We are relatively new to cruising. We have been on Azamara, Holland America and Viking River. We were really excited about the "Tropics, Temples and Towers" cruise offered by Regent Seven Seas due to the itinerary and the all-inclusive nature of the cruise line. We had heard great things about Regent, although I was concerned about some recent reviews I read on Cruise Critic about the decline of Regent. I wish I paid more attention to those critical reviews!
A major attraction of the cruise was a three day pre-cruise land trip to the Taj Mahal. While it sounded like a great idea, Regent was clearly overwhelmed by the 440 people who signed up for the pre-cruise. Our hotel in Agra (ITC Mughal) was a disaster. It had no elevator for mobility impaired guests. A number of people lost electricity during their stay and we were given a filthy room and received no satisfaction from an insolent manager. We were told by the tour operator for Regent, Ventours, that it did not like to use this hotel because they had deteriorated do much. But they did use it and we suffered!
Regent descriptions of the pre-tour were highly deceptive. A quote from the tour description of Day 2, as we depart Delhi, "Another highlight is the earliest surviving Islamic monument, The Qutb mosque..." One would expect we would see the mosque. No such luck. Fortunately we had hired a private guide to take us around Delhi the day before, or we would have seen nothing. Quote from Regent tour description: "In the late afternoon, depart to see the Taj Mahal, experiencing its changing hue at sunset." Once we arrived at the Taj we were told we had to leave by 4 PM to get back to the hotel for dinner. In fact the Taj closes at 5:30, so you could not be on the property at sunset. Unfortunately we began to question our decision to use Regent even before the cruise began. Much time was spent on buses driving from Delhi to Agra and Agra to Jaipur. The flight from Jaipur to Mumbai was late and we went directly from the Mumbai airport to the dock, seeing only what we drove by on the way to the ship. Another disappointment! Embarkation was quick and efficient. No lines. We had been used to introductory ship tours for new passengers to learn the layout of the ship, but this was not something Regent offered.