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Top 20 Highlights from April 13

Every week our deal experts across seven U.S. offices gather to discuss the week’s contenders for the Top 20. We pull deals apart, put them back together and discuss ways to improve offers so our readers see the best deals.

Here are some highlights from this week’s Top 20 list:  

$399 -- Mediterranean & Greek Island 7-Night Cruise

This cruise hits small ports, big ports, exotic ports and popular ports in spots including the Turkish Riviera, Santorini, Mykonos and the coast of Sicily for less than $60 per day. What I love about cruises is that they’re essentially floating all-inclusives. For less than $400 you’re getting a week’s worth of meals, entertainment, accommodations and transports between European destinations. This deal is for shoulder season (industry term for the season between popular peak and deserted off-peak) when crowds at these ports will be thinner,  the weather is milder and airfare to Rome (from where the ship sets sail) will be far less expensive than it is just a few months earlier.

$235 -- Weekends at 5-Star D.C. Hotel (Reg. $535)

We’ve found that D.C. hotel deals have been hard to come by recently -- blame it on the beautiful cherry blossoms -- so we were jazzed to find massive savings at Mandarin Oriental. Although it’s only valid on select weekends, it’s a hot enough price (with a savings of $300 per night) to inspire a weekend trip to the nation’s capital.

$1299 -- India 3-City Escorted Trip w/Luxurious Hotels & Air

I’m in the process of booking my honeymoon to Turkey, so I appreciate the strength of this offer. Why is this relevant? Because India is further away, and I can’t find a flight to Istanbul for less than $1300. This deal costs less than that and includes airfare, five nights in three cities (including a stay at a 5-star Shangri-La), an elephant ride and a Taj Mahal tour, among other things. It’s a comprehensive way to take in what India has to offer without having to do all of the research and legwork yourself.

$52 & up -- Orlando Fare Sale from Across the U.S.

Airfare hasn’t been doing much these days but going up. New baggage fees, new fuel surcharges … it’s hard to find fares that look anything like they did just a few months back. Our Fly.com team is able to dig up the best of the best by pinpointing unadvertised fares for our readers to popular destinations (what’s an unadvertised fare? Airlines will drop fares unannounced and without including them as part of an organized sale – which legally needs to have a certain number of seats available at the sale price. When a fare is unadvertised, the availability is often extremely limited and could be gone in a matter of minutes or hours. We verify availability by test-booking these fares before publishing any deal. When the fare is no longer available, we update our information). This week’s Orlando fares are available from across the U.S. and can be used to take advantage of hotel deals in our Orlando section.

These deals will only be around for the next week, though some will expire before then, as availability at these hot prices is limited. There's plenty more great deals in this week’s Top 20, and make sure to sign up for future e-mails that include our next batch of top picks.

Jaime Samuels is the Publisher of the U.S. Top 20 list.

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Tips by

Deal Expert, New York
Thursday, April 14, 2011
See more Tips from
Jaime Freedman