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ValerieJo

New Program called "The Key"

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We got off a 12-day Anthem cruise March 15th and I noticed key members had several private hours for activities and reserved seating at all shows.  

 

For the Flowrider specifically, there was no longer an “advanced” stand-up hour first thing in the morning since key members got that time.  At first, we were a bit annoyed by this change since my husband likes going to the advanced hour, but on our cruise the hour was barely utilized by key members (especially later in the cruise) and they started letting other passengers use the flowrider.  I noticed the same thing happening at the rock wall.  I believe there were less key guests on our sailing since it was a longer cruise.  I would assume on the ships with only 1 flowrider, like Anthem, they may get some complaints from regular guests who lose out on an even smaller amount of surf time.

 

During many of the shows in the royal theatre they had an entire two rows dedicated at the front for key guests and I felt bad since other passengers were clearly getting quite frustrated with the crew members reserving seats, even though there was plenty of signage and key guests paid for this privilege.  Again, most times the rows were empty by 10 minutes to showtime and then they just opened the seats up to everybody.  

 

As with anything, it’s a new program that everyone will need to get used to, and if one is willing to pay than they may as well enjoy the privileges it brings.

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Does anyone have a pic of the key lunch menu for Jamie’s? I do not believe I have seen it on this thread yet. 

Thanks. 

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Hi everyone! We got The Key for 2 guests and then added two guests to the reservation later. We bought the Key for them separately and just noticed they had a different list of "benefits". The 2 most significant changes were that they can choose Chops or Jamie's for the embarkation lunch (where we have only Chops listed) and that they MUST make reservations for the shows to enjoy the reserved seating (where ours says we do NOT need reservations). Both purchases were the same price of $19.99 pp/pd so I was confused as to why there might be such a big difference. I called the reservations line and the person I spoke to had no idea and said it was probably a glitch in the system showing me different benefits. Do you guys recommend I call back and try and find out more info? It seems weird that some guests would have different benefits from the same program on the same ship but I've never been on RCCL before or bought something like this before so really I don't have a frame of reference

Edited by CarnivalCruiser32
*19.99 per person per day

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3 minutes ago, CarnivalCruiser32 said:

Hi everyone! We got The Key for 2 guests and then added two guests to the reservation later. We bought the Key for them separately and just noticed they had a different list of "benefits". The 2 most significant changes were that they can choose Chops or Jamie's for the embarkation lunch (where we have only Chops listed) and that they MUST make reservations for the shows to enjoy the reserved seating (where ours says we do NOT need reservations). Both purchases were the same price of $19.99 pp/pd so I was confused as to why there might be such a big difference. I called the reservations line and the person I spoke to had no idea and said it was probably a glitch in the system showing me different benefits. Do you guys recommend I call back and try and find out more info? It seems weird that some guests would have different benefits from the same program on the same ship but I've never been on RCCL before or bought something like this before so really I don't have a frame of reference

 

It sounds like Royal removed some of the perks after your purchase.  I've seen others report this same perk (show reservations automatic for KEY guests) being removed.

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10 minutes ago, CarnivalCruiser32 said:

Hi everyone! We got The Key for 2 guests and then added two guests to the reservation later. We bought the Key for them separately and just noticed they had a different list of "benefits". The 2 most significant changes were that they can choose Chops or Jamie's for the embarkation lunch (where we have only Chops listed) and that they MUST make reservations for the shows to enjoy the reserved seating (where ours says we do NOT need reservations). Both purchases were the same price of $19.99 pp/pd so I was confused as to why there might be such a big difference. I called the reservations line and the person I spoke to had no idea and said it was probably a glitch in the system showing me different benefits. Do you guys recommend I call back and try and find out more info? It seems weird that some guests would have different benefits from the same program on the same ship but I've never been on RCCL before or bought something like this before so really I don't have a frame of reference

My understanding is that it's either/or restaurant but Anthem only shows or talks about Chops Grille.  I would call back and verify with a different agent. I have gotten mixed responses with different ones.  I also just made my show reservations last week for Anthem and we go in three weeks.  It just became available.  I wouldn't trust not having them.  I was told I didn't have to yet another agent said I did.  The one perk is that you don't have to show up till 10 mins or so beforehand and you will still have a good seat.

Edited by MissLittle1959
correction

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Was on Liberty last week with the Key.  The 200 limit for Key guests isn't just Oasis class as they said there were nearly 200 Keys on this sailing as well.

 

The Flowrider benefit was still Key hours, and they had 8-9am days 2-6 and evening 9-10pm Day 2 scheduled.  Previously they didn't start open Flowrider hours until 9am, so these were not hours taken from normal operating times.  There was a mixup on Day three where they scheduled lessons from 8-9am, so they gave us Day 7 8-9am to make up for it.  We ended up with at least 5 hours where the Flowrider was just the DS and me, so the Key paid off big time.  Only time there was more than 1 or 2 others for Key was Day 7, where 8 people showed up.  

 

Didn't use the reserved seating perk.  Debarkation breakfast was nice, they had a filet and eggs and a crab benedict option only made for the Key breakfast.  

 

 

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23 hours ago, FloridaMac said:

Just did The Key on Independence of the Seas 5 day Western Carib.  Saved a lot of time embarking and disembarking - really got the VIP treatment.  Chops lunch was nice.  Internet package was great, each of us had our own login and we could FB Message and voice call each other using FB Message.  I also had a Skype phone number and we called to/from the States.  We will absolutely do this again and again until they raise the price too high ;-) 

I am considering the Key as we are sailing with friends on Anthem who are in a suite.  It seems like the Key gives some similar perks to the Suite. 

 

I was wondering if anyone knows if the suite VIP seats are in a similar location for the shows and if the priority embarkation and disembarkation are handled similarly for both Suite guests and The Key.  I would like for our friends to feel free to take full advantage of their  Suite perks without worrying about leaving us behind. 

 

It would also be advantageous for us to be able to disembark together which if we both have priority disembarkation that is done at a similar  time and method would be useful.

 

I am also not clear if my husband and I would each get a Voom code or with this since we both have to buy the Key which could be good for us.

 

Does anyone know if our friends would be able to eat boarding day lunch with us even if they don't have the Key and just pay for it separately?  I know on Allure prior to this program we all just walked in and had lunch at Giovanni's table together without a problem.

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4 minutes ago, stowite said:

I am considering the Key as we are sailing with friends on Anthem who are in a suite.  It seems like the Key gives some similar perks to the Suite. 

 

I was wondering if anyone knows if the suite VIP seats are in a similar location for the shows and if the priority embarkation and disembarkation are handled similarly for both Suite guests and The Key.  I would like for our friends to feel free to take full advantage of their  Suite perks without worrying about leaving us behind. 

 

It would also be advantageous for us to be able to disembark together which if we both have priority disembarkation that is done at a similar  time and method would be useful.

 

I am also not clear if my husband and I would each get a Voom code or with this since we both have to buy the Key which could be good for us.

 

Does anyone know if our friends would be able to eat boarding day lunch with us even if they don't have the Key and just pay for it separately?  I know on Allure prior to this program we all just walked in and had lunch at Giovanni's table together without a problem.

Each person who buys the Key gets their own Internet code. 

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3 minutes ago, stowite said:

 

Does anyone know if our friends would be able to eat boarding day lunch with us even if they don't have the Key and just pay for it separately?  I know on Allure prior to this program we all just walked in and had lunch at Giovanni's table together without a problem.

 

There were two check in desks on the Symphony earlier this month, one for those with the Key and one for those with reservations.  We were behind two people (obviously a couple) who stated that one had the Key and one had a reservation, and they were directed to the reservation line.  

 

Just have your friends make a reservation as soon as possible and go to the restaurant together.  I was able to make reservations for the Symphony and the Adventure (December 2019) within a couple of days after the Key was initially announced, but checked repeatedly for the Mariner in October to no avail; plenty of availability for Day 4, but nothing on embarkation day.  I think they are keeping all tables open for Key guests.

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8 minutes ago, ZoeyVictoria said:

 

There were two check in desks on the Symphony earlier this month, one for those with the Key and one for those with reservations.  We were behind two people (obviously a couple) who stated that one had the Key and one had a reservation, and they were directed to the reservation line.  

 

Just have your friends make a reservation as soon as possible and go to the restaurant together.  I was able to make reservations for the Symphony and the Adventure (December 2019) within a couple of days after the Key was initially announced, but checked repeatedly for the Mariner in October to no avail; plenty of availability for Day 4, but nothing on embarkation day.  I think they are keeping all tables open for Key guests.

Thanks for this information.  I wonder if since our friends are in a Suite if they would be able to get reservations more easily,  perhaps the concierge would be able to help.  Something to consider.

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27 minutes ago, stowite said:

Does anyone know if our friends would be able to eat boarding day lunch with us even if they don't have the Key and just pay for it separately?

I see no reason why your friends could not enjoy Chops for lunch with you.  The restaurant is open for anyone, not just the Key people.  I would, however, recommend that they purchase their lunch ahead of time (through the Cruise Planner) so that they would not have to pay the 18% gratuity.  If they wait until they get onboard to purchase the meal, they will be charged an additional 18%.  Also, I would suggest that they have the suites concierge make them reservations at Chops for embarkation day.  That way they will be assured of getting in.

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I am wondering now that  people are asking about Chops Grille for Key customers, whether we can actually make a reservation for lunch on embarkation day or if we must wait to do that once we arrive on the ship.  Anyone have that information?  Thanks!

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8 minutes ago, RFerrington said:

I see no reason why your friends could not enjoy Chops for lunch with you.  The restaurant is open for anyone, not just the Key people.  I would, however, recommend that they purchase their lunch ahead of time (through the Cruise Planner) so that they would not have to pay the 18% gratuity.  If they wait until they get onboard to purchase the meal, they will be charged an additional 18%.  Also, I would suggest that they have the suites concierge make them reservations at Chops for embarkation day.  That way they will be assured of getting in.

Thanks, I was thinking that the suites concierge might be helpful in getting them a reservation.

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31 minutes ago, MissLittle1959 said:

I am wondering now that  people are asking about Chops Grille for Key customers, whether we can actually make a reservation for lunch on embarkation day or if we must wait to do that once we arrive on the ship.

You absolutely can make a reservation for lunch at Chops Grille for Day 1 from your Cruise Planner.

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24 minutes ago, stowite said:

Thanks, I was thinking that the suites concierge might be helpful in getting them a reservation.

The Concierge can make their reservations for them.  If you want to eat together on embarkation day, this is what I would recommend.  Showing up without a reservation could be a problem.....and if they prepay, they can save some money.

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3 minutes ago, RFerrington said:

You absolutely can make a reservation for lunch at Chops Grille for Day 1 from your Cruise Planner.

Yes but I have the key so would it make me pay if I did it online?

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6 minutes ago, MissLittle1959 said:

Yes but I have the key so would it make me pay if I did it online?

Yes....only your friends will need to pre-purchase the meal in the Cruise Planner.  You already have a reservation !!

 

....and I was thinking about it....if your friends purchase their lunch via the Cruise Planner for Day 1, they will have a reservation as a result as well....so there would be no reason to have the Concierge make a reservation for them.  If, however, they do NOT pre-purchase the meal, they would need the Concierge to make a reservation for them and then they would have to pay for their meal with their Sea Pass card.

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21 minutes ago, MissLittle1959 said:

Yes but I have the key so would it make me pay if I did it online?

For those that have The Key, it's first come, first served to be seated at Chops, there's not an actual 'reservation' time for you.  If Chops is full, they send those with The Key to an alternate restaurant. Also, it has been shared in this thread quite a few times that the menu for those with The Key is smaller than the lunch menu for those that purchase it from the Cruise Planner.  That doesn't show in any of the fine print, however many have posted the more abbreviated menu.  Others have said that for those paying via Cruise Planner, they get the full lunch menu options.  If you have the Key, you won't book via Cruise planner, because then you'd be paying twice.  But you'll probably want to get in the lunch line early as some are reporting Chops filling up now that more and more people have opted in for The Key.  

 

Oops, meant to also quote @stowitewho was asking about sharing a table with friends in a suite, while they themselves have The Key.  

Edited by rockmom

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8 minutes ago, rockmom said:

For those that have The Key, it's first come, first served to be seated at Chops, there's not an actual 'reservation' time for you.  If Chops is full, they send those with The Key to an alternate restaurant. Also, it has been shared in this thread quite a few times that the menu for those with The Key is smaller than the lunch menu for those that purchase it from the Cruise Planner.  That doesn't show in any of the fine print, however many have posted the more abbreviated menu.  Others have said that for those paying via Cruise Planner, they get the full lunch menu options.  If you have the Key, you won't book via Cruise planner, because then you'd be paying twice.  But you'll probably want to get in the lunch line early as some are reporting Chops filling up now that more and more people have opted in for The Key.  

 

Oops, meant to also quote @stowitewho was asking about sharing a table with friends in a suite, while they themselves have The Key.  

That’s what I had seen but with all this talk I was hoping we could make reservations. Lol.  The small menu is fine with us.  We saw a video of some key ppl getting filet and shrimp cocktail.  I’m good with that! 😀

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2 minutes ago, MissLittle1959 said:

That’s what I had seen but with all this talk I was hoping we could make reservations. Lol.  The small menu is fine with us.  We saw a video of some key ppl getting filet and shrimp cocktail.  I’m good with that! 😀

Yes, I'm fine with it as well, it will force me to choose something other than The Wedge for my starter, lol.  

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On 3/21/2019 at 10:02 AM, lluken said:

Just IMHO the Key does not seem to have value for us. We are Diamond, tho perks are diminishing

for us.  We always arrive early 10 to 10:30, enter Diamond line and are usually on the ship

within 20 or 30 min.  Once in Port Canaveral there was an inspection of the ship, and we had

to wait (with the masses) before boarding, but still took less than an hour.  

 

For disembarkation, just a nice word to your room steward to get early pass for disembarkation,

just usually after those carrying their own suitcases.  We use a porter to get thru immigration,

so just a tip there, and we're thru the terminal. No hassle

 

We do not use Flowrider, Rock climbing wall, etc. so wouldn't use that perk.  We don't have

trouble getting good theater seats, and many times it's just next to the Key seating,(which

was almost empty).

 

I cruise to be unplugged, so just get a 1 or 2 day pass for internet service to check with the office.

 Breakfast is always

served in MDR on disembarkation day, but we usually get just a bite in the Windjammer. 

 

I can see how some folks would appreciate this service, but doubt if it's for me.

We are Diamond also.   We just cruised on Navigator, 9nights.   We arrived at pier at 11:45am.  Diamond line very long as well as Suite line.   Royal did not START the embarkation process until 12:30.  However, those in The Key program were already embarking... as we saw them above walking onto the ship.   The Key has a private check-in room at port in Miami.   To bad the loyal Royal's don't get that treatment.   Carnival allows the higher tier levels (repeaters) to board first.... even before their similar Faster To The Fun program.   

Being loyal and getting the perks doesn't mean that much anymore.... just pay a little extra for it now. Go on a different line next time.  

Edited by SUSIEK

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Would Anyone recently off the Allure happen to have the Compass? We re set to sail in a few weeks... also with the Key.  Would love to see what it looks like. 

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On 3/21/2019 at 5:51 AM, blueridgemama said:

 

I honestly don't need you to help me not get ripped off. I am a big girl and can make my own decision if I think something is worthwhile to me. I have researched the pros and cons of this program and have made an informed decision that I will try it and see how it works for me. Have you personally used the Key benefits? If you have not, then your opinion that it is a waste of money is not helpful to me. I appreciate and thank all the reviewers on this thread of those who have used the Key and have made note of the pros and cons of this program. I am going into it with my eyes wide open. If it does not deliver on its promises to make my cruise experience better then I will not purchase it again.

Amen.   

 

I too have read all the real time reviews and as of now, it does seem like something we will enjoy.  I have it purchased for 6 people/7 day med cruise @ $839.58 for early fall.  People's opinions of the key without having actual experience have no influence on our decision.  

 

I will wait to hear further actual reviews once OAS hits the med later this summer on how the key works with the European ports and how the perks evolve over the summer before I make my final decision. But I am glad I have it reserved for now.

 

I want to say thank you to all have already experienced the key and have taken the time to post their thoughts, whether pro or con. It is very helpful.

 

For us, the main reason we are purchasing is that we have had a change in plans and one child has to be back in the states the day we disembark. The rest of us are staying on in Rome, but he needs to get to the airport asap and any help in getting off the boat quickly is worth every penny to us.  Different value for different folks.

Edited by cruise_co
phone being weird and saving before I finished typing

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