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Rediscovering Travel in Colourful Crete

As we arrived at Gatwick Airport to depart for our holiday, the airport was very quiet which was very sad to see and at passport control, we didn’t even queue. Our plane was over half full on the outward flight and the return flight was similar. There weren’t any brochures on the aircraft, only security card. At duty-free, if you wanted to buy anything you were given a printed sheet with everything listed on it rather than a brochure.

My family and I stayed at the Atlantica Akti Zeus Hotel in Amoudara, Crete. Ten days before travel we ordered our Chronomics test kits through TUI. The test kit required was amber at the time, which included an Antigen Flo test 2-3 days before departing back to Gatwick, and also a test to be taken on day two and day eight, once we had returned back to the UK. The test kit was £50 each. The grandchildren were not required to take these tests.

If you are double vaccinated you are not required to do a PCR test before departure, and any child five years and under is not required to take a PCR test on arrival in Greece. Once we had arrived, a family member on each flight locator form had to have an Antigen Flo test, with which the result only takes 15 minutes. Once you get the result through on your mobile, you can leave the airport.

When booking a holiday, TUI offers test kits that are brilliantly priced, and again couldn’t fault the Chronomics service when completing these tests. It is advisable to book any test kits needed before departure, as the references from these are needed for your return flight.

On arrival at the Atlantica Akti Zeus Hotel, our temperature was taken at the reception. As you can see from the videos I captured in the restaurant, your temperature is taken whenever you enter, hand gel is used at all times and disposable gloves are available in the restaurant so you can help yourself to the buffet. This was all very well organised. Also, masks were worn at all times when viewing the buffet, which can then be removed when sitting at the table. The food was AMAZING and there was loads of choice! Masks were required when getting drinks from any bar around the pool, on-site or in the reception, but whilst sitting around the pool or beach no masks were needed. On some excursions, an Antigen Flo test is required before the trip, which TUI had organised.

There was a waterpark on-site with a splash park, and we didn’t have to queue for any of the rides, and we could get a sunbed very easily. We loved the rides and so did the Grandchildren. The beach also had plenty of sunbeds and plenty of space for everyone. The children’s disco and entertainment were really good. No masks had to be worn as this was outside.

Our rooms were cleaned every second day due to the increased safety and hygiene procedures implemented from the pandemic. Water was supplied in the fridge in your room on arrival but no other drinks were being stocked due to Covid. You could bring any drinks back to the room including bottles of water if you wanted to. There was plenty of choice behind the bar, including soft drinks, hot drinks, alcoholic drinks and cocktails. The menu for cocktails could be accessed on your phone with a QR code at the bar.

Once our holiday had come to an end, we headed back to the airport for our flight home. On arrival back to Gatwick, it was completely dead again. No one waiting at passport control, I had never seen the airport so lifeless. After going through passport control we found our cases all ready for collection (I’d never picked my case up so quickly!). I’m used to waiting forever for my case. I really hope that travel picks up soon, it’s so sad to see the airport this way.

If you needed to take an Antigen Flo test and hadn’t bought one with you for the flight home, 2-3 days before departure you could take a 15-minute walk out of the Amoudara village to a pharmacy, who could complete the test for you for €20.

As per the restrictions and rules at the time we were travelling, the people at track and trace phoned every adult to check we were isolating and they also visited us. They asked to see our driving licences and passports.

I hope you find this blog helpful if you are thinking of taking a holiday to the beautiful island of Crete. We had the most wonderful holiday and we couldn’t fault the hotel at all. We wish we had stayed longer!

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me

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