Q: Peter I need your advice. We are considering a Viking River Cruise in Europe. How important is the location of the deck when choosing a stateroom? What (besides price, of course) should be considered when choosing a cabin?
–Deborah Bosco, Boca Raton, Fla.
A: When choosing a cabin, it's always best to view the ship's floor plans (which are usually available online on the company's Web site) to make sure you don't end up in a room with an obscured view or one underneath a nightclub or restaurant.
Keep in mind that Viking's small ships are designed in such a way that few of the rooms are directly below or above the restaurant, swimming pool, or observation area. But this varies from ship to ship, so you'll want to check the deck plans before you book. Those are available on Viking's Web site.
On larger cruise lines, there are more decks and more recreation areas, and thus, more chances that you'll be near something that may be undesirable or obstruct your view. While searching for cabins, find out whether your room is inside or outside, whether it is a suite or standard room, how many square feet it is, and whether you have a balcony or view of the ocean.
Though many cruise ships claim that they have installed noise-proof materials between busy areas and the cabins around them, you never know how quiet the rooms really are. So to be on the safe side, you may want to avoid cabins above, below, or next to noisy locations, such as pool decks, restaurants, or dance floors where you might hear the footsteps of passers-by or deck chairs being dragged around.
If you tend to suffer from motion sickness, try to get a room near the center, where there is less "roll." This may not be such a big concern on the smooth waters of a river. And bear in mind that lower deck cabins may subject you to engine noise.