Cruises: Never book this on your first cruise holiday | Cruise | Travel | Express.co.uk

Cruises: Never book cabin suite room

Cruises: First time passengers should never book one thing in particular (Image: Getty)

Cruise holidays are on the up as their popularity with both young and old travellers is increasing.

Being able to see a number of countries without various flights is part of the joy of a cruise holiday.

For first time sea-goers, however, it can be a confusing process in knowing what to do or what to take.

Thankfully a number of cruise experts have revealed how to make the most of a trip.

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One of those is what not to do when booking the first trip at sea.

Taking to cruise forum Cruise Critic, a user called Steven warned passengers not to go all out.

He wrote: “Don’t book a suite as your first cruise cabin. You will be forever spoiled and NOT ever want to book anything else!”

He explained how important it is to make sure the room is the right fit.

“For first-time cruisers, it is important that you match your personal preferences to a cruise line that best fits your personality or that best fits what you are looking for this specific vacation,” he advised.

Cruises: Never book cabin suite room

Cruises: Some of the best suites can cost thousands of pounds per night (Image: Royal Caribbean )

One of the most luxurious cruise suites in the world can be found on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, the biggest and most expensive cruise ship in history.

The Ultimate Family Suite is a whopping 1,346 square feet across two levels of the ship.

It features an air hockey table, a slide, a hot tub, a Lego wall, 3D cinema room and a personal butler.

Sleeping up to eight people, it comes at a price with a seven-day cruise in the room costing at least $50,000 (£37,000).

Thankfully most cruise holidays in standard cabins can cost less than £1,000 for a week at sea.

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Cruise secrets: Always close your windows at night

Cruises: Never book cabin suite room

Cruises: Booking a normal cabin room is advised, and much more affordable (Image: Getty)

Passengers should always make sure to close their windows when docking, especially during river cruises.

One traveller relayed his most embarrassing experience when he forgot to do this.

Come morning, while getting up without any clothes on, he was shocked to see his cabin window directly next to the breakfast dining hall.

A clever hack can also ensure some added privacy when on in a cabin onboard.

Using magnets and a shower curtain, a partition can be made to separate parts of the room.

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘boosted’ due to Theresa May’s new ‘secret Brexit deal'

The pound benefited from a boost this weekend as rumours emerged of a Brexit breakthrough.

It is believed Prime Minister Theresa May has secured a Brexit deal to keep the UK in the customs union after it leaves the EU.

Consequently, the pound to euro exchange rate is enjoying a healthy start to the week – but experts warn it may not last.

The rate could be vulnerable if the UK’s services PMI (Purchasing Managers’ Index) shows a decline in output.

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Pound to euro exchange rate: Sterling could ‘hold gains’ this weekend

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The pound is currently trading at €1.141 against the euro, according to Bloomberg.

Laura Parsons, currency analyst at TorFX, spoke to Express.co.uk regarding the latest exchange rate figures.

“Rumours that PM Theresa May has secured a secret Brexit deal that would keep the UK in the customs union after leaving the EU boosted the GBP/EUR exchange rate over the weekend.

“The pound is currently trading at around €1.14, but it could come under pressure later today if the UK’s services PMI shows a decline in output.”

The pound began to climb at the end of last week after British Conservative Party politician Dominic Raab announced the deadline for a Brexit deal to be negotiated was 21 November.

Raab said, in a letter to MPs made public on Wednesday night, the end of the negotiations with the EU is “firmly in sight.”

pound euro exchange rate brexit news deal theresa may

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘boosted’ thanks to Theresa May’s new ‘secret Brexit deal’ (Image: Getty Images)

He wrote: “The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them.”

Parsons said on Friday: “In a swift reversal of fortunes, Sterling rocketed higher on Thursday thanks to the latest Brexit reports.

“A relatively upbeat policy statement from the Bank of England (BoE) also shored up the pound, with the GBP/EUR exchange rate jumping back above €1.140.

“As long as optimism remains high the pound could hold gains heading into the weekend.”

The pound’s improvement was long-awaited after it hit a two-month low early last week.

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pound euro exchange rate brexit news deal theresa may

Pound to euro exchange rate: The pound is currently trading at €1.141 against the euro (Image: Bloomberg)

pound euro exchange rate brexit news deal theresa may

Pound to euro exchange rate: The exchange rate is enjoying a healthy start to the week (Image: Getty Images)

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Experts have warned this new optimistic wave may not last for long if the Brexit negotiation deadline is not met by the government.

Hamish Muress, currency analyst at OFX, said: “We will have to wait to see if this date can be stuck to and if anything leading up to November 21 may cause more market jitters.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May has planned for the UK to leave the EU on March 29 next year.

Looking forward to today, PMI data will be in the spotlight, with the high-impact UK services reading due out in the morning.

Current forecasts are for a slight rise in the pace of sector activity, which could be all that’s needed to boost Sterling.

Lifting the lid on Lithuania | Short & City breaks | Travel | Express.co.uk

lithuania

Kaunas has been selected as European Capital of Culture for 2022 (Image: Angel Villalba/Getty Images)

SINCE gaining independence in 1991, Lithuania is often Sgrouped with sister Baltic states Estonia and Latvia.

Now, however, it’s breaking free and becoming a destination in its own right.

Most visitors stick to Vilnius but venture beyond the capital and what you’ll find is an authentic, inexpensive, compact country which has much to offer.

Here are our top picks.

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CULTURE VULTURE

Capital Vilnius sees Stalinist architecture sitting side-by-side with Imperial Russian buildings and its beating heart – Europe’s largest surviving medieval old town – is all steeples, domes and pillars.

Fancy some music? A ticket to the opera house will set you back just £8, while mass in the 13th-century cathedral is free.

Alternatively why not bypass Vilnius for one of Lithuania’s lesserknown gems. A burgeoning art scene earned second largest city Kaunas the honour of being selected European Capital of Culture for 2022.

Its castle, grandiose town square and riverside walks are major draws.

statue

The Hill Of Crosses in Siauliai which recalls uprisings against Russia in 1831 and 1863 (Image: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image)

GET CRAFTY

Lithuania has a thriving folk art scene with a smörgåsbord of traditional crafts, glassblowing, ceramics and papermaking, taught to locals and tourists in a mission to keep Baltic crafts alive.

Vilnius has the pick of the crop for workshops.

Watch stained-glass sculptures being made at No.6 Stikliu Street (a historic road famed for its glassmakers) or learn how to make ceramic pots at nearby Amatu Gildija.

Are bags more your thing? If so, centrally located is atelier-cum-shop Jurate whose free workshops will find you sitting at a 120-year-old loom, learning to weave in the traditional way.

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ambera

Amber jewellery for sale at street market in Lithuania (Image: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image)

TO THE BEACH

It’s little-known that Lithuania has a stunning Baltic Sea coastline – a 60-mile-long finger of sand called Curonian Spit. Lithuania owns the northern half of this peninsula, Russia the rest and the spit’s giant, drifting sand dunes (the tallest is 200ft) are a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The spit boasts an endless stretch of near-empty Blue Flag, white-sand beaches and its most southern and prettiest resort is Nida, with its signature brown and blue clapboard houses.

It’s a two-mile beach walk from here to the Russian border, or instead stay put to wave-jump and scour the sand for washed-up speckles of amber.

Can’t find any? Don’t worry. Nida’s Amber Museum offers hour-long workshops where you can learn about this stone’s healing properties and make your own amulet. Get lucky and yours might contain a 50 million-yearold insect, like that above.

sun

Sunset over Vilnius (Image: Getty Images/EyeEm)

AND RELAX

Its Swedish and Finnish neighbours have more famous spa scenes but Lithuanians also love to soak and steam while whipping themselves with dried birch twigs.

Nineteenth-century Druskininkai is the country’s oldest spa town.

To swank it up, however, head to hotel Spa Vilnius in the hilly lake region of Anyksciai. Here’s where you’ll find hip, wealthy Lithuanians indulging in a goat’s-milk-with-forestberries bath. Our recommendation is the 60-minute native buckwheat therapy.

A foot bath (in wheat, naturally) is followed by lying on a buckwheat mattress where your upper back, hands and feet are slowly massaged one by one. You’ll leave relaxed and smelling good enough to eat.

soviet

Dramatic posters in the former Russian nuclear missile site, now the Cold War Museum (Image: GETTY IMAGES)

OUTDOOR PURSUITS

Few people know that Lithuania is home to the ultimate cycle route – a bike path which follows the Baltic coast along the Curonian Spit.

Whether you pedal its entire 60-mile length or just a portion, be sure to deviate from the main path at least once, park your wheels and climb what look like verdant mountains but are in fact massive, undulating sand dunes.

If hiking and water sports are preferred pursuits, however, head to Zemaitija National Park, a fairytale landscape of lake and forest. Most activities centre round Lake Plateliai where you can hire boats or take a dip.

water

Trees by lake in Trakai, Lithuania (Image: Getty Images/EyeEm)

FINE DINING

The country’s national dishes of Cepelinai (stuffed potato dumplings) and Saltibarsciai (cold beetroot soup) can be found on menus just about everywhere.

Not tempted? Fear not. Lithuania’s exploding café and restaurant scene is becoming more international. Top tip for lunch is Vista Puode in Kaunas which serves the best goat’s cheese salad we’ve eaten.

For dinner, try the tasting menu at Vilnius’s new kid on the block: Ertlio Namas. It serves gourmet food (and drink) Lithuanian nobility would have eaten a century ago (think quail, sorrel soup with beaver, raspberry mead) and both Lithuania’s President and Norway’s Crown Prince are fans.

girls

A pair of Amber girls in traditional costume (Image: Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image
)

TIME TRAVEL

Lithuania is home to a couple of unique wartime remnants.

One is a Russian nuclear missile base built during the 1960s. Now the Cold War Museum, while the missiles have happily gone, you can still climb into a silo.

The other is the Hill of Crosses outside the town of Siauliai. Probably created after uprisings against their Russian rulers in 1831 and 1863, it became a symbol of Lithuania’s resistance, more especially after the Soviet occupation from 1944 to 1990.

The Soviets kept bulldozing the site (which has thousands of crosses). Locals kept replenishing it.

Thought to have healing properties, Pope John Paul II blessed the hill in 1993 and it now draws pilgrims from across the globe.

GETTING THERE

Regent Holidays (020 7666 1244/ regent-holidays.co.uk) offers nine nights self-drive in Lithuania from £925 (two sharing), B&B. Price includes return Wizz Air flights from Luton to Vilnius, car hire and accommodation. Lithuania tourism: lithuania.travel

WATCH: Shocking moment young girl hand-feeds 14 foot alligator goes viral

Alligators will eat absolutely everything and have powerful jaws – so it’s best not to get to close to them.

However, an incredible viral video from the USA shows a 21-year-old girl getting very near to just such a creature.

The video shows Makenzie Noland, from Nebraska, knee-deep in the same water as an alligator.

She is actively encouraging the reptile to come closer and is feeding it with her bare hands.

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The alligator – which she calls Tex – is 14 foot long and is described by Makenzie as her “best friend.”

She certainly shows no fear as she beckons the huge reptile towards her as a crowd looks on.

Using encouraging words she persuades Tex to rear his head high out of the water and open his mouth so she can drop his food in.

“Good boy!” she says as she wades backwards through the water. She is dressed in just shorts and a vest – and would be helpless if the alligator chose to attack.

Luckily, he seems fairly placid. He is, after all, being fed. Makenzie continues to walk backwards using very obvious beckoning gestures with her hand.

She puts her hand on the tip of his snout and says “Up! Up!” so the reptile once again raises himself up into the air – his teeth on full display.

alligator viral video texas girl

WATCH: Shocking moment young girl hand-feeds 14ft alligator goes viral (Image: Twitter/ @KenzieAlexisss)

Makenzie drops the food into his mouth and the reptile subsides back into the murky water.

She performs the trick two more times as she persuades him to come further out of the lake onto hard ground.

The girl posted the video to Twitter where it has been viewed nearly 85,000 times.

She captioned the clip, “Me calling Tex from his den to do a show at Gator Country!”

Gator Country is the largest Alligator Adventure Park/Sanctuary in Southeast Texas.

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The viral video shows Makenzie Noland, from Nebraska, knee-deep in the same water as an alligator (Image: Twitter/@KenzieAlexisss)

alligator viral video texas girl

Viral video: She certainly shows no fear as she beckons the huge reptile towards her (Image: Twitter/@KenzieAlexisss)

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Twitter users have been impressed by Makenzie’s impressive and very brave display.

“This is crazy! I was nervous just watching,” one person commented on the video.

“This is amazing,” another posted, while another wrote, “Playing with fire. But extremely impressive none the less.”

Male alligators grow to 10 to 15 feet in length on average and can weigh 1,000 pounds. They feed mostly on fish, turtles, snakes, and small mammals, but are opportunists, and, if hungry, will eat pretty much anything. They have eaten humans in rare instances, according to National Geographic.

Another viral video from China captured the moment a live crocodile display went wrong – but not in the way you might think. 

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘strengthens’ as Brexit news looks hopeful

The pound has been kept “buoyed” thanks to hopes that a Brexit deal could be on the horizon, experts have revealed.

Although Brexit headlines have been mixed in recent days, rumours Prime Minister Theresa May, 62, has secured a Brexit deal to keep the UK in the customs union after it leaves the EU has kept optimism high.

Dominic Raab’s comments regarding an impending Brexit deadline gave sterling the boost it needed after it reached a  two-month low early last week.

GBP could help retain the “upper Hand” against the euro today if new data goes well, experts have said.

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The pound is currently trading at €1.145 against the euro, according to Bloomberg.

Laura Parsons, currency analyst at TorFX, spoke to Express.co.uk regarding the latest exchange rate figures.

“The UK’s latest services PMI might have revealed a slowing in output in October, but the data failed to dampen demand for the pound.

“Sterling spent the day broadly strengthening, with GBP/EUR pushing to highs of €1.144.

“Although the latest Brexit headlines have been offering mixed messages, rising hopes that the UK will avoid a no-deal exit from the EU have kept the pound buoyed.

“Today’s British Retail Consortium (BRC) like-for-like sales data is expected to show a sales rebound.

pound euro exchange rate brexit news deal PMI

Pound to euro exchange rate: GBP ‘strengthens’ as Brexit deal hopes rise (Image: Getty Images)

“If that proves to be the case Sterling could retain the upper hand – but Germany’s factory order data will also be of interest.”

The pound began to climb at the end of last week after British Conservative Party politician Dominic Raab announced the deadline for a Brexit deal to be negotiated was 21 November.

Raab said, in a letter to MPs made public on Wednesday night, the end of the negotiations with the EU is “firmly in sight.”

He wrote: “The end is now firmly in sight and, while obstacles remain, it cannot be beyond us to navigate them.

The UK’s latest services PMI was released yesterday. Statistics company Markit revealed growth in the UK services sector fell to a seven-month low in October as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

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pound euro exchange rate brexit news deal PMI

Pound to euro exchange rate: The pound is currently trading at €1.145 against the euro (Image: Bloomberg)

pound euro exchange rate brexit news deal PMI

Pound to euro exchange rate: Hotels, restaurants and leisure providers reported greatest slowdown (Image: Getty Images)

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Hotels, restaurants and leisure providers reporting the greatest slowdown in the services PMI.

Fortunately, despite the weaker services data, the pound’s growth has not been dampened.

Looking ahead at today, euro investors will be focused on Germany as data looks at how the country’s industrial sector and factory orders fared in September.

This should give markets an idea of how the Eurozone’s powerhouse economy third quarter GDP figures will look when they come out next week.

Meanwhile, travellers heading to the airport should be aware of the clever trick some airports use to make passengers spend more money.

With airport food and drink already being rather pricey, it comes as a shock for frequent fliers.

Flights: Ryanair website down from tomorrow – customers should check-in online TODAY

flights Ryanair website down booking online check in holidays

Ryanair customers urged to check-in online TODAY as airline prepare to CLOSE app and website (Image: Getty Images)

Ryanair flights could be thrown into chaos after the Irish airline announced online bookings and check-in will not be possible for 12 hours from 5pm on Wednesday 7 November.

Ryanair is set to upgrade its systems and so will be closing down both its website and app from tomorrow until 5am on Thursday 8 November.

Customers who are affected should have been contacted by email or text, the low-cost airline said in a statement.

Passengers are being urged to check in online today to avoid paying Ryanair’s £55 airport check-in fee.

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Travellers will be unable to make new bookings or make changes to existing flights during the 12-hour closure.

Ryanair has apologised for the inconvenience caused but is refusing to waive the £55 airport fee or its £20 phone booking fee.

Its communications chief, Robin Kiely said in a statement: “As part of our continued digital development, a web closure and system upgrade will take place for 12 hours, from 17:00hrs (UK time) on Wednesday 7th November, until 05:00hrs (UK time) on Thursday 8th November, during which time our online check-in service will not be available.

“Flight bookings and changes will also be unavailable during this period. Customers travelling on Wednesday or Thursday should check-in for their flight on Tuesday 6th November.

“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by this upgrade, which will further improve Ryanair.com.”

Passengers who don’t manage to check in for their flights today, before the web closure, will be hit by the airline’s £55 airport check-in fee.

flights Ryanair website down booking online check in holidays

Ryanair: Ryanair online bookings and check-in will be shut down from 5pm on Wednesday 7 November (Image: Getty Images)

Ryanair is refusing to waive the fee for passengers affected by the systems upgrade.

Consumer website Which? reported that when asked about their refusal to waive the fee, Ryanair said: “That is why we’re giving customers travelling on Wednesday and Thursday sufficient notice to check-in for their flights before the website closure.”

Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, commented: “Hot on the heels of a summer of cancellations and confusing changes in baggage policy – this latest bit of bad news won’t do much for the airline’s bad reputation.

“It’s wholly unfair that Ryanair refuses to waive its airport check-in fee for the period its free check in via the website and app is unavailable.

“Some passengers will almost certainly get unexpectedly stung with this £55 charge at the airport.”

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flights Ryanair website down booking online check in holidays

Ryanair passengers who don’t check in online will be hit by the airline’s £55 airport check-in fee (Image: Getty Images)

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It’s not known in what ways the systems upgrade will improve Ryanair’s online portals, but there have been reports of customers struggling to pay and check-in online in recent days.

Ryanair has already come under fire due to its strict new hand luggage rule changes it implemented at the beginning of the month.

Travellers with the airline will no longer be able to take a hand luggage sized suitcase into the cabin for free. 

Ryanair passengers can only travel with a personal bag that measures no more than 40cm x 20cm x 25cm. Bags such as laptop bags or small backpacks are included in this as long as they fit underneath the seat in front.

Travellers who want to take a hand luggage-sized suitcase have two options when travelling with Ryanair.

They can either purchase Priority Boarding which costs £6 or they can pay £8 for their bag to be put into the hold.

Flights: Airport staff reveal the most ridiculous items brought through security

flights airport security luggage baggage allowance

Flights: Airport staff reveal the most ridiculous items brought through security (Image: Getty Images)

Many fliers fret about the volume of liquids they’re allowed to take through security.

But some airport passengers have much bigger things to worry about when it comes to taking luggage on board a plane.

The most ludicrous objects travellers have tried to take on a plane with them have been revealed.

From weapons to bizarre food items, some passengers have clearly been highly optimistic about security leniency at the airport.

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Flight booking website Kiwi.com has looked into some of the weirdest items security personnel have come across.

Dead animals have proven to be a worryingly regular occurrence, according to the research.

A couple once tried to check in at JFK airport in New York with a cow carcass wrapped in bubble wrap.

The deceased beast was balanced on their luggage trolley.

On another occasion, staff at Cardiff airport stopped a passenger who was making his way through airport security with a 10lb frozen turkey.

He wasn’t carrying the requisite special permission but said to officers when confronted about the bird: “Why the fuss? Will it thaw out at 30,000 feet?”

flights airport security luggage baggage allowance

Flights: Some passengers have clearly been highly optimistic about security leniency at the airport (Image: Getty Images)

Other passengers have attempted to smuggle on live animals – often with ingenious disguises.

A traveller in Beijing attempted to smuggle a pet turtle onto the flight…by hiding it in a hamburger bought at the airport.

Security noticed that the burger didn’t look quite right and quizzed the passenger.

When questioned, the passenger just said: “No, it’s not a turtle. Just a hamburger. There’s nothing to see here.”

Other items have been more sinister, however.

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flights airport security luggage baggage allowance

Flights: Flight booking website Kiwi.com has looked into some of the weirdest items (Image: Getty Images)

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One Transportation Security Administration agent in the US told of a time a passenger thought they might be able to take the chainsaw on board if they emptied out the petrol.

Unsurprisingly, the passenger was denied boarding and the chainsaw was removed from their possession.

Actor Peter Mayhew – who plays Chewbacca in Star Wars – was stopped at Denver airport on his way home from Comic Con as he uses a walking stick shaped like a light sabre.

Security had to determine whether it was a potential weapon – but concluded that it was not.

On another occasion, a traveller tried to check in at Johannesburg with her dream bathtub – which turned out to be well over the baggage allowance.

Ryanair has recently come under fire for their strict new hand luggage rules – and one man has discovered a very clever way to cheat the system. 

Greek chic: Crete’s latest luxury hotel, Abaton Island Resort & Spa | Beach Holidays | Travel | Express.co.uk

Crete Luxury Hotel

Get a taste of the high life and top-quality cuisine at Crete’s latest luxury hotel. (Image: NC)

However, a warm welcome and a cold juice soon appear, and immediately you begin to unwind.

One of the newest luxury hotels to open on Greece’s largest island, five-star Abaton has been drawing in fashionable crowds – including a number of celebrities – since it opened in April and is the perfect place for a romantic getaway.

Situated on the rocky coastline between the touristy streets of Hersonissos and party hot spot Malia, the resort is about as far removed from either of these as possible – quiet, elegant and a total retreat, despite its impressive size.

The rooms are chic and luxe, not dissimilar in style to the atrium: again, lots of white but with tasteful design touches to stop it feeling sterile – such as beachy wooden furniture, ornate carved headboards and woven baskets.

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Nearly half of the 152 rooms have outdoor Jacuzzis or pools and the majority have sea views, but if it’s complete privacy and all-out luxury you’re after, the two-storey beachfront villas at the far end of the resort are real showstoppers and ideal honeymoon hideaways, with huge outdoor areas and their own decent-sized pools.

They’re obviously at the top end of the price list, but you’ll never want to tear yourself away.

There are a handful of cheap and cheerful tavernas nearby but if you’re after top-quality cuisine, you’re better off staying in the hotel.

In addition to the main restaurant (included if you’re staying half-board), there are four other speciality eateries to try in the evening.

Abaton Island Resort & Spa

Take a swim in the pool at Abaton Island Resort & Spa. (Image: Abaton Island Resort & Spa.)

As its name suggests, Bony Fish offers up fresh seafood from the surrounding waters (go for the salt-baked sea bream), while Elemes serves authentic Cretan dishes such as smoked pork, raki and traditional cheeses.

For something a little different, try WOW Steak & Sushi, where the unconventional-sounding combination is a perfect pairing – a freshly rolled selection from the sushi bar makes an ideal starter, while the steaks are cooked to perfection.

I could have made an entire meal of their pork belly bao buns.

Be sure to save room for breakfast, though, as it is, if anything, an even more impressive affair, with perhaps the biggest, most varied buffet selection I have ever seen.

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The hotel quietens down in the evening, but we were more than content to sit in a rocking chair on the deck looking out at others partying further along the coastline, simply enjoying a cocktail and the chilled-out tunes from the house DJ.

A visit to Abaton’s Elemis spa is another luxurious must.

To remind myself that I would, unfortunately, have to return home at some point, I opted for a Garden of England Rose Restore massage, which used soothing, skin-nourishing oils and expert muscle kneading to leave me feeling completely relaxed.

In the spa there’s also a spacious steam room, a relaxation room and an indoor pool, a pleasant respite for those wanting to escape the Greek sun for a moment.

Abaton Island Resort & Spa

A visit to Abaton’s Elemis spa is a luxurious must. (Image: NC)

This probably isn’t the place for those planning to explore every corner of Crete, as you’d be mad not to savour every moment spent at this stunning hotel.

But for an indulgent mini-break in a stylish setting, Abaton is up there on the A-list.

A Thalassa Deluxe Seafront Guestroom at Abaton Island Resort & Spa starts at £220.83 per night, including breakfast.

Visit abaton.gr.

Rooms at Premier Inn Gatwick Airport North Terminal (premierinn.com) start at £82.

Cruises: Do this on the first day of your holiday when taking photographs | Cruise | Travel | Express.co.uk

Cruise holidays are the best way to see a number of countries in one trip.

Many choose to take to the seas to make the most of the onboard amenities offered, from five course meals to theatre shows.

However, with the popular ships comes a lot of crowds with thousands of people onboard at one time.

There is one thing passengers should always do on their first day, according to experts.

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Holidaymakers wanting to get the best photographs should do it on the first day.

Cruise experts at Cruise Critic advised making the most of the freshly cleaned ship.

“DO take photos – lots of them,” they advised on the forum.

“Get that first ‘Hooray, I’m on vacation’ shot of your family by the ship’s rail; snap a pic of your cabin in pristine condition before it’s wrecked with daily schedules, towel animals and your assorted laundry.

“Capture interesting spots onboard before they’re overrun with passengers; and do feel free to post them online to make your friends drool.”

Cruises: Take photographs on the first day

Cruises: Passengers should always do one thing on the first day of their holiday (Image: Getty)

Cruises: Take photographs on the first day

Cruises: Take photographs on the first day when the ship is cleaner (Image: Getty)

Some cruise ships have professional photographers onboard to snap the happy moments together.

However these can also come at a cost so it can often be better to take personal photographs.

For first-time cruisers, there is also something else they should avoid falling into the trap of.

Passengers taking to the sea for the first time should never book a suite.

Fellow travellers on Cruise Critic advised against it, as starting with luxury makes it harder to go back to standard cabins for following trips.

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Cruises: Take photographs on the first day

Cruises: Ships are better maintained at the start of a holiday (Image: Getty)

While taking photographs on the first day is advised, there is something that should always be done on the last day.

Souvenir shopping should be saved until near the end of the trip.

This is because many of the shops may offer good reductions for passengers to shift stock before the next trip.

It is also worth comparing prices on the ship to prices inland.

Sometimes, it can be cheaper to buy them after docking rather than onboard.

Pound to euro exchange rate: Brexit news sparks GBP ‘sharp appreciation’ – sterling soars

The pound is being buoyed by Brexit optimism as hopes swell that a deal is on the horizon.

Analysts believe a Brexit deal would spark a substantial rally in the pound.

James Athey, Money Manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments said: “A deal would mean the next two years would be under EU-equivalent conditions. It has the potential to trigger the sharpest appreciation in a long time.”

Brexit news has helped sterling “retain the upper hand” against the dollar and the euro, said Laura Parsons, currency analyst at TorFX.

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The pound is currently trading at €1.148 against the euro, according to Bloomberg.

“The GBP/EUR exchange rate briefly nosed above €1.150 as the week drew to a close despite some disappointing UK housing data,” said Parsons.

“If today’s growth data impresses the pound could end the week on a high, but a sub-par result might see Sterling retrace its recent steps.”

The increase in value against the euro came earlier this week as Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, 44, responded with a “thumbs up” when quizzed about the outcome of a crucial Brexit cabinet meeting at Downing Street.

Raab and other cabinet Brexit supporters are believed to be supporting the plan to quit any proposed Irish backstop with a few months notice.

Germany’s latest trade balance was published yesterday by German statistics agency Destatis.

The data showed German exports took a sizeable hit at the end of the third quarter, contracting 0.8 per cent and missing expectations of a 0.3 per cent rise, as global trade tensions appeared to diminish demand.

pound euro Exchange rate brexit news deal germany holidays

Pound to euro exchange rate: Brexit news triggers GBP ‘sharp appreciation’ – sterling soars (Image: Getty Images)

Carsten Brzeski, Chief Economist ING Germany explained: “The trade data ends a disappointing week for German industry. Available monthly data suggests that the economy had its worst quarterly performance in 3Q since the beginning of 2015.”

Looking ahead to today, GBP/EUR exchange rates could test the waters of €1.15, following the publication of the UK’s latest GDP figures.

Economists forecast Friday’s data will show a marked rise in UK economic growth in the third quarter, with GDP expected to rise from 0.4 per cent to 0.6 per cent as the warmer weather over the summer helped to spur consumers to spend more.

Meanwhile, a lull in Eurozone data may leave the euro vulnerable to further losses, especially if markets remain bearish towards the single currency.

Holidaymakers heading abroad should make sure they’re getting the best value for their money. 

Rather than turning up at the post office the week of your trip or at the currency exchange bureau at the airport, the best travel advice is that travellers should consider monitoring the financial situation throughout the year.

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Pound to euro exchange rate: The pound is currently trading at €1.148 against the euro (Image: Bloomberg)

pound euro Exchange rate brexit news deal germany holidays

Pound to euro exchange rate: Holidaymakers should make sure they’re getting the best value for money (Image: Getty Images)

How to get the best exchange rate
Sun, July 15, 2018
Exchange rate: How to get the best deal on your holiday money.

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How to get the best exchange rate

Research from Forex Educator, Learn to Trade in partnership with YouGov calls for Brits to keep a closer eye on the potential impact of current affairs on the forex and currency markets in order to get the best deal on their holiday money.

“The currency market is incredibly volatile,” said James Mathews, CEO of Learn to Trade.

“Values can rise and fall with little warning. By not watching how currency rates are fluctuating on a regular basis you could be missing a trick.

“Those tiny percentage point differences may not mean a lot to you on a first glance, but a single point change could mean the difference of £50!”

A huge 55 per cent of Britons buy their travel money between a day in advance and once they’ve arrived abroad while just nine per cent buy foreign currency throughout the year watching the market for a ‘good’ exchange rate.

Flights: Flybe plane plunges 500ft in 18 seconds after pilot chose WRONG autopilot setting

flights news flybe incidents plane crash autopilot

Flights: Flybe plane plummets 500ft in 18 seconds after pilot chose WRONG autopilot setting (Image: Getty Images)

A Flybe flight plunged a terrifying 500 feet in just 18 seconds and only narrowly avoided smashing into the ground.

The pilot, 60, selected the wrong autopilot setting after the plane took off resulting in the aircraft plummeting from the sky.

The Bombardier Dash-8 Q400 turboprop plane  “descended rapidly,” an inquiry into the 11 January incident said.

It had 44 passengers and four crew on board as it flew from Belfast City, Northern Ireland to Glasgow, Scotland 

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The pilot engaged autopilot on the plane when it reached an altitude of 1,350 feet. it ascended for a further 150 feet before suddenly plunging towards the ground from 1,500 feet.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) report said the aircraft dropped so fast it reached a maximum rate of descent of 4,300ft/min and “became visual with the ground,” an

The speed of descent suggests the plane may have hit the ground just a few seconds later if crew hadn’t intervened.

The error occurred after the pilot had set to autopilot to a target altitude of zero feet.

He was alerted by cockpit warnings and disconnected the autopilot at 928 feet.

The flight continued without further incident to Glasgow as planned.

flights news flybe incidents plane crash autopilot

Flights: The Flybe plane “descended rapidly” after the pilot selected the wrong autopilot setting (Image: Getty Images)

An AAIB report stated Flybe has taken “several safety actions” since the incident, including revisions to simulator training and amendments to the taxi checklist.

Flybe told Express.co.uk: “Flybe maintains a rigorous approach to ensuring the very highest flying standards are maintained.

“Flybe implemented remedial actions quickly in response to the incident and our training and procedures have been amended to minimise the risk of a reoccurrence.”

Passengers in such a situation should always adopt the brace position.

One pilot told Express.co.uk it’s fully recommended passengers do the brace position to maximise survival should the worst happen.

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Flights: The pilot fixed the mistake at 928 feet after he was alerted by cockpit warnings (Image: Getty Images)

The pilot, who wished to remain anonymous said: “It’s the best position to preserve life.”

The effects of the brace position were proved in a ‘real life’ scenario in a 2012 Channel 4 documentary, The Plane Crash. 

A Boeing 727 carrying cameras, sensors and crash test dummies flew at 140 mph, descending at 1,500 feet per minute, and crashed land nose down in a remote and uninhabited area of Mexican desert.

The incredible footage saw the front of the plane completely ripped off while the middle and back remained intact.

However, of the three dummies, the one wearing a seatbelt and in the brace position, was the one identified by the experts to have “survived” the crash.

Furthermore, when U.S. Airways Flight 1549 crashed into the Hudson River 2009 the pilot and flight attendants instructed all passengers to adopt the brace position.

The absence of fatalities on board is attributed to all passengers doing the position. None of the 155 people on board suffered life-threatening injuries.

Hand luggage rules: Any items banned from cabin baggage by airport security

Hand luggage: Banned item rules

Hand luggage: Items which could be banned from cabin baggage (Image: Getty)

Hand luggage travellers are becoming more common as budget airlines charge for any checked baggage size.

Most recently, Ryanair became the latest airline to cut down on free bags, with a small hand sized bag now the only free item allowed in the cabin.

Instead, passengers will often have to pay to check a bag into the hold, meaning a holiday can quickly become more expensive.

When packing a hand luggage bag, passengers should be aware of an unknown rule that is issued by the government.

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According to the Gov.uk website, airport security is allowed to ban any items coming through security.

Even if the item is not portrayed to be a danger by government rules, they have the authority to prevent anything they deem unsafe.

The website warns: “Airport security staff will not let anything through that they consider dangerous – even if it’s normally allowed in hand luggage.”

Currently, passengers must not bring any sharp objects onboard that break certain size limits.

Scissors and blunt knives under 6cm longer are allowed into the cabin, along with fixed razor blades and knitting needles.

Hand luggage: Banned item rules

Hand luggage: Airport security have the authority to ban any items (Image: Getty)

Items such as Stanley knives, work tools and sharp blades over 6cm are banned.

Liquid restrictions remain in place with anything over 100ml banned from the cabin, even if the container is only half full.

This excludes medicine that has been prescribed with the correct documents and baby food, as long as the child is present.

Airport security has revealed some of the most bizarre items passengers have attempted to bring through in their bags.

A cow carcass, a frozen turkey and a pet turtle are just some of the weirdest things to be smuggled through.

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Hand luggage: Banned item rules

Hand luggage: Sharp objects and liquids over 100ml are currently banned (Image: Getty)

There are ways to beat the hand luggage restrictions, however.

One man used an ingenious coat trick to get around the new Ryanair hand luggage rules.

Airlines such as easyJet, Jet2 and Flybe still allow passengers to take a free suitcase into the cabin.

Many have strict weight rules however with some allowing less than 7kg.

Heavy packers can rejoice with easyJet who are the only airline to not have a weight limit for cabin baggage.

Christmas flights: How to get cheap tickets during festive season

Christmas flights: How to get cheap tickets

Christmas flights: How to get the best bargain when travelling this season (Image: Getty)

Flying at Christmas can be expensive, with the priciest day often the last Friday before, this year falling on December 21.

While some people are choosing to fly abroad for a much-needed holiday, others are travelling back home to spend time with their families.

There are a few easy ways, however, to make festive flights a bit cheaper.

Loes Daniels, CEO and founder of Flightgiftcard, spoke to Express.co.uk on how to get a bargain.

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Email alerts

It can be worth tracking a particular flight to see when it is cheapest to buy.

Loes advised: “If you know where you are travelling to and from, set up an alert to receive notifications when your flights have dropped in price as you could get a bargain.”

This can sometimes fluctuate between booking on a Tuesday or a Saturday.

Midweek searches

Booking during this time of the week can also mean avoiding sky-high prices.

“Search for flights during the week,” Loes said, “rather than at the weekend as bookings made on a Saturday tend to be the most expensive.”

It also makes sense to fly in the middle of the week as well.

“Likewise, flying on a Monday or Tuesday is much cheaper than taking flights at the weekend so be sure to choose your travel dates carefully,” she said.

Christmas flights: How to get cheap tickets

Christmas flights: Choosing a different airport and airline can make a huge difference (Image: Getty)Try a smaller airport

It can make a difference if choosing a different location to fly from.

“Consider travelling to or from a smaller, local airport as this can be a lot cheaper than a larger airport hub,” Loes said.

“In the UK, research flight options out of Doncaster’s Robin Hood airport or East Midlands airport in Nottingham, rather than Manchester for example, and you might find the cost is significantly less.”

Smaller airports are also less stressful, often carrying less passengers and therefore smaller crowds.

Straying from a preferred airline is one of the best ways to get a bargain, due to different countries celebrating different seasons.

Loes advised: “It’s worth checking out Asian airlines as these countries don’t generally celebrate Christmas and are therefore unaffected by price hikes.”

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Christmas flights cheap tickets

Christmas flights: Travelling at more antisocial hours can be cheaper (Image: Getty)Choose inconvenient flights

For passengers not constrained by time, flying at difficult hours and difficult times around Christmas can mean huge savings.

“The more inconvenient the flight, the cheaper it will be. You may not like getting up at 4am for an 8am flight, but you’ll save money in the long run,” Loes advised.

She also said: “Consider flights in the days leading up to and just after Christmas day.”

Otherwise alternative booking options such as package providers at the last minute or making the most of the January sales are the best choices for bargain hunters.

For Britons heading to Europe, some of the best Christmas Markets can be found just a couple of hours away.