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ValerieJo

New Program called "The Key"

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I’ll start by saying this is once again just conjecture on my part, but I think your thought that RCI should be able to give you a schedule 2 weeks out works against their business model. If you look in the cruise planner, you’ll see that FlowRider, for example, is available for private bookings. I imagine there is an internal chart they keep if their activities that has a a set number of slots for private reservations and if and when they get filled by private bookings it reduces the opportunities that KEY members will have for reserved hours. Reservations through the cruise planner are open until 3 days before your sail date, so it is in their interest to wait until the last possible moment for them to make as much as possible from private bookings before turning loose the remaining slots that were not booked to the KEY. 


From a business perspective this makes a lot of sense...I wonder if this is what happened on Symphony!


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2 hours ago, VictorSinclair said:

it is in their interest to wait until the last possible moment for them to make as much as possible from private bookings before turning loose the remaining slots that were not booked to the KEY

I get this.  But for The Key be profitable and marketable long term, they'll be subject to how consumers perceive the value. If  we're expected to pay a fixed price for whatever they have leftover, fewer people may decide the program has value.  Hard to say, as everyone buys it for different reasons.  

 

19 minutes ago, blueridgemama said:

If your primary reason for purchasing the Key is for flowrider hours, why not just reserve a private hour session on the flowrider instead of investing extra money in the Key?

Because one private session is $345, and the incremental cost for The Key over a one device internet package (I travel solo) is $56 for the week and will hopefully offer multiple flowrider times that are less crowded than normal.

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15 minutes ago, RW_MI said:

I get this.  But for The Key be profitable and marketable long term, they'll be subject to how consumers perceive the value. If  we're expected to pay a fixed price for whatever they have leftover, fewer people may decide the program has value.  Hard to say, as everyone buys it for different reasons.  

 

Because one private session is $345, and the incremental cost for The Key over a one device internet package (I travel solo) is $56 for the week and will hopefully offer multiple flowrider times that are less crowded than normal.

I think that was addressed in Post 2021...

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$345 for a private hour on the Flowrider vs. $280 for two of us to have the Key last week, in which we ended up with 5+ hours on the Flowrider by ourselves (including the 8-9am hour almost every day), plus internet, plus other perks we didn't really care about.  Key wins hands down.

 

As for the hours, they change all the time.  I found a Key schedule from Liberty a few weeks ago where most of the Key Flowrider hours were in the middle of the day during hours that were usually open sessions in the past.  Because last week was a peak spring break week, they told me they switched the schedule to give Key the 8-9am hours since they expected a big crowd during their open session hours, and the weeks before Spring Break the Flowrider was dead so they could get away with doing Key hours in the middle of the day.  

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2 minutes ago, mil76 said:

$345 for a private hour on the Flowrider vs. $280 for two of us to have the Key last week, in which we ended up with 5+ hours on the Flowrider by ourselves (including the 8-9am hour almost every day), plus internet, plus other perks we didn't really care about.  Key wins hands down.

 

As for the hours, they change all the time.  I found a Key schedule from Liberty a few weeks ago where most of the Key Flowrider hours were in the middle of the day during hours that were usually open sessions in the past.  Because last week was a peak spring break week, they told me they switched the schedule to give Key the 8-9am hours since they expected a big crowd during their open session hours, and the weeks before Spring Break the Flowrider was dead so they could get away with doing Key hours in the middle of the day.  

This is great to hear.  We are on the Adventure in May and my husband loves the flowrider and spends every bit of time using it when it is open.  Glad to hear that the key times are in the afternoon or at least on the Liberty.  Hoping that will be the case on the Adventure. 

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1 minute ago, Colorado Babe said:

This is great to hear.  We are on the Adventure in May and my husband loves the flowrider and spends every bit of time using it when it is open.  Glad to hear that the key times are in the afternoon or at least on the Liberty.  Hoping that will be the case on the Adventure. 

We need a Flowrider in Colorado in the worst way.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, mil76 said:

$345 for a private hour on the Flowrider vs. $280 for two of us to have the Key last week, in which we ended up with 5+ hours on the Flowrider by ourselves (including the 8-9am hour almost every day), plus internet, plus other perks we didn't really care about.  Key wins hands down.

So when I got nearly an hour all by myself on Flowrider because 3 others "defected" out of frustration after 10 minutes...for a $50 training session...that trumped virtually all other "deals". 

 

The point is the availability and "winning hands down" varies significantly base on the specific cruise, specific time, etc. There have been just as many horror stories about this program as whoopee's. It seems to have worked well on that ship, at that time, on that day. 

 

Since the program is new...like any other such "trial run program"...it will likely be tweaked, changed, or other adjustment based on both passenger reports and Royal's bottom line ROI. They could just as easily pull the plug on it altogether, or change what is included. We've seen cruise lines pivot on "new things" time and time again. 

 

Time will tell on its success, longevity, features, and lifespan.

Edited by CRUISEFAN0001

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6 hours ago, blueridgemama said:

 

If your primary reason for purchasing the Key is for flowrider hours, why not just reserve a private hour session on the flowrider instead of investing extra money in the Key?

Because for the 3 of us it costs 300aud for 1hr we did it a few times last cruise

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1 minute ago, seanjulz said:

Because for the 3 of us it costs 300aud for 1hr we did it a few times last cruise

 

Definitely a lot of $$$ but I bet you had a lot of fun in that hour. Was it money well spent??

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35 minutes ago, blueridgemama said:

 

Definitely a lot of $$$ but I bet you had a lot of fun in that hour. Was it money well spent??

Yeah we all loved it, thats why we thought we would get the key when i took that amount and how much internet was it wasnt hard to justify 

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On 3/27/2019 at 4:59 PM, blueridgemama said:

 

I wish they would start a new thread entitled "The Key: Reviews Only" so that we would not have to sift through all the nay sayers who have not used the benefit themselves, but "just know" that is a waste of money and that RCI is ripping us all off. I really appreciate the reviews from people who have used the Key and have given honest reviews, both pro and con, of what works and what doesn't.

I agree. I never have understood why some people feel the need to be disrespectful and rude to someone on a message board asking for feedback on something. 

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Just wanted to post that I called and made a change to my cabin selection today for Oasis in December 2019.  While I was on the phone, I inquired about The Key.  Long story short, this is our first cruise on an Oasis size ship, and being 60/59 years old, we decided to try The Key due to the number of passengers.  The cost was $349 for two of us for the week long cruise.  This is how I decided the cost was worth it to us:

 

1.  I was able to cancel my Voom Internet for my husband ($104.93 refund for ONE device). With The Key we both receive Voom and Stream so no sharing and hubby can stream movies etc.  if we both had purchased Voom and Stream, it would have been over $200 plus.  Hubby needs Internet for email (last cruise he cleared over 2,500 emails during the cruise).  We only had one device internet, which meant We needed to share lol.

2.  We are in a Junior Suite which gives us extra room without really any perks other than the walk in closet, larger balcony with chaise lounges (important to us), tub (prefer just a shower), and extra room for family and friends to visit.  The Key gives us a few extra perks.

3.  After check in, we can drop our carry ones at the Theater and get our internet codes.  Not having to drag carry ones with us to lunch and while exploring the ship before cabins are open is convenient.  

4.  Lunch at Chops vs fighting a crowd at Windjammer or other venues.  It will be nice to have a relaxing lunch to start off our cruise.

5.  We won’t use the flow rider, rock wall, zip line so no benefit here...but for others, this could be a good benefit.

6.  Port of call priority disembarking...not an issue for us.  However it would be nice for anyone with tendered ports.  If we had our kids/grandkids along, this would be a good benefit.

7.  VIP seating at Aqua Theater, main theater, Etc.  This will be nice because we usually eat early seatings which can push you close to showtimes.  I know I still need to reserve shows, but reserved seats still a plus for us.

8.  Debarkation on last day with breakfast.  Being able to have a nice sit down breakfast will be nice.  Plus, staff escorting us to our luggage and bypassing long lines of passengers to customs and off the ship...priceless.

 

As many people have posted, everyone has their pros and cons to The Key.  We are anxious to see how it works for us.  I appreciate all the actual reviews from people who have actually used a The Key...it made it helpful when trying to decide for us.  

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1 hour ago, trihawks1 said:

Just wanted to post that I called and made a change to my cabin selection today for Oasis in December 2019.  While I was on the phone, I inquired about The Key.  Long story short, this is our first cruise on an Oasis size ship, and being 60/59 years old, we decided to try The Key due to the number of passengers.  The cost was $349 for two of us for the week long cruise.  This is how I decided the cost was worth it to us:

 

 

Just an FYI, we've been on two Oasis class ships and you will not have to worry about all those passengers.  It never felt crowded unless there was a parade going on.  Enjoy The Key (we will in two weeks on Anthem) and enjoy the big ship and the feeling of not knowing you are even in the ocean. lol  

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I quite like the sound of the key but for 3 of us it is expensive. We are on Jewel of the Seas so less activities and a smaller ship so may be not as busy on embarkation day. 

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We just got off Explorer on Friday. Plenty of Key people were trying their luck to get into areas which were reserved for gold card holders. There were 2 days early on where a group of them had obviously got together and tried their luck with the reserved seating by the pool. One suite guest (also a Pinnacle and a very nice one) that was already there questioned why they were in there with the blue cards and they said they were Key and were entitled to be there and he ended up leaving and going to the other side where there was one lounger free. Security came along and asked to see their gold cards and despite their arguments they were told they weren't gold card holders which the signs stated they had to be and needed to leave that area. After that security checked cards for the rest of the trip randomly. Chops also had breakfast every day for gold card holders only and some tried to get in there as well which also didn't work out for them.

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After watching numerous YouTube reviews I signed up for The Key for my 3 night harmony cruise in May. There will be two of us, I figured it will be even money compared to the cost of Voom package for 2 w/ 2 devices each, earlier check in ($20 ea on Carnival) and lunch for 2 at Jamie’s. The other perks look good, but I figure we won’t take advantage of everything it has to offer. I wouldn’t have tried it if it was a longer cruise or if we were bringing kids. I’ll report back after the trip.

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10 hours ago, ShazM said:

We just got off Explorer on Friday. Plenty of Key people were trying their luck to get into areas which were reserved for gold card holders. There were 2 days early on where a group of them had obviously got together and tried their luck with the reserved seating by the pool. One suite guest (also a Pinnacle and a very nice one) that was already there questioned why they were in there with the blue cards and they said they were Key and were entitled to be there and he ended up leaving and going to the other side where there was one lounger free. Security came along and asked to see their gold cards and despite their arguments they were told they weren't gold card holders which the signs stated they had to be and needed to leave that area. After that security checked cards for the rest of the trip randomly. Chops also had breakfast every day for gold card holders only and some tried to get in there as well which also didn't work out for them.

 

Why am I not surprised.

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There's always a bad apple in every batch. Please don't think that all of us would feel entitled.  I would never try to use something I had no right to.

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Not everyone feels entitled. The  biggest value and reason for choosing the key is I am handicapped so I was willing to pay for this for not having to stand inline on embarking and disbarking. The other things are a bonus like internet and Chops but with that being said I wish people would think before speaking as like I said this isn’t always about feeling entitled but but enjoying the trip without unneeded pain 

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Does anybody have a picture of The Key menu for Jamie's Italian Grille? Sailing Saturday on Anthem and trying to figure out which is better with young kids Chops or Jamie's. Thank You

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2 hours ago, KeithWT said:

Does anybody have a picture of The Key menu for Jamie's Italian Grille? Sailing Saturday on Anthem and trying to figure out which is better with young kids Chops or Jamie's. Thank You

I googled it so here's the link but it's a sample menu but should be good enough for you to figure whether it works for you.:

 

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/data/dining/jamies-italian/menu/Jamies-Sample-Menu-web.pdf

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Hi All,

 

Boarded Anthem yesterday with the Key out of Cape Liberty. Wanted to report back with our experience so far as I know some have recently been asking questions specifically about this ship. We did not have a separate line to go through security, but did to check in and separate waiting area (though is no longer by the star class waiting area/snack). 

 

Upon boarding the ship, they have a table front and center for you to get your temporary wristbands and Key paperwork. I asked the woman at the desk how many they had on this sailing and she told me they had 180 Keys, so seems like prior posts are correct in that they may have bumped the quantity up to 200 per cruise (as of the day before our ship Keys were still available on the website). Our private hours for the activities are more limited than initial cruisings with they key, but may be due to the cruise being sold out. The private hours are as follows:

 

1 Rockwall on day 2 from 2pm - 3pm

2 Flowriders on days 3 and 7 both from 9am - 10am

1 i-fly on day 5 from 7-8pm (and told we could each make another reservation for this in addition to the private hour since we had the key)

1 North Star on day 6 from 1-2pm

 

We ate at Chops lunch embarkation day which had the same limited menu as others have posted, and did not fill up (plenty of space left in the restaurant). Both of our steaks were over cooked but it was a decent meal and pleasure to not have to fight our way through the crowds in the Windjammer. I had read reviews about the lunch taking a very long time but our entire 3-course meal was served to us in under an hour. 

 

Fruit plate arrived in our stateroom today. 

 

So far, not bad for $19.99 price. Would recommend for those who like a little extra on their vacations.

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1 hour ago, Dmkaminski said:

Hi All,

 

Boarded Anthem yesterday with the Key out of Cape Liberty. Wanted to report back with our experience so far as I know some have recently been asking questions specifically about this ship. We did not have a separate line to go through security, but did to check in and separate waiting area (though is no longer by the star class waiting area/snack). 

 

Upon boarding the ship, they have a table front and center for you to get your temporary wristbands and Key paperwork. I asked the woman at the desk how many they had on this sailing and she told me they had 180 Keys, so seems like prior posts are correct in that they may have bumped the quantity up to 200 per cruise (as of the day before our ship Keys were still available on the website). Our private hours for the activities are more limited than initial cruisings with they key, but may be due to the cruise being sold out. The private hours are as follows:

 

1 Rockwall on day 2 from 2pm - 3pm

2 Flowriders on days 3 and 7 both from 9am - 10am

1 i-fly on day 5 from 7-8pm (and told we could each make another reservation for this in addition to the private hour since we had the key)

1 North Star on day 6 from 1-2pm

 

We ate at Chops lunch embarkation day which had the same limited menu as others have posted, and did not fill up (plenty of space left in the restaurant). Both of our steaks were over cooked but it was a decent meal and pleasure to not have to fight our way through the crowds in the Windjammer. I had read reviews about the lunch taking a very long time but our entire 3-course meal was served to us in under an hour. 

 

Fruit plate arrived in our stateroom today. 

 

So far, not bad for $19.99 price. Would recommend for those who like a little extra on their vacations.

Thank you so much for your info.  We go on the Anthem in two weeks, so it's helpful to know what I need to look for when entering the ship.  I'm happy to know there is private time for the iFly as that is on my bucket list.  

Were you by chance doing a Bermuda itinerary?  If so, I'm curious to know how the seas were for you.  

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Posted (edited)

If the key is sold out online can you still get it once onboard? Obviously priority boarding will not be utilized but everything else would still be beneficial.

Edited by molole

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