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Old 18 Aug 21, 05:20 PM  
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smithlane
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Cocktails in Crete - August 2021

Hello and welcome to my latest trippy

For the second year running, Covid has put paid to our US holiday plans BUT as we are not ones to be defeated on the holiday front and are desperate for some guaranteed sunshine, we booked a last minute holiday to Crete with TUI.
This will be a very different type of holiday to what we are used to but hopefully will still be full of fun and laughter and I won’t bore you silly!
I’m hoping to do a mini report that I’ll update every day similar to Goldia’s fabulous recent trippy from their holiday in Jamaica.

So first things first, who are we?
I’m Alicia, still a mobile Beauty Therapist and longing for the US borders to open so I can get my shopping fix! I am however really looking forward to having a week of doing not a lot apart from deciding which cocktail I’ll be drinking next!



Next we have Jim, my wonderful partner and step dad to my 2 children. Still golf obsessed however isn’t currently playing due to golfers elbow, I’m still getting used to him hanging around at the weekends again…! Let’s hope for a swift recovery



My daughter Hope, 18. Has just received amazing A Level and BTEC results and will be starting Winchester Uni next month. Unbelievably proud of how well she has coped with the last 18 months.

Last but not least we have my son Sam, 16.
Like his sister has just received his exam results and did brilliantly in his GCSE’s. He’ll be going back to his school sixth form to do his A Levels.



We are also going with our friends Jo and Paul and their daughter Katie who is 12. Their older two girls unfortunately can’t make it due to one starting a new apprenticeship and the other working. They will be greatly missed as they are fab kids.
Jo and Paul were meant to be going to Turkey but this obviously got cancelled when they stayed on the naughty Red list so with our US Southern State road trip also being cancelled we decided to find somewhere to go away together.

We wanted to book through a travel agent so we had extra peace of mind and TUI offered us exactly what we needed at some really reasonable prices, especially when you have to take testing costs into account.
Whilst reading Abby’s (Goldia) trip report we were seriously tempted with Jamaica but with only a few flights a week we just couldn’t make the dates work for when we needed to be back.
As Turkey was staying Red and Mexico going Red our only other option for what we wanted was Greece. That then began the huge search to find the perfect hotel, this was a lot harder than I thought it’d be!
We originally chose the Sensatori Atlantica Caldera Palace but after reading recent reviews on Trip Advisor we plumped for the Nana Golden Beach hotel in Hersonissos.
This is an All Inclusive hotel right on the beach that has an adult only section for if any little children get on my nerves too much











We are seriously hoping this hotel is a vast improvement over our hotel from Turkey last year. It was AWFUL with 99% of the clientele being obnoxious Russians and the food….., well I’ll just show you what breakfast and dinner looked like.





It’s the first holiday I’ve come home the same weight as when we arrived

For 2 hotel rooms, one for us and one for the kids, flights and transfers it came to £4098. Not bad for effectively 4 adults with unlimited food and drink!
We also pre ordered the return testing through TUI who have partnered up with Chromatics to offer these at reduced cost. For the LFT to take in our suitcases to do 72 hours before flying back to the U.K. and the Day 2 PCR once we’re home were £20 per person which is a heck of a lot cheaper than ordering them privately.

So we are flying tomorrow the 19th but are staying at Gatwick tonight in the Premier Inn North Terminal as we have a very early flight in the morning.
As all the adults in the party are double jabbed we only needed to get Sam and Katie an LFT 48 hours before arrival so Jo and I took them down to Heathrow T4 Express Test drive through yesterday. This was all very swift and easy and 30 minutes later we had our negative Fit to Fly certificates, phew!

Boris our Labrador was taken down to my parents for his holidays on Sunday. He loves them more than us (my Mum feeds him treats all day ) so he was as happy as Larry!
Here he is with his big cousin Chewy. Isn't he just like Chewbacca?



We are all packed, I have just finished mine and Hope’s nails and cleaned the house for the hundredth time so we are all ready to leave at about 5.30pm. We’re only 40 minutes from Gatwick but we want to check in to the Premier Inn, dump the suitcases and go and get some dinner before the cocktail count starts and the holiday can begin
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Old 19 Aug 21, 09:50 AM  
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CrispyA
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Hope you have a wonderful time.,
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Old 19 Aug 21, 10:28 AM  
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anji
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Have a wonderful time and looking forward to reading along
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Old 19 Aug 21, 03:17 PM  
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smithlane
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Wednesday 18th August 2021

We had pre booked the meet and greet parking through Holiday Extras and had to go straight to the Sofitel hotel car park where the Maple Manor representative would meet us. This was all very straight forward and we arrived by 6.30, the M25 was thankfully not too congested.

With the car all sorted we walked next door to the Premier Inn to check in. This was again very simple using the self service kiosk, we soon had our room key. The family room for one night came to £53 so a bit of a bargain, I also paid an extra £5 for their speedy WiFi.

After dumping our bags in the room we headed over to the terminal to find something to eat. On Gatwick’s website it said there was a restaurant/pub called the Thomas Bulpepper open landside but when we arrived it was all shut up, the only option open was a Jamie’s coffee shop.
We decided to walk back to the PI and have dinner there. Unfortunately as they are still restricting numbers in their restaurant so the only time they could seat us was 7.15pm which was an hour away. We took a seat in the bar and ordered some drinks, I went and got some crisps from Costa to tide us over.

The hour was soon up so got seated in the restaurant straight away. We all knew what we wanted, Cheeseburgers for Jim and Hope and the BBQ bacon chicken melt for Sam and I.







Not overly generous portions but mine was the perfect amount with no room for dessert.





The bill came to £75 with tip on top.

Whilst we were eating, Jo and Paul arrived and were waiting in the bar for us, they’d already eaten at home.
I had my first of hopefully many Rhubarb gin and lemonades of the holiday. Apologies no photos!
We sat around laughing and chatting until nearly midnight which doesn’t bode well for the 4am alarm call 🥴

Edited at 02:06 PM.
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Old 19 Aug 21, 03:18 PM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by CrispyA View Post
Hope you have a wonderful time.,
Originally Posted by anji View Post
Have a wonderful time and looking forward to reading along
Thank you both! We have arrived safely and enjoying the last few hours of sunshine by the pool 😎
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Old 19 Aug 21, 03:20 PM  
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Sparksy72
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Have the best time Alicia, the resort looks beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing all your cocktails! 🍹🥂🍸Xx
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Old 19 Aug 21, 10:14 PM  
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OB1LukeLucas
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Hope you have a fabulous time🍹
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Old 20 Aug 21, 09:11 AM  
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smithlane
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Thursday 19th August 2021

I was instantly regretting the final double gin I had last night when the alarm woke me up at 4am!
As tempting as it was to snooze it I got up and was first in the shower. We had arranged to meet the others at 5am downstairs. Miraculously we were all ready by ten to so headed down and dropped the key card off. It was still dark outside! A holiday is the only time you’ll ever find me awake before 6!

Over to the terminal and the TUI desks are located upstairs. A short wait in the queue and as we had already checked in online, we just needed to show our passports, proof of vaccination, Sam’s negative LFT and our Greek Passenger Locator Forms. I had printed everything off as it’s much easier to hand it all to the agent.
This only took 5-10 minutes and we were all done. I was honestly dreading this part but honestly I needn’t have as it was all very straight forward!

Straight to security and again this wasn’t busy and we were all through in minutes. Poor Jo got pulled aside for a pat down though!
I had pre ordered some Duty Free so quickly went and picked that up. I bought some Jo Malone perfume in English Pear and Freesia and some Dermalogica moisturiser. £128 later I was done.

We headed to the Wetherspoons for breakfast. I couldn’t face eating anything hot at this time in the morning so popped upstairs to Pret to get myself and Hope, the breakfast dodging teenager a couple of croissants.





Jim and Sam got the full English breakfasts, how they can eat all that at this time in the morning is beyond me!





Once done we headed to the gate via Accesorize so I could buy some new earrings. I managed to resist buying any new Havainas, I think this is the first year I haven’t bought any from the airport! I also popped into WHSmith for a bar of chocolate for us all.
We were Gate 48 which is the furthest bloody one away! After walking what felt like to Crawley we made it with time to spare.



TUI board by 10 rows at a time so as we were row 30 near the back we were the first ones called.
We had THAT family in front of us who I’m not sure had ever been on a plane before and took an age faffing and sorting out their bags whilst we just had to stand in the aisle and wait, a huge queue soon congregated behind us.
I then had the joy of sitting next to the Dad of said family who proceeded to encroach into my seat by spreading his arms over both armrests 😡. Morning Alicia was not happy!
The captain announced we had a later landing slot so were delayed by about 30 minutes. We finally took off at around 7.50.
Annoyingly my Netflix app kept kicking me out so I couldn’t watch the latest episodes of Grace and Frankie I had downloaded. As an aside, if you haven’t watched this I urge you to give it a go, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda at their best!
My book also hadn’t finished downloading so I just read my magazines and wrote some notes. I tried to doze but I really struggle with sleeping on a plane, not like these two who had fallen asleep before the engine was turned on!



The guy next to me was getting up to level 10 annoying. He was single handedly drinking a bottle of champagne and the more he drank the more irritating he was becoming. I was trying my hardest to keep my zen holiday mood but the final straw was when we started the descent he began to unzip his cargo trousers to make them into shorts and kept bumping his pale veiny legs into me. He was completely sozzled by now and had no idea of personal space which before a pandemic is bad enough but I’m afraid I lost my s*** with him! 😡
The others obviously found this absolutely hysterical 🙄

Thankfully the cabin crew opened the front and rear doors to disembark so we were swiftly off and into a waiting bus. 5 minutes later we were in the terminal and 10 minutes after that were through passport control. Easy Peasy! Just before getting our luggage there was a guy checking the PLF’s but were soon waiting for our suitcases.

This started almost immediately but after only 10 or so cases being delivered, the conveyor belt ground to a halt! Must have been a technical problem, a couple of operators came to fix it but it took them ages. We were chuckling as there is obviously no ‘elf and safety in Crete when a woman dove head first into the tunnel. You periodically saw her bum and feet appear out of the rubber flaps 😂



About 15 minutes later it started up to a round of applause from everyone. We soon retrieved all of our luggage and made our way outside into the blistering heat to find our coach.
This was all very straight forward as we had a text from TUI telling us we were on coach 22. The air con on board was bliss and I can happily say my new ‘friends’ from the plane were not on our coach therefore not staying at our hotel.

The journey only took 30 minutes and we were soon pulling into the Nana Golden Beach hotel. We went to check in which took a bit of time as annoyingly they couldn’t find my documents from when I had entered all of our details from online check in so I had to do them all again. The lobby area is lovely, look at the sea view out of the back door!







Both ours and the kids’ rooms were next door to each other which was handy. Jo and Paul had a 2 bedroom suite in a slightly different part to where we were but to be honest the hotel isn’t huge so it wasn’t a problem at all.
Once we had our room keys we were taken to a golf buggy to drive us around to our rooms. The views are stunning.









Wow, the room was perfect, with a small terrace seating outside. Serious bathroom goals 😍










Edited at 02:06 PM.
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Old 20 Aug 21, 09:13 AM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by Sparksy72 View Post
Have the best time Alicia, the resort looks beautiful and I am looking forward to seeing all your cocktails! 🍹🥂🍸Xx
Originally Posted by OB1LukeLucas View Post
Hope you have a fabulous time🍹
Thank you! The hotel is stunning, I’m totally chilled already 🍹 ☀️
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Old 20 Aug 21, 09:30 AM  
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Goldia
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Hurrah you're there! You can put the annoying guy on the plane behind you. The room looks great and I agree the bathroom is stunning. Fingers crossed the food is better than Turkey last year.

I hope you have an amazing time relaxing and drinking cocktails. Sounds perfect to me
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Disneyland 1993.
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Orlando 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 (cancelled), 2021 (cancelled).


Pizza, Pasta and Prosecco - Rome October 2021 new trip report

All my old trip reports click here NYC and Orlando 2017, Salzburg 2017, Boston 2017, Orlando 2018, Berlin 2018, DLP 2019, Orlando 2019, Washington DC 2019, DLP 2020, Jamaica 2021, Rome 2021.
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