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New Program called "The Key"

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The Key on Symphony...the headaches continue...

Tonight we had 2 activities that would involve The Key. We had reservations for Hiro and we had Ice Skating.

Hiro started at 8:30 and we arrived around 8:12. We stood in the reservation line and it was odd that it just wasn’t moving. Come to find out - that it wasn’t moving because most of the guests showing up at that time were Key guests - and when they showed up the reserved seating area was already full. Many guests were very unhappy. We know of at least 20 that could not be seated in the area but there may have been more.

The greeter from the Sports Staff was very apologetic - he told us that he has been asking management to start using the reservation data to block off reserved areas based on the actual numbers but they won’t accept his suggestion. I felt bad for him as the guy on the front line dealing with this mess. He said point blank to talk to CD Mike about it because it is definitely a real issue and we should not have been in this situation.

Our group of 8 split up - I took the 3 girls and we found some bench seating on the side that we could fit on it my daughter sat on my lap (for an hour!!) and the other 4 adults went to Deck 7 to watch - so not only did they not get Key - they didn’t even use their reservation!! One of them dragged a chair over for the senior of the group. While the view from Deck 7 was great - it should not have come to that!!! Luckily we thought the show had enough entertaining stunts and choreography that it helped make things tolerable.

After that disappointment - we went to the properly scheduled Ice Skating time. They waited until 9:30 to open the ice exactly and then nearly every guest that was in line needed to sign waivers. It was 9:45before we got to the front and then we had to wait for some of the girls moms to come down to sign waivers. It was 10:05 before we had everything done and could proceed to skate fitting area. Given the late start I asked that our group also be given stickers for the 10:30 Skating session which after pointing out we would have 5-8 minutes to skate before the time ran out, they agreed. In the end- that request being granted was great compensation. When they cleared the green group - they let us stay on the ice while the white group was allowed in the skate prep area. We had about 10 min of ice time with just the 4 of us which was perfect for the 2 kids who were new to skating!! We stayed on until the entire white group made it onto the ice and freed up seating for us to get off.

For skating - I accept that some of the delayed start was on us for needing to sign waivers - though I do wish that they had a process for this to sign them ahead of time or at checkin or muster tag pick up or something. But 15 minutes before we even got to the sign in station was crazy - this was a first ice skating event I think and there should have been more people to get the possible key guests into the ice quickly.


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6 minutes ago, Cel_cruise said:

The Key on Symphony...the headaches continue...

Tonight we had 2 activities that would involve The Key. We had reservations for Hiro and we had Ice Skating.
 

Can you post your Key activities sheet for SOTS this week.  We go in 7 weeks.  After readding everything from SOTS I might cancel it and just add Voom and Chops lunch and save a ton of money (4 keys). 

 

We bought it for Flowrider mostly.  And now it seems like you don't get much time on it with SOTS.

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18 minutes ago, Cel_cruise said:

The Key on Symphony...the headaches continue...

Tonight we had 2 activities that would involve The Key. We had reservations for Hiro and we had Ice Skating.

Hiro started at 8:30 and we arrived around 8:12. We stood in the reservation line and it was odd that it just wasn’t moving. Come to find out - that it wasn’t moving because most of the guests showing up at that time were Key guests - and when they showed up the reserved seating area was already full. Many guests were very unhappy. We know of at least 20 that could not be seated in the area but there may have been more.

The greeter from the Sports Staff was very apologetic - he told us that he has been asking management to start using the reservation data to block off reserved areas based on the actual numbers but they won’t accept his suggestion. I felt bad for him as the guy on the front line dealing with this mess. He said point blank to talk to CD Mike about it because it is definitely a real issue and we should not have been in this situation.

Our group of 8 split up - I took the 3 girls and we found some bench seating on the side that we could fit on it my daughter sat on my lap (for an hour!!) and the other 4 adults went to Deck 7 to watch - so not only did they not get Key - they didn’t even use their reservation!! One of them dragged a chair over for the senior of the group. While the view from Deck 7 was great - it should not have come to that!!! Luckily we thought the show had enough entertaining stunts and choreography that it helped make things tolerable.

After that emoji360.png disappointment - we went to the properly scheduled Ice Skating time. They waited until 9:30 to open the ice exactly and then nearly every guest that was in line needed to sign waivers. It was 9:45before we got to the front and then we had to wait for some of the girls moms to come down to sign waivers. It was 10:05 before we had everything done and could proceed to skate fitting area. Given the late start I asked that our group also be given stickers for the 10:30 Skating session which after pointing out we would have 5-8 minutes to skate before the time ran out, they agreed. In the end- that request being granted was great compensation. When they cleared the green group - they let us stay on the ice while the white group was allowed in the skate prep area. We had about 10 min of ice time with just the 4 of us which was perfect for the 2 kids who were new to skating!! We stayed on until the entire white group made it onto the ice and freed up seating for us to get off.

For skating - I accept that some of the delayed start was on us for needing to sign waivers - though I do wish that they had a process for this to sign them ahead of time or at checkin or muster tag pick up or something. But 15 minutes before we even got to the sign in station was crazy - this was a first ice skating event I think and there should have been more people to get the possible key guests into the ice quickly.


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Cel_Cruise - (or anyone else currently on SOS)  - Since they greatly reduced the special Key times for the activities such as Flowrider, Zip Line, Skating, etc., are you supposed to still have "priority access" during non-Key times (when the general ship population is allowed to go) by moving ahead or "cutting" the lines?  If so, have you experienced it? What do the other cruisers think?  Is the any signage for that?  Or do people think you are cutting the line?   

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Can you post your Key activities sheet for SOTS this week.  We go in 7 weeks.  After readding everything from SOTS I might cancel it and just add Voom and Chops lunch and save a ton of money (4 keys). 
 
We bought it for Flowrider mostly.  And now it seems like you don't get much time on it with SOTS.


I already posted it in post #2227


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Cel_Cruise - (or anyone else currently on SOS)  - Since they greatly reduced the special Key times for the activities such as Flowrider, Zip Line, Skating, etc., are you supposed to still have "priority access" during non-Key times (when the general ship population is allowed to go) by moving ahead or "cutting" the lines?  If so, have you experienced it? What do the other cruisers think?  Is the any signage for that?  Or do people think you are cutting the line?   


We asked about this when we met with the head of Guest Services and he told us we were supposed to still have this and sent wrist bands to our rooms. We got the wrist bands delivered last night but have not gotten any guidance on how to use them or where they would be accepted. We will be inquiring sometime today and will report out on the experience and our groups comfort level to use them.

If going on another symphony cruise (while Anthem seems like a total score!!) - I would have probably kept the great internet deal I got on the cruise planner, purchased Chops specialty from the planner, and had our group reserve flow rider lessons. A family of 4 could have gotten the 4 device package for $26/day last week on the planner, plus $80 Chops, and $60/person (do all 4 need it?) for Flowrider lesson for less than the price of the Key especially at the $25 sale price. That just leaves show seating and debarkation as discriminators.


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Cel...cruise:   From the many Key Reviews I have read on this thread the ship with the most negative experiences has been the Symphony of the Seas. They seem to be doing a much better job with the smaller ships. If you get the chance to speak with someone on the ship about your issues with the Key maybe you can bring up the huge disparity of how the program is working well on some ships and so badly on Symphony.

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Cel_Cruise - Thanks so much for your valuable input.   We are leaving on SOS this coming Saturday and I have been watching this thread from the beginning. I bought the Key for our whole family when it first came out and have watched how the benefits have since decreased.  Never before have I ever purchased something and then had the "terms" change so much before using it without any notice - thank goodness for these boards and Facebook groups!    In my mind, it is like signing up for a shore excursion to A,B and C but then when you get there, you only drive by A, skip B all together and then go to C for only 10 minutes when you should have stopped there for 2 hours.   I doubt RCCL would be able to get away with that.    I have printed out all of the "changes" since I purchased the Key and plan on speaking to Guest Services the moment I get on board.    We signed up mainly for the priority boarding, reserved seating at shows, priority debarkation at ports, exclusive Key times at the Flow Rider, and the last day breakfast and quick debarkation.  The internet was never on my radar, as we do not plan on using it - we like to disconnect on cruises.   

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kdavis5472: Hopefully it will work better for you. Being proactive by speaking with the guest services manager sounds like a great idea. Have a great cruise and if you get the chance let us know how the Key worked for you.

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9 minutes ago, kdavis5472 said:

Cel_Cruise - Thanks so much for your valuable input.   We are leaving on SOS this coming Saturday and I have been watching this thread from the beginning. I bought the Key for our whole family when it first came out and have watched how the benefits have since decreased.  

 

Keep us posted how your trip with the Key is on SOTS, as I will be on it June 1st.  (I am sure it will have changed 4 more times before than.)

 

Also Thanks to everyone that is posting their experiences with the Key. Not just people saying what they think is going on and what they have read online.  Getting 1st person experiences really helps.  So thank you.

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For those cruisers who have used the KEY on tendering ports, lets say Grand Cayman.  When you return to  the port area after visiting the Island, and the line is long to get a tender to get back to the ship................do they have a different line for you to use?

 

Just curious if anyone encountered this.

 

Thanks

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6 minutes ago, Lionesss said:

For those cruisers who have used the KEY on tendering ports, lets say Grand Cayman.  When you return to  the port area after visiting the Island, and the line is long to get a tender to get back to the ship................do they have a different line for you to use?

 

Just curious if anyone encountered this.

 

Thanks

Oh I didn't even think about getting priority back to the ship, that would be a valuable benefit!  

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Posted (edited)

We are in the music hall awaiting private escort to disembark in Bermuda.  They have a special sign up for us.  When we walk out they will be holding up a sign lol. Oh and last night we went to spectras cabaret with no reservations and showed our card with key on it.  Went right past everyone who was on standby. 

Edited by MissLittle1959

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1 hour ago, Lionesss said:

For those cruisers who have used the KEY on tendering ports, lets say Grand Cayman.  When you return to  the port area after visiting the Island, and the line is long to get a tender to get back to the ship................do they have a different line for you to use?

 

Just curious if anyone encountered this.

 

Thanks

It would be nice if they do have a special access line for re-embarking but I wouldn't expect it.  On every cruise I have ever been on where there was prioritized disembarkation, getting back on the ship you were on your own.  Hopefully that has changed with The Key.

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You cannot think there would be an extra special line for Key people to get back on the ship after an excursion or beach day.  Even with a genie, we get off first but getting back on is up to us.  I have never seen a line that was long enough, unless you waited until the last minute maybe, that there would need to be a special line for a group of people.

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The only reason I asked this question about getting back on the ship at tendering ports is that years ago when we sailed the Mariner and docked at Grand Cayman the line was very long to get to the tenders.

 

We were in a suite and had a "gold" sea pass in our hands, we were pulled out of line by an RCI worker (Yes this is where you showed your ID) and moved to the front of the line, to the dismay of many upset passengers waiting their turn in the hot sun.

 

Then it was a suite perk, which we did not know (this was around 2006ish)

 

But, it was nice for us, but, many unhappy fellow cruisers were mad.

 

Just wondering.

 

Safe travels.

 

 

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My review of the Key on Anthem of the Seas 4/6/19-4/13/19

Short review:  Overall a fairly bad value for my particular family but possibly a moderate value for other families.

Long review:

Cost.  I bought the key when it was 19.99 so it was roughly $560 for my family (2 adults, 11 yo, 8 yo).

Embarkation process.  We got their early (about 10) to get the most out of being on the ship so it was prior to regular embarkation so we did have to wait.  We were loaded on right after the handicap people so that was fairly quick.  However I have heard the process at Bayonne is good anyway and some other people that came a bit later said they walked right on anyway.  Conclusion:  Not a huge perk there. 

Embarkation lunch.  We had lunch at Chops.  It was fairly crowded and our waiter was not terribly friendly so my view is skewed a little by him.  The food was pretty good but I asked if there were kids menus and he said no.  The kids just ate the side of mac and cheese.  Conclusion: meh – but mostly due to the particular waiter. 

Internet.  I know this was a big part of the cost and we did use the internet.  However I don’t usually get the internet because cruise ships are the last place I get to feel unplugged.  That said, it was nice to have the internet, be able to check on my dog, text with my 11 yo on the ship, and chill out a little surfing the web before bed.  The streaming was very buffer’y though.  Conclusion:  If you were already getting the internet for everyone, then the key becomes more valuable.

Priority disembarkation at ports.  Ok this was nice at Coco Cay.  They had us meet in the Music Hall and took us off the ship first thing.  If I didn’t have a beach bed already booked, we would have gotten the best seats anywhere we wanted due to being first.  Didn’t get off in Port Canaveral so I don’t know how that went.  No priority in Nassau.  Conclusion:  Good for what we used it for.

Show reservations.  We did have reservations for all three shows.  For The Gift, we completely forgot about it so I have no clue.  For Spectra’s Cabaret, I just walked in and sat down.  Noone checked if I had reservations and I found a seat quickly so I did not sit in or know where the key area was.  For We Will Rock You, we ended up going to an earlier performance (matinee) in the standby line and got in fine so we didn’t use our reservation.  Conclusion:  I think one of my main reasons for getting the key was for shows but ended up not using it.  My fault.

Private hours at rides.  To me, this was the biggest fail and my one real complaint. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the schedule but it pretty much sucked.  If I can find the paper, I’ll upload it.  There was not something every day.  A couple of days had nothing.  The times they gave us for Ifly and Northstar were port times.  Conclusion: lousy.

Disembarkation breakfast.  Lovely.  Conclusion:  Thumbs Up.

Disembarkation.  Very very good.  You go to the Shore Excursion desk and say you are ready to leave.  They hold up a key sign and walk you by everyone, help you find your luggage, then escort you directly to Customs.  Conclusion:  If they wanted to charge me $50 just for that, I would pay it. 

 

So overall it had some good points and bad points.  For the use we personally got out of it, not worth it for our family.

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2 hours ago, Lionesss said:

For those cruisers who have used the KEY on tendering ports, lets say Grand Cayman.  When you return to  the port area after visiting the Island, and the line is long to get a tender to get back to the ship................do they have a different line for you to use?

 

Just curious if anyone encountered this.

 

Thanks

 

When I was on Anthem last week, I actually asked a staff member about that. They said no special line for getting back on the ship. None of our stops used tenders, and only two of the three stops had priority disembarkation. I never encountered a line getting back on the ship as I never stayed in port all day.  Good luck and try to have fun on your cruise! 

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Travelling in August on harmony and have been looking at the key

can anyone tell me if this is a good option to take

Thanks

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9 minutes ago, JEANMR1 said:

My review of the Key on Anthem of the Seas 4/6/19-4/13/19

Short review:  Overall a fairly bad value for my particular family but possibly a moderate value for other families.

Long review:

Cost.  I bought the key when it was 19.99 so it was roughly $560 for my family (2 adults, 11 yo, 8 yo).

Embarkation process.  We got their early (about 10) to get the most out of being on the ship so it was prior to regular embarkation so we did have to wait.  We were loaded on right after the handicap people so that was fairly quick.  However I have heard the process at Bayonne is good anyway and some other people that came a bit later said they walked right on anyway.  Conclusion:  Not a huge perk there. 

Embarkation lunch.  We had lunch at Chops.  It was fairly crowded and our waiter was not terribly friendly so my view is skewed a little by him.  The food was pretty good but I asked if there were kids menus and he said no.  The kids just ate the side of mac and cheese.  Conclusion: meh – but mostly due to the particular waiter. 

Internet.  I know this was a big part of the cost and we did use the internet.  However I don’t usually get the internet because cruise ships are the last place I get to feel unplugged.  That said, it was nice to have the internet, be able to check on my dog, text with my 11 yo on the ship, and chill out a little surfing the web before bed.  The streaming was very buffer’y though.  Conclusion:  If you were already getting the internet for everyone, then the key becomes more valuable.

Priority disembarkation at ports.  Ok this was nice at Coco Cay.  They had us meet in the Music Hall and took us off the ship first thing.  If I didn’t have a beach bed already booked, we would have gotten the best seats anywhere we wanted due to being first.  Didn’t get off in Port Canaveral so I don’t know how that went.  No priority in Nassau.  Conclusion:  Good for what we used it for.

Show reservations.  We did have reservations for all three shows.  For The Gift, we completely forgot about it so I have no clue.  For Spectra’s Cabaret, I just walked in and sat down.  Noone checked if I had reservations and I found a seat quickly so I did not sit in or know where the key area was.  For We Will Rock You, we ended up going to an earlier performance (matinee) in the standby line and got in fine so we didn’t use our reservation.  Conclusion:  I think one of my main reasons for getting the key was for shows but ended up not using it.  My fault.

Private hours at rides.  To me, this was the biggest fail and my one real complaint. Unfortunately, I don’t have a pic of the schedule but it pretty much sucked.  If I can find the paper, I’ll upload it.  There was not something every day.  A couple of days had nothing.  The times they gave us for Ifly and Northstar were port times.  Conclusion: lousy.

Disembarkation breakfast.  Lovely.  Conclusion:  Thumbs Up.

Disembarkation.  Very very good.  You go to the Shore Excursion desk and say you are ready to leave.  They hold up a key sign and walk you by everyone, help you find your luggage, then escort you directly to Customs.  Conclusion:  If they wanted to charge me $50 just for that, I would pay it. 

 

So overall it had some good points and bad points.  For the use we personally got out of it, not worth it for our family.

Interesting, we boarded before the handicap people. As we were walking on the ship, I saw them all sitting in a certain area still waiting. 

Here’s a pic of the schedule for that week. 

2189E084-CEA5-46AB-B089-72BFBF4D929A.jpeg

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11 minutes ago, TennisCruiser62 said:

Interesting, we boarded before the handicap people. As we were walking on the ship, I saw them all sitting in a certain area still waiting. 

Here’s a pic of the schedule for that week. 

2189E084-CEA5-46AB-B089-72BFBF4D929A.jpeg

 

I realized I misspoke about two things.  Yes it was with the pinnacles, etc. that we boarded right after.  Not the handicap.  Basically we were second group to board.  Also, it was Ifly only that was smack in the middle of a port day.  I overheard some other key guest trying to get them to change the time in guest services and they said no.  Can you see how sucky the private times were?

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, JEANMR1 said:

 

I realized I misspoke about two things.  Yes it was with the pinnacles, etc. that we boarded right after.  Not the handicap.  Basically we were second group to board.  Also, it was Ifly only that was smack in the middle of a port day.  I overheard some other key guest trying to get them to change the time in guest services and they said no.  Can you see how sucky the private times were?

Totally sucky! 👎


They totally make it sucky now... 🙄 😱

Edited by Thorben-Hendrik

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1 hour ago, JEANMR1 said:

 

I realized I misspoke about two things.  Yes it was with the pinnacles, etc. that we boarded right after.  Not the handicap.  Basically we were second group to board.  Also, it was Ifly only that was smack in the middle of a port day.  I overheard some other key guest trying to get them to change the time in guest services and they said no.  Can you see how sucky the private times were?

I booked ifly  when we were on the ship first day plus I can do it again with key private time which is an evening time.  

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17 minutes ago, JEANMR1 said:

 

I realized I misspoke about two things.  Yes it was with the pinnacles, etc. that we boarded right after.  Not the handicap.  Basically we were second group to board.  Also, it was Ifly only that was smack in the middle of a port day.  I overheard some other key guest trying to get them to change the time in guest services and they said no.  Can you see how sucky the private times were?

 

 

 

You probably boarded after Pinnacles, suite guest waiting area.

 

Then Key

 

Then  D+

 

If I am reading your post correctly.

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35 minutes ago, JEANMR1 said:

 

I realized I misspoke about two things.  Yes it was with the pinnacles, etc. that we boarded right after.  Not the handicap.  Basically we were second group to board.  Also, it was Ifly only that was smack in the middle of a port day.  I overheard some other key guest trying to get them to change the time in guest services and they said no.  Can you see how sucky the private times were?

For most it was, but my husband and I were the only ones who showed up for the iFly hour and that was great for us. If I hadn’t been to Nassau before I probably would have been disappointed too!

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Dual posted with my review thread on Symphony 4/13...

Today we met with Katie the Activities Manager about The Key. She advised that seeing Adrian was the right thing to do and if we don’t get things resolved as the week goes on and Adrian is off the ship to elevate to Chris the hotel director.

We explained to her what happened at Hiro and how many people couldn’t be seated and asked why they don’t reserve seats for everyone that has a reservation that meets the criteria. She said that was a very good idea and asked us to include it on our survey but that they don’t have a report that provides that (I’m having a hard time believing that this is true but then I talked myself into the fact that maybe RoyalIT doesn’t have this info shared in the same database? ). She said that people with The Key should get there 30 min prior so we showed her the flyer in our room that said 15 min and the hold would have been lifted sometime after that.

She did look up our show schedule and said she would have reserved seating in her favorite 8 seats for all of the remaining shows we had booked. We will see how it plays out...it’s a nice gesture but obviously falls into the category of keeping the guests happy but not fixing the problem.

I also showed Katie some of the schedules and experiences posted in this thread and how I felt that the inconsistency across the fleet / even across a class of ships was really a problem. When deciding to spend that money for a cruise you look at others experience and reviews and it’s so vastly different that it adds to the frustration. She was interested by some of the schedules posted here and asked if I had shared with Adrian - I told her not in the detail I had shown her but I told her where to find it all if she wanted to go look!

Lastly - we talked to Katie about the wrist bands. I told her that Adrian was surprised we didn’t get one and that they were delivered to our room but that we didn’t know what they were for as they were not in the documentation. She told us they were for priority access at activities and even called the head of the sports staff to ask what they were for and how they worked. He confirmed the process to show them to the sport staff and they would work you into the ride - 3 regular to 1 priority rider ratio was mentioned.



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