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7 islands, 2 states, 1 seven day cruise, and 4 flights for $1,100.

This spring I managed to treat myself to one of the best vacations I've ever taken. I went to 7 islands, and to the wonderfully busy state of New York, within a 13 day time span, all courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines. As I searched for the perfect beginning of summer vacation, I went to my trusted cruise liner Carnival and found an amazing escape. A 7 day, all inclusive cruise to St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten by way of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Yes, 7 beautiful islands in the Caribbean each unique in their own special way. The cruise cost me $568!! Cheap, right? But that's not the best part. My round trip airfare to Puerto Rico from LAX was originally $685. However, through diligent search efforts, and patience, I was able to find 2 one way trips back and forth for $520. That's a $165 savings that I was able to use at my convenience. So, I decided to treat myself to a first class seat on my American Airlines flight to Puerto Rico. Don't ask me how I upgraded to first class at that price, I guess it was just timing. Either way, I took it!! I thoroughly enjoyed my flight. The leg room, the private seat, the hospitality of the air crew, the food- everything was amazing.

Once I arrived in Puerto Rico, the weather was beautiful! Not a cloud in sight. The sun was shining, and I arrived early enough to have time to walk around Old San Juan and buy some nice souvenirs. I stopped at my favorite ice creamery Cold Stones and enjoyed some ice cream before boarding my ship. Once in my cabin, I quickly changed out of my airport clothes, into something more appropriate for the Puerto Rican weather. I had a few hours before the ship actually set sail, and I used it to get myself familiar with the ship. I sailed on the Carnival Fascination, which is an older Carnival ship- but it didn't lack any of the superbness I've come to expect while cruising with Carnival. Before the night ended, I decided to go to bed early to have enough energy for the days ahead- and boy did I need it!

Our first stop was in St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands, and the island was spectacular. The waters were crystal clear and the sun was pleasant. I took part in Kayaking, parasailing, and hiking on the waters edge of the island. It was an absolutely remarkable experience. Our next stop was Barbados- where I boarded a pirate ship called the Jolly Roger, and was thrown overboard for being a "bad wench". (Their pirate slang, not mine.) I had a great time and enjoyed every minute of it. I went snorkeling, ate some of the local food, and drank a ton of rum punch! It was a great way to spend the time on the island. On the third day- we had what they call "sail day". The fourth day however, we went to St Lucia where I had the best time of the entire vacation. I rode on a segway for the first time ever! It started off a bit rocky, but ended up to be a beautiful experience. The island was beautiful, and I met some amazing locals who took great care of me on my excursions. The memories are priceless. The fifth day was St. Kitts island, in the West Indies, were I rode a 4 wheeler through the jungle., surrounded by monkeys. I had an amazing time. On the sixth day of the cruise, we went to St. Maarten, where I was able to board another boat to the island of Anguilla, in the British West Indies. There, I swam with a dolphin and walked along the beach. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I'll never forget!

After the cruise was over, I stayed a day in Puerto Rico, before boarding a flight to the Big Apple a.k.a. the city that never sleeps! I truly underestimated the ability of a city to stay open 24 hours, but New York is certainly that city! No doubt about it. I stayed overnight and my hotel was right in the center of Times Square. I was able to walk the city, and even caught a subway to the Brooklyn Bridge. From there, I boarded yet another boat to tour the Statue of Liberty, and what a sight it was to see! Although tired from nearly 2 weeks of traveling, I managed to stay out pretty late for fear of missing anything while in the famous city. I made it back to my hotel room at 2am, just in time to head back to the airport to catch my flight at 6am. Yes, it's safe to say that I got no sleep in NYC. But, I don't regret a minute of it and would do it again in a heartbeat! Again, this is one of the best vacations I've ever taken, and I'm so happy I did so! Would I do it again? Absolutely!!

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