Q – It appears that cruising along Europe’s best rivers is even more popular than we’ve been lead to believe. We are trying to travel the Danube in a top suite on Tauck and everything is booked up for the entire summer of 2013. Is this typical of the industry? If so, when do you advise those of us who want the better cabins at the best time of year to make our reservations? Should we start planning for 2020 now?

A – It isn’t quite that bad – yet. But industry executives tell us they are quite pleased with the ability of the US consumer to meet the increase in new berths. Here is what you need to know:

Tauck – is now taking reservations for 2014 sailings. Pricing should be finalized in April of 2013. If you are holding a reservation for an upper deck balcony cabin, a category 6, you can reserve for next year now and cancel if you are not pleased with the pricing once it is released.

AMA – The books for 2014 are now open

Grand Circle – Bookings officially open this summer. But you can book now with a deposit for 2014 sailings if you are a preferred past guest.

Uniworld – Bookings for 2014 should open in March. Europe and Russia sailings will be available in Uniworld’s computer system first. Sailings in Asia will not open up for at least a month.

Viking River – They have the most boats and they need to start selling immediately. Viking’s entire 2014 progrsam is now available for booking including the newest members of the “Long Boat” fleet.

So here is our bottom line recommendation: You should book your river boat sailing, if at all possible, just after the New Year for a reservation during the following year.

That does not mean there is not availability – even last minute availability. But our advice does apply to those guests who want the top accommodations on the most popular boats.