Q – There is a lot of internet noise about the relative merits of certain locations on river boats in Europe. We’ve been told that it is best to avoid the cabins in the front because of “noise at night”. What is this all about and is there any validity to this concern?

A – Actually there is. We’d like you to avoid the first three cabins on any side of the boat facing forward. During the night, when the boat is sailing, it will likely be passing through as many as two dozen locks. The boats often knock into side walls in the locks or do some scraping which causes enough noise to awaken some guests who are light sleepers. So it is a noise issue more than a “smoother ride” issue. Unlike cruise ships, mid-ship cabins on river boats offer few advantages other than assuring company on both sides of you and a longer walk to the staircase.