Aha me hearties!!! Today I be bringing you some pieces of eight in bookish form. So, am I trying to channel Blackbeard himself? Er… no! Today, in a change from my usual features, I’d like to draw your attention to my friend and fellow author Melanie Jackson and her book ‘Cruise Control 2018’. It is packed full of top tips for sailing the seven seas. Unlike pirates of old, there will be no walking the plank and no swashbuckling, but rest assured, there be plenty of treasure!

NF: A very warm welcome Mel, thanks for joining me today. Being a fan of cruise holidays I was very pleased to find your book ‘Cruise Control 2018’, in fact, I took the previous version on holiday last year. It really is packed full of valuable advice. What was the inspiration behind it?

MJ: When we decided to go on our first cruise holiday, I searched for a book that would help me to understand the in’s and out of cruising. At the time, I found lots of choice with regard to where to go, what type of cruise to pick etc. yet very little in the way of helpful tips. I’m very much a ‘If you want something done do it yourself’ person, so writing ‘Cruise Control’ was a natural progression.

NF: I hear you, I too am that type of person. I have read and used your book. There really are some great tips in it. How do you decide which ones should feature in the book?

MJ: Thanks, Nicole, I’m chuffed you found it useful. My rule of thumb is simple. Cruising is expensive, everywhere you look on a ship it costs you money. If I discover something that has the potential to save money, it goes in the book. If you’ve never been on a cruise before you’d never know about these gems. What I’ve tried to do, is offer small tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way, that save you a few pounds. I haven’t written reams and reams, it’s a small book that packs a good helpful punch.

NF: Well it worked for me! I really found it insightful and funny, you made me laugh quite a lot throughout. Are there any tips you’ve discovered recently that aren’t in the book that you’d care to share with us?

MJ: Absolutely, that’s the joy of cruising, there is always something new around the corner. I try to update the book at least once a year. Emm… OK, a new tip you say? Well, recently I discovered the most amazing curry on our cruise ship. It wasn’t on the dinner menu, but most of the crew were from India and the chef (who was also Indian) would cook authentic food for them. I discovered that there is ‘staff’ food’ and ‘guest food’. We got friendly with our waiter and asked if we could have the curry the staff had that evening. It was amazing. What the crew eats, is usually determined by the nationality of the chef, we lucked out. I have been on many cruises and never knew that before.

NF: Brilliant tip, thanks Mel, I never knew that either! Good luck with ‘Cruise Control 2018’ and here’s wishing you many more wonderful cruises!

MJ: Many thanks for having me Nicole, and thank you for the kind words. Happy cruising!

Mel’s book ‘Cruise Control 2018’ is available here as both an ebook and a paperback: