We had the The Key on Harmony for our June 16 cruise, 2 ppl. We purchased when it was $19.99 person.
I was torn as to whether or not to post our experience, as I won't do a full review, but FWIW I will make a few notes.
NO PRIORITY LINES AT ACTIVITIES. Not sure what the President of RC was talking about, but no priority lines/lanes. The Flowrider employees said only during our hour, and when I asked about it at customer service I was told "your letter told you when your Key times are."
While chatting before a game show the night before the cruise ended, two of the cruise director's immediate staff said they weren't even sure what the program WAS, much less what benefits we were supposed to get! The vague, confused look on their faces said it ALL.
In Port Canaveral: no special treatment in the security line, you wait like everyone else. No expedited security unless you have otherwise met the requirements, and again you are in line with everybody else. We went to the Key Check-in, and were placed in a line behind another couple who clearly did not check in online as it took forever. Little did I realize, down the concourse (past the initial crowds) there were a dozen or more EMPTY lines, and many more agents with iPads just standing around. The Key employee clearly did not know what she was doing. Lesson learned: we arrived at 11:05. If you are not arriving at a peak time, don't bother. If it hadn't been for the incompetent Key employee at the door and the muster band line, we would have checked in with an iPad employee and just walked right on - just like all the non-Key people.
If you have kids in your group, you will stand in yet another long line for muster station bands for each child, which is mandatory. I mentioned we were Key, and I got an exasperated "just get in the line!" Another waste.
The zipline was day 1 from 2 to 3pm. They closed it at 2:45 with no explanation, just as we arrived. There was no back up of people waiting to zip. They just decided to close it early.
If you have a huge group of people, I hope they do a better job of managing capacity than they did on our cruise, or you won't get Key seats unless you arrive early - don't plan on getting there 5 minutes to curtain and getting seats, much less seats together. If you are just a few people, rather than Key you can just wait and snag the "released" suite and key seats just before showtime.
If you are not tendering, I don't think Key is worth the expense. It didn't save us much time at all. There is no Key line for getting through security back onto the ship.
End of cruise: No escorted departure. Let me repeat that. NO ESCORTED DEPARTURE THROUGH THE ZOO. We were told at the dining room just to go to the front of the line when we were ready to leave. OK. We did so and we're checked off the ship with no problem. .. and ran into the back of the line from H*LL going down the ramp getting into customs. I had to repeatedly approach employees asking where Key members go until one finally sent us down a hidden, "back" escalator behind the elevators. Luggage was conveniently placed, but where was the expedited Key customs line? No employees to be found, I wasted precious time looking for one knowing that the last bus back to Orlando leaves at 10. When I finally found one, AGAIN with the attitude and was told "you wait your turn like everybody else! "
No fruit plate, no plate of chocolate covered strawberries, just two tiny, 3-inch chocolate "keys" one night.
When I first purchased The Key it appeared to be a fabulous bargain - Voom Surf and Stream for each of us, no reservations needed for shows, exclusive seating for shows so no need to rush and get there early, exclusive Key access to activities every day, priority for tendering, escorted departure right through to customs... and only 19.99 per person per day! It sounded just too good to be true... and it apparently was. So good that they were able to jack up the price as they continually chipped away at the benefits until it was the program we experienced.
On Harmony there appeared to be two types of employees: those who knew nothing about the program (or pretended to know nothing?) and those who did know and seemed to give off a resentful attitude, much like "why should YOU be treated differently?" The sports staff were DEFINITELY not happy about it. The only exceptions were the staff on day 1 at carryon check-in at the dining room; after that, good luck.
Overall the Key was a waste of money, at least on Harmony, even at the bargain price of 19.99 pp/pd. Not at all what I paid for when I signed up, and while I was resigned to the changes I wasn't expecting the program I experienced.
At this point my thoughts are "without dedicated security lines, fully escorted departures with priority at customs and priority lines at the activities, what is so KEY about this?" We canceled our Key for Symphony in November... even though we paid only $19.99 pp/pd for that cruise as well.
Of course, every ship's implementation, attitude trickling down from above and training is different, thus "Your Mileage may Vary." Good Luck!