June 20th………….sorry for the confusion. Anyway, as you know I answer any and all questions marked for my reply so please let me know if you need my help and as repetitive as it may sound thanks again to everyone who writes in.

On another note, do you remember our guest who is attempting to sail on all the Carnival ships in one year? Well here is an update on his remarkable journey………


William Filomena has his sights set on what certainly is a unique goal – sailing on all 22 Carnival “Fun Ships” over the course of a year.

Thus far, Filomena, is more than half way to his goal, sailing on 14 different vessels since his quest began in fall 2008.

Filomena has been on 29 Carnival cruises in total since June 2008, his first being a seven-day Carnival Spirit voyage to Alaska, which remains his favorite destination.

Filomena, who will sail on the trans-Atlantic voyage of the new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream later this year, expects to reach his goal when he embarks on an eight-day Carnival Miracle cruise in December.

Filomena (second from left) is pictured here during his most recent cruise on the Carnival Legend with the ship’s Captain Vincenzo Alcaras and Hotel Director Guna Chellam (far left and far right, respectively) and Carnival President and CEO Gerry Cahill, who was on board for a meeting of the line’s Quality Assurance Committee.


Congratulations to William and I will keep you informed on his progress

Something certainly worth looking forward to is the totally unique double naming ceremony of the Costa ships Luminosa and Deliziosa on June 5. I will be providing you with a live link here on the blog so you can all share in this very special moment as we welcome two brand new sisters………..lets hope they don’t have colic.

Well just before I go to the Carnival Freedom I shall be hosting a big cruise convention thingy here in the UK. Here is an article about it and an award we just won


It should be fun and I shall report on it of course for you all to share……..oh by the way ………..the alleged quote in the article was slightly different to my answer. The question was “John, what is the recapitulating scenario that you find is the determining factor to the interactive success of your blog.”……….Well you saw the answer which was slightly changed by Vance from PR because my answer actually was……….”Well, I talk about my arse and how the French smell.”

I just saw photos of the new ultra small cabins on the Epic thingy. Oh ……. my ……. God ………it’s small………..100 square feet small. There wouldn’t be enough room for even small parts of me to get comfortable. The furniture looked like it had come straight from an IKEA outlet store……… and was as sparsely equipped as an Amish living room.

The big news here is that Heidi and I have decided to sell our barn conversion here in the Essex countryside. We have rented a house close to all our friends and my Mum and Dad and once the barn is sold we will buy a house in the area. So, next week, colic or not we shall be moving. It is just too remote and with me being away it seems stupid to have Heidi and Kye so far from everyone. A lot of people would imagine that living in the countryside is easy now that there are tarmac roads, no crime and no plague …. despite the thread written by the same man who said Carnival takes a percentage of the waiter’s tips….. you can’t be executed for being a witch.

Yes we have nice little souvenir Englishy-type village shops that sell antiques. But just try buying something you might actually need. They can sell you a teapot in the shape of a church and some locally grown organic cabbage.

But a packet of toilet rolls? Some hemmeroid cream? ………..nope……….and so Heidi has to drive 35 minutes before she can get things for my bottom. There are no banks or post offices and because there is no police station for many miles the locals tend to drive back to their farms from a night at the Queens Head pub……….pissed as a fart.

So our time in the country was short lived and it was a romantic one for sure but after Kye’s arrival we realize that its time to move back to civilization…….we will both miss it……..but my arse won’t.

Well, tomorrow is my Mum’s 70th birthday and in a few minutes I have to drive for two hours to collect my sister Suedrip from Heathrow who is flying in from Hong Kong for the special occasion. So, please join me in saying a very happy birthday to my Mum who remains the head of our family and who has survived everything life has thrown at her …. including my Dad’s post-dinner farts and having to change my diapers and wipe my arse. Happy Birthday Mum.

I am off to the airport and hopefully I won’t fall asleep at the wheel. I leave you with a photo taken last night at 2:05 am as Heidi shows yet again why like My Mum was for me……………..she will be the best Mother in the world


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.