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I bought The Key for my past cruise on Harmony of the Seas 5/12 - 5/19. At the price of $19.99 it was a very good value, but I wouldn't pay more than that. I traveled by myself so I paid for one Key.

 

The Key gave me wifi which normally costs about $15 per day, so they difference in price, $5 per day or $35 for the week is what I would evaluate. For that price I received a wonderful Chops Steak lunch on embarkation day and a specialty breakfast prior to getting off the ship. Those would cost $35 in any restaurant in town so it was a good value and very good food/service. I also received specialty seating at the shows, priority getting off the ship in ports, and priority debarkation when I got home. Certainly good for $19.99 but not worth a penny more.

 

Chops Lunch on boarding was held in the Main Dining Room on Deck 4, not in the Steak House. At first I didn't like the idea, but now I believe it was very smart. You do not need reservations, eat at anytime, get a good seat, the same food, and no crowds.

The value for me was in being able to drop off my luggage when I first boarded, but I don't think that was worth the extra $35 above the wifi cost. 

 

Even without The Key they got people on and off the ship very swiftly. I could do without the Chops lunch and specialty breakfast. And the only difference in the seating in the shows between regular "Reserved" and "The Key" was the location of the seats. You could get better seats without The Key. But I need my wifi and I liked to be able to drop off my carry on luggage at 1st boarding.

 

I did not use the Flow Rider of any of the other such activities, but the reserved times were 1 hour each and on only very days during the cruise.

 

Very interesting was "The Key" evaluation questionnaire at the end of the cruise. One of the questions was about the 12 noon early access to my stateroom. But I didn't get early access to my stateroom and neither did the several other "Key" people I asked. I am wondering if this will be a new feature or if it might be an unadvertised current feature of "The Key." It would be great if it were available.

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Hi there! Copying my review from the May 12th sailing of Oasis of the Seas Mediterranean sailing. 

 

We just boarded in Barcelona and no one really knew about The Key at the Port. We got on the priority line anyway because we refused to not get a benefit that we paid for and they let us through with only a little push back. But really no one knew about it and that was frustrating. There was some signage after security that we should’ve just followed instead of asking because no one knew anyway so it was a waste of time. We got an envelope with details about the Key for our sailing with our SeaPass Cards at check in. All the activity hours are on the last day of sailing (our only sea day) which seems unfair to everyone on board, not just Key members, and is not what was detailed when we purchased it. Not to mention that the Ice Skating is only a half hour not the hour advertised when we bought it. We purchased it when it was still DAILY hours but they’ve clearly changed it even the fact that you won’t get a full hour for each activity. 

 

They’ve seemed to compensate by allowing us to join the “priority line” at  other times. We’re thinking that means there will be two lines at almost all times for each activity but we don’t know for sure. We’ll be looking to see how that works and if it’s better than flashing a card or wristband and “skipping” the line which isn’t ideal. Boarding was super quick and easy though (though maybe that was due to the time we arrived?) and we were on the ship within 15 minutes. 

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My review of each "Perk":

 

Luggage Drop off - Fantastic. Super easy and quick. It was great to get rid of my heavy carry-on.

 

Chops  - Lunch at Chops was GREAT and the food was delicious, however the wait was not ideal. There really wasn't a line or anyone giving information and I waited a long time to be seated even though we could see that there were tables available. We felt a little forgotten about while we watched other tables order and get their food while we were still sitting there without even bread and butter. This is a feeling that will continue throughout the cruise.

 

VOOM - um...it didn't really work in our room (Deck 9, overlooking the Boardwalk) so it was lowkey a waste of money. We could use it the theaters (Deck 4), in the casino (Deck 4), and sometimes in the dining room (Deck 3) and that was kind of about it. Some days it worked better than others but we had a really hard time for about 3 or 4 days getting it to work at all let alone in the places mentioned above. It would look like it was connected but no pages or apps would load. Everyone talks about how fast RC's internet is but we didn't experience that and all guest services wanted to do was tell us it was an issue with our phones which we knew it wasn't because they connected to internet and wifi just fine in Port. 

 

Reserved Seating - we only used it twice but that was on us. When we used it the seats were amazing and we wouldn't have gotten as great seats if we hadn't used this perk. I never saw anyone checking reservations at the front?????? So like...how did they know we actually had reservations or not? They did check to see if we had The Key Sticker on our SeaPass though before being allowed to sit in the reserved area. We didn't use the Aqua Show reservation because we could see well from our Boardwalk Balcony, and then we were just tired at night so didn't use the reserved seating for the late shows. We were either at Dinner after long days in Port or too tired. We saw the Ice Skating show first row center and I couldn't have asked for better seats and we saw Come Fly With Me dead center as well (but not first row). We showed up too late for reserved seating for CATS but we got decent seats anyway. So YMMV with this perk

 

Private Activity Hours - well the only one we wanted to do was the ice skating and it actually a half hour and we slept through it after 5 full port days.  They were all on the same day which was not doable and I won't rehash it but it was dumb and we didn't appreciate it. 

 

Priority Line for Activities - never saw one

 

Luggage Tags - We put our luggage out by 10pm the night before debarkation with The Key Luggage Tags. It was super easy to find them in the terminal after we debarked as they were already there waiting in The Key section towards the back close to the exit. 

 

A La Carte Breakfast - Menu with special "Key" items was a nice touch. Some of our group liked the Crab Benedict...however...again with the feeling forgotten thing... Quite a few tables arrived after us (after we'd ordered even) and all of them got their food before us. We were in a bit of a rush to catch our flight but didn't want to miss out on this perk so we arrived early and let the waiter know we had an earlyish flight to catch. We still waited close to (maybe even over?) 45 minutes before our food arrived when other tables who had ordered the exact same thing had already been served. We really expected exemplary service for the Chops lunch and the a la carte breakfast considering we paid extra for these meals, but we had 3000% better service every other day of the cruise in the Main Dining Room that was included in the base price of the cruise. We really did not like feeling as though we weren't "as important" as other guests and "forgotten about" when we really all essentially paid the same price to be there. It was just weird. Ultimately, we had to rush to eat and then rush off the ship and then rush to the airport and so on and so forth. It was't a very good last impression to leave on and actually set off our day in a not...very good...way to put it nicely. It left us attempting to "catch up" for the rest of the day and we almost missed our flight.

 

Escort off the ship - Worked great until it didn't. We were escorted from the dining room up to Deck 5 to meet our official escort off the ship. He walked us right over to where they scan you out and we got a few dirty looks lol. It would have been fabulous if I hadn't been prevented from leaving the ship because of something that I thought was taken care of with Guest Services the day before. So after I went and told them "Hey we fixed this yesterday???" I was allowed to leave but still had to wait on a bit of a line this time so the escort ended up being kind of useless in the end, but would've been great had I been allowed to leave the first time LOL

 

Summary: All-in-all I do think it was a good deal considering we were going to purchase internet anyway. So to get all the "extras" in addition to the internet was a pretty good deal in my opinion. However, after having tried the internet and how it DID NOT WORK FOR DAYS AT A TIME we will not be purchasing The Key again. Also most likely won't be cruising with Royal Caribbean again for many reasons, of which Internet is a tiny blip and the actions/attitudes of other guests, the complete disorganization, and the just general non-communication are a huge dent. I hate to say it wasn't worth the money spent because we did enjoy the lunch at Chops and the reserved seating and, when it was working, the internet. I really think it had a lot going for it and if it was more refined fleet-wide and everything working the way it is actually supposed to then it would be a hard deal to beat. But with the price increase and the seemingly unknown factor of what experience you'll get I can't say that I recommend it. I did enjoy certain aspects of it VERY very much but I just don't think I'd pay that higher price point for the total experience I received. 

 

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I was on the extended 10 night Anthem trip that just ended. This was my first time cruising solo, and purchased the Key for 20.00/night. As a solo, purchasing the surf and stream was always in the plans, so the few extra dollars a day seemed like a decent offer. My Key experience was similar to most other reviews. Embarcation was super easy, arrived at the port at 10am, was allowed to wait in the front of the line and was one of the first passengers on the ship! At the final security kiosk, I was directed to the side and given a wrist band as my Key Pass until rooms opened up, and all my Key information, including internet password. I dropped off my carry on bag at the theater entrance. Lunch opened at 1130, and Chops was excellent. Avoiding the craziness in the WJ was so nice! My bag was in my room when it opened up. As others have stated, the activities were extremely limited, and the North Star was down for our entire cruise. Reserved seating at the shows was great, near the front of the theater, and front and center on the second level in two70. You still need to make reservations though. I skipped the debarcation breakfast, and had both bags with me. Headed to the Next Cruise desk as instructed, met the Key personnel, and was escorted right to customs checkout. I timed it, 14 minutes from my room on deck 11 to the waiting area outside the port!

 

The Key worked for me as a solo cruiser who planned to get the internet package anyway, I personally do not think it would have been worth it for anyone with more than 2 in their stateroom?

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Just sailed on the Adventure of the Seas out of Cape Liberty 8-night from 5-17-2019 to 5-25-2019…

I Purchased The Key in January 2019 at $19.99/person/day for 2 adults.

This is only my second cruise and my first with RCL. I’m a very good consumer and usually purchase extras and upgrades. For example, for this cruise, in addition to the Key, I purchased the Deluxe drink package, the Unlimited dining and a Chill Island cabana on Coco Cay.

Key benefits we used & loved: Chops lunch on first day. VOOM Surf & Stream. Priority port dis-embarking. VIP seating in Studio B. Main dining room breakfast on last day. Priority dis-embarking on last day.

Key benefits we did not use: Carry-on drop off. VIP seating in Lyric theater. Key time slots for rockwall, flowrider & ice skating activities.

During on line check-in I was able to choose 11:30am arrival at port. The boarding pass printed during online check-in did not have Key symbol.

Arrived at Cape Liberty via bus around 10:30 or 11am.

No special Key cue for security.

After security, Key Welcome signs at separate cue for Check-in. The lovely woman who checked us in ran to get our Key paperwork all the way at the other end of the terminal, we waited a few minutes for her to return and she apologized profusely for the wait. She handed us our Key envelopes, then opened the side of the cue to let us in front of others in line to go right up the escalator to the gangway.

As we entered the ship, Key Welcome signs for carry-on luggage drop off were at the theater door. I did not drop any bags.

We were in line at 11:25am waiting for 11:30am for Chops to open.

Chops lunch was nice. Shrimp cocktail & Caesar salad, then filets cooked perfectly rare and medium rare and finally cheese cake for us both. Most tables were filled, but it was quiet and relaxed. Lunch was finished around 12:30pm, we got seats at the bar at Schooner’s for some drinks and then we were taking pictures of Manhattan from our stateroom balcony at 1:30pm.

I used the VOOM info in our envelopes to connect to the Surf & Stream during lunch. The printed instructions did not match the screens on my phone. I was impatient and tapped the $159 option to connect. My boyfriend was not impatient and a few hours later he tapped the $0 option to connect. I cleared this up with Guest Services and the $159 charge was credited a few days later.

Our room keys were waiting at our room and had the Key symbol sticker on the cards.

We did not use any of the designated Key times for the Rockwall, Flowrider, nor ice skating. (Sorry, I tossed the paper.)

I used the VIP seating in Studio B for the ice show twice. Both times, I showed up 15 minutes prior, there was a Key Welcome sign and ambassador at the door and I was escorted to the roped off section on the corner.

We did not use priority dis-embakring at Kings Warf Bermuda, we just walked off the ship onto the pier, no line.

We received a phone call while in our room telling us to use the priority disembarking for the next ports.

For Nassau Bahamas dis-embarking, we met in the Champagne lounge with a Key Welcome sign. The ambassador asked for our room number, counted us, and said “ok, please be prepared for some nasty looks from other guests.” And we were off, down several flights of stairs single file, conga line style. I just kept my head down and clenched my boyfriend’s shirt. Thank god another Key participant behind me had her hand on my shoulder and kept saying to the un-washed masses, “excuse us, we need to keep up with our escort…”

The Coco Cay dis-embarking was a similar experience.

Last day breakfast was at our leisure between 6:30 and 9:00am in the main dining room deck 5. Boyfriend had steak and eggs, I had scrambled eggs and sausage. It was so nice to be able to eat, sit and relax, without first being elbowed by teenagers in the buffet line. We had a hard time flagging down a server for missing toast. The couple next to us, also had a hard time finding a server when they needed milk and coffee.

Last day priority dis-embarking was no reservations needed, just meet in front of the main dining room deck 5. Escorted conga lines were leaving every half hour starting 7:00am. We were grouped with a guest in a wheel chair so while we used the stairs and escalators, the wheel chair used the elevators and we had to wait for our escort. Our luggage was in a corral marked Key and we had our own no-wait Customs line.

Is there value in the Key program for your vacation needs & style? The Key worked great for us at this price. Before sailing, we were undecided about the purchasing the internet, but the Key benefits and pricing made our decision.

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Posted (edited)

We were on Harmony of the Seas from May 19 to May 26.  We purchased the Key for $24.99 per person.  Just a little about us to understand our review - My husband and I have been married 27 years and never really had a vacation together.  I have always wanted to go on a cruise and this was our very first cruise.  I did not know how many we would get in the future so this was a "once in a lifetime" type of vacation for us.  We were very excited to go and wanted this vacation to go smoothly.  We were very nervous about spending the money on the Key based on prior reviews and how haphazard the implementation of it had been. In the end, we were very pleased with it for our needs.

 

We purchased the Key primarily for the ease in embarkation, debarkation, carry on drop off, the first day lunch and last day breakfast, priority at ports and show seating.  We were not as interested in the activity days and times.  I will say here, however, if you are doing it for that reason, we only had one hour for each activity during the week.  I do not know if that would be worth it if that had been our goal  It seemed that the times were in conflict with our meals or other plans.  

 

To start, due to the Oasis cancellations, our cruise was fully booked.  When we got to Port Canaveral at about 10:30 am, the place was filled with people waiting to board.  Right off, I was hoping the Key would work for us.  Thankfully, it did.  I have some pictures I will upload later.  But, right inside the port, there was a turquoise sign with two men waiting to greet Key members.  We were given our Key letters with information and sent to check in.  After checking in, we were sent directly to the Key waiting area which had priority boarding.  I know that there was also priority for Diamond class, etc. and we did not board before them.  We did, however, get to board before hundreds of people who filled up the terminal.  We had a short wait before they called us and boarding was easy and quick.  We were also told at check in that the Chops lunch had changed to the Main Dining Room.  (More on that later).  

 

When we got on the ship, we were sent to the Main Dining Room to drop off our carry on luggage.  I had worried this would not be available because another member of these boards had not been given this benefit on the Harmony earlier.  I was grateful they had it up and running for this cruise.  We dropped off our luggage and explored a bit before lunch started at 11:30.  Turns out, lunch was in the main dining room, but it was the Chops lunch.  The food was excellent.  (I do have some pictures that I will have to add later).  We had great service and a relaxing lunch.  

 

Our first port of call was Coco Cay.  Our letter said we would have priority debarkation at ports so we went down with our key tags.  The person running the LONG line said, "Go to the back."  I explained we had the key.  Again, he said, "Go to the back."  I was disheartened as I had hoped the Key would be working like it should and that employees would know what they were doing.  Nope.  We went to the back.  Fortunately, another gentleman came and found us and said, "You have the Key?"  When I confirmed we did, he told us to follow him and he brought us to another debarkation place on the ship and let us in the front of the line.  Whew.  Close call for the Key on that one.  It was nice to get off early at Coco Cay and get our beach chairs set up and take pictures before the crowds.  In the end, the crowds were not bad at all because we were the only ship there, but I still appreciated the chance to get off and get our beach loungers and get situated where we wanted to be. 

 

During the week, every show we went to had Key seating right behind the Diamond row.  There seemed to be more Key members than seating on our particular sailing so we still got there about 20 minutes early, 30 minutes for the Fine Line Aqua show.  The seats for Grease, the skating show, Colombus, the Headliner, and the Fine Line were great seats for us.  There was always a person holding a Key sign at each show saving the seats.  Like I said, though, Key seating could run out when the shows are filled.  Because our ship was totally full, we did get there early to take advantage of the Key seats.  Had we not had the Key seats, we would have had to get there even earlier to get decent seats because many of our shows were filled to capacity.  

 

Our letter did not mention the towel checkout benefit that some have mentioned and we did have to checkout towels the same as everyone else.  No biggie for us.  We did not expect that but thought I would mention it in case others wondered.  

 

On the final evening, we had special Key tags delivered to our room and got to pick our time of departure.  We left our luggage marked with the Key tags outside the door and got up a little later in the morning.  We went to the breakfast (available until 8:30 am) in the Main Dining Room.  We enjoyed a nice breakfast with great service.  We were on a different floor than the majority of people eating and it wasn't as crowded and didn't feel as rushed.  

 

We were not escorted off the ship personally like some have described, but there was a special area for the Key people to get off.  You had to search a bit to find it.  Then, it was hard to know what to do or not do.  We ended up waiting behind a big group until someone told us that, with the Key, we could just go ahead to our luggage.  We did that.  One man did loudly complain about us cutting but I was ok with that.  He just didn't know and I wasn't going to stop to explain.  We found our luggage in the designated Key area.  As I said, the ship had been full and getting off the ship at the time we did was fairly crowded so I was grateful for whatever help we could get.  We were also new so that probably complicated things a bit too. 

 

The night before leaving we got a call in our stateroom asking us specifically how we liked the Key and how it worked for us.  I gave them an honest review.  When I told them about the first port debarkation and being sent to the back of the line, the man calling said they had trained everyone to know what the Key was and said, "someone always has to ruin it, don't they?"  I thought that was funny.  I told him that it turned out fine but that they really needed to make sure all employees understood.  From the call, I got the feeling that they were really working on it.  I also got a Key survey to fill out.  I rated most areas well, except for the availability of activities.  Like I said at the outset, that did not matter as much to us, but I know it does to some.  

 

We also appreciated the Voom Surf and Stream.  We had to be connected due to our jobs and found it worked really well for us.  My husband did do the zipline, but he was able to find a time that there were few people on it and he got right on and enjoyed it.  We did not do the other activities, but, like I said, they were only one hour each at specific hours during the week.  

 

I hope I have covered everything.  I will try to add the pictures.  I benefited a lot from all the reviews left in the past and that helped me decide.  In the end, I was very glad to have the Key for this special sailing.  If I ever get to go on a cruise again, to cut costs, I probably would just wait in line and go to shows earlier, etc.  But, for this special cruise, we really really enjoyed the lunch, the breakfast, the priority, the show seating, picking our debarkation time, and the carry on assistance.  It added a special touch to our first ever cruise that made it easier for us to enjoy the cruise.  

 

In the end, I have to say it was an AMAZING vacation (which you cruisers already know) and it was just put over the top by the Key benefits.  For our unique situation, I would recommend it.  For frequent cruisers, it is probably not a necessity for every trip, particularly if the price goes up.  

Edited by KB Cruisin

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Photos for KEY review on Harmony May 19 to 26:

1. Welcome area upon arrival to terminal

2. Key signage at seating area in terminal

3. Key sign at main dining room for carry on drop off (and lunch at 11:30)

4. Lunch menu for Key

5. Activity Hours for Key

6. Shrimp cocktail at lunch

7. Cheesecake at lunch

 

 

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We just wrapped up a four-night Bahamas cruise on the Navigator of the Seas.  We had the Key, got to the terminal about 9:30am, checked in, did security, sat in the Key area and were literally the first to board at 10:40am.  

 

We had already dropped our luggage with the stevedores, but should have waited and dropped it at the Key area on deck 4.  Information was sort of scarce.  We didn’t receive our bags until about 5pm.  Fortunately we had packed swimsuits and sunblock and were able to enjoy the pools and slides.

 

-The internet package was great.

-We didn’t know until the last day that the Key acts as a “fast pass” for the water slides (grr).

-The Chops lunch was excellent (filet)

-We only used the priority seating for the ice show, but there was plenty of room at the other shows.

-Our departure breakfast this morning was really nice.

-Info on departure procedures was a bit sketchy, but we left our baggage in the cabin during breakfast and after we grabbed our luggage and just went to the bamboo room to be escorted off (shorter line) 

-Our “checked luggage” was with everyone else’s, no specific “Key” Area was marked off at customs. 

 

We’ll sail RCI again!

 

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Hello, we just got back today from NE/Canada on Adventure of the Seas. This was out 2nd cruise, 1st with Royal. For us, the Key was worth it just for the ease of debarkation alone. The breakfast this morning was also perfect...quiet and relaxed in the dining room, then we just disembarked from there with our escort. 

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So my family and I had a really positive experiance with "The Key" and I wanted to weigh in with 'the was it worth it' question.

In my family of 3 we all were already considering internet pacakages (Surf and Stream). So we took that into consideration with the price we paid. We also bought it while it was on sale so we paid $20 per person per day. Keeping that in mind... It was absolutely worth it!

Here's why:

1. Priority embarkation. Once we got into the check in building, we got into the priority line with suites and such and there was about 4 families ahead of us. This is compared to the hundreds (if not thousands) of people in the other lines. We didn't book a suite and our Crown and Anchor level is Gold (the lowest). So there is no way we could have skipped the lines otherwise. We go onto the ship in about 15 minutes. This was at about 11:00 am.

2. Priority disembarkation. As part of They Key, we were the 3rd group off the ship and were personally escorted off in a group of about 8. Some picked up thier luggage, we carried our own. By the time we got to customs, we were in line ahead of people who said they were in the first group off the ship. Later on at the airport, we heard others with horror stories of being customs for hours. There are 10 customs officers to process 4000 people! It took us 10-15 minutes to get off the ship and get through customs. So worth it.

3. Embarkation Lunch/ Disembarkation Breakfast. While everyone else was hustling and bustling for food. We enjoyed a leisurely and relaxed meal. A wonderful way to start and end a cruise.

4. Private hours. We did flowrider and there were 5 people in line ahead of us. We also did the the ice skating and had the ice to ourselves and 1 other family. That's 1 hour of ice time with only 5 people on the ice total. Amazing!!! One of the best experiances my family had on the cruise.

5. Reserved seating. For most shows we just came early and found a seat. But for one show, we were running late and showed up to the theater 2 minutes before the show and were shown to our reserved seats. They were on the uppper deck so not the closest, but there was a bar just for those guests (so no waiting) and because it was semi private, after the show we could leave without being in the massive crush of people.

In conclusion, if you are even thinking about purchasing internet, spring for "The Key". The time saving is sooo worth it. Especially if you are a low level C&A and don't have a suite. A much more relaxed experiance on the 2 busiest days. 

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Just completed a 3 day sailing on the Navigator and want to chime on the Key benefits.  Embarkation was nice we got our own special line in Miami and were on the ship in perhaps 2 minutes.  But the lines for regular embarkation at noon were not too bad, we probably saved ourselves 15 minutes.  Chops lunch was delicious, probably my favorite part of the Key program.  As for priority seating and access to activities, the Key didn't seem to add much of value for us!  Every show we went to did not fill up until well after it started.  We did not try to go to the ice show, where it may have made a difference.  We went to the waterslides during special "Key" hours and had it all to ourselves but the reserved time was when everybody was off the ship (CocoCay).  So it didn't seem that special.  Breakfast on last day was very nice but we still had to be off of the ship by 9 AM so it wasn't as relaxed as i would have liked.

 

Bottom line: for a 3 day cruise it seemed worth it but on a seven day cruise I would look carefully at the difference between internet packages and key.  Basically for us it was internet + a nice first day lunch + a nice last day breakfast.  I would say RCI already does a nice job of making everybody feel like a VIP so the other aspects of the program are marginally valuable.  

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We sailed on the June 14th Ovation to Alaska.

First impression of the Seattle Port was not good.  It looked crazy busy, our driver dropped us off and there were two long lines waiting to drop off their luggage.  I asked a porter where we were supposed to go, and he took our luggage with no wait and told us to go into a building and look for key signage.  Once inside, they directed us to a line for key members, however another employee called us over and helped us, she had no line and we went straight onto the ship.  No waits, no lines, it was wonderful.  Maybe it took 5 minutes all together.  Make sure you put your luggage tags on before you get to port, or you’ll be in one of those long lines.

 

Key signage was plentiful, we went to the check in table, received our internet codes, then we dropped off my carry on, the employee told my husband not to drop his off as it was full of camera equipment.  Then we headed to Chops for lunch.  It was opening shortly so we waited in line for a few minutes.  The key menu was expanded from what I previously saw, and our lunch was delicious and probably took just under an hour. 

 

We went to our room to find my carryon bag did not arrive, but our larger bags were there.  Had me a bit worried, but our room attendant was amazing and found the missing bag right away and brought it to our room. 

 

Our key paperwork was in our room showing additional times you could sign up for Northstar and I Fly make sure you read it as the additional times had to be reserved on certain days, if you wait to long to reserve there won’t be any slots left.  There was a priority line for bumper cars, but I forgot to take a photo and don’t remember what else was there.   We did have reserved seating for shows which was nice.  On the back side of the paper there were times listed for key members to meet and get off the ship at port.  If you didn’t want to go at that particular time, you just needed to show your sea pass card with the key symbol and they walked you to the front of the line.

Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was nice.  We went to the key breakfast and after they walked us to our luggage, once again by passing all the lines.  We got a porter to haul our luggage and he walked us to a separate line to get a cab by passing many people.

For us the key was well worth the money, we paid $19.99, there were no lines to wait in, and a peaceful lunch and breakfast with no crowds was wonderful.

 

Key lunch menu.jpg

The Key Lunch.jpg

The Key Breakfast Menu.jpg

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Allure of the Seas with the Key6/30/19.  key was sold out for cruise.  Embarkation time was 11am, showed up at 1030 am (with no Key sign on Setsail pass), made no difference. We just said we had Key ( tho had paperwork) and were put straight thru separate line.  Very easy and onboard in mere minutes. Other line was minimal, but certainly slower. Dropped carry on luggage off (as well as some small bags) so were bag free and that was appreciated. They marked us off a printed list. Told bags would be inside stateroom

( they all were there by 1 when we got there) Signage onboard for Key area poor, but asked and were easily directed to area. Were told no wrist bands needed.

Went to get our times for specialty dine at a kiosk/stand.. simple and quick and got exact places/time we wanted for each. 

Key...Chops lunch was delicious, in/out in an hour. Greatly enjoyed. 

Went to stateroom about 1pm and key paperwork was in room with a welcome fruit platter. No WiFi password 😞. List of 

times for activities. Seemed reasonable times and tho I Viewed the activities, did not participate. Had to go to deck 5, clock tower to get WiFi set up..took about 10 minutes online. Easy and worked well for us. 

( as an aside, The App for the free WiFi .. room to room texting was lacking. No notification system and unless other person/s had app open/active, it is basically useless. With our large group/staterooms we found many times names were not correct... kids names popped up for adults, we often thought we were talking to one person yet it was another within same stateroom. Needs tweaking And a Notification system.(  We  used small boards on doors) 

seating for shows with Key worked well for us. Generally Key, suites and Pinnacle(?) has about three rows. ( small key sticker on our passes.. we used a piece of tape over it and punched hold for wrist wearing... $1 At Lowe’s, worked well) 

we saw adult Comedy, blue planet, OceanAria, Momma Mia, Ice games, all of them actually. only issue was Ocean Aria.. Key Area full. We were then walked upstairs by the rock climbing wall and given chairs to look onto the stage. We liked the view and it actually worked well for us. ( and anyone can do this as there are chairs and it’s not crowded😉

wifi ( mail/text etc) worked fine for us. 

 

Disembarkation with Key was a Joy ( after the private Key a la carte breakfast at Silk dining room .. which was delicious, in/out 35 minutes and greatly enjoyed). There was no sign for Key guests to disembark but I asked. They whisked us onto an elevator, we bypassed hundreds of people. Went to a Key designated area where all our luggage was ( given Key tags nite before and basically told Any departure time with Key was good). Grabbed our bags, thru customs quickly and on our way.  

For us, the Key seating, included wi fi, private quieter breakfast and Chops ( or giovannis) lunch and ease of everything was well worth it. All rccl people we spoke with/inquired knew of Key and correctly directed us etc. 

would do again. 

As far as the cruise.. likely wouldn’t , but that’s not Key related. ( Separate review pending) 

Enjoy your Key Cruise! 

 

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My husband and myself got off the Ovation last Friday and we thought the  key was great.  Boarding in  Seattle was very crowded at 1130am but we saw the key sign and were directed to the next available agent for the checkin process.  Once onboard there was a key sign and we were directed to the Grand dining  room for the Chops lunch menu. Not crowded and no lines. We were handed our key  envelope prior to being seated.

We only used the designated times for the  Northstar and we would have been the only ones on, but we said  ok to other non key  people joining us. 

We used the expedited departure at the stops in both Juneau and Victoria we great.  In Juneau we were about the 6th and 7th people off. In Victoria maybe the 30th. In both cases we had either a taxi or family  meeting us.  No crowds to deal with. On arrival back in  Seattle it was  have breakfast and leave at your leisure anytime before 10Am. Didn't have to wait for anyone to escort us off the ship.  All in all I would say it was worth it.  Plus it included Voom.

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Posted (edited)

The MDR arrival lunch for key on Symphony.  NO Chops or Jamies

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Edited by norway olin

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Key Review for Serenade out of Stockholm on July 7, 2019

 

I'll keep this quick, the short answer is that I'm glad that we got the The Key for our cruise. 

 

  • Embarkation - At the Stockholm terminal, there weren't any Key signs, but we breeze through check-in in about five minutes. Once we crossed the gangway, we saw the large Key sign, and we were able to hand over our hand luggage. We also collected an envelope with a list of our perks and the access codes for the wifi.
  • Lunch at Chops: Because we boarded at 11:30am, I really liked this perk. It was a calm way to have some lunch before the cabins were ready. I don't have a photo of the menu, but the selection was similar to the ones posted in other reviews. When cabins were ready at 1:30pm, our hand luggage was waiting in the room for us. Our SeaPass cards were on our door, and there was a Key symbol on them.
  • Wifi: Really liked this perk as I would have purchased it anyway. 
  • Priority Disembarkation: The port this helped us the most was St. Petersburg. Key guests were able to get off the ship in between the Royal Caribbean booked tours and those who had booked independent tours. We were off the ship at 8am and met our independent tour. Other ports we just walked off the ship ourselves. 
  • Last Day Breakfast: Did not participate
  • Priority Seating for Shows: Did not participate (too tired from the (awesome) port intensive itinerary)
  • Select times for Activities: Did not participate (only the Rock Wall was on Serenade)

Even though we didn't use all the perks, I still believe that The Key was worth the price and would purchase it again, especially since I would buy WiFi for each person in the cabin anyway. The biggest perk was being able to get off at St. Petersburg before the non-Royal tour folks went; it made it really, really easy, and the Chops lunch.

 

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There are two big issues with The Key on the Anthem: It didn’t provide any tangible benefit and the staff were mostly unaware how it worked exactly.

 

There was signage before we got on that told us to go to the theater to drop off our luggage. So far, so good. We get on board and attempt to verify if the theater is the right place to go and which deck it’s on. Nobody is quite sure. We go past Wonderland to the theater and get a wristband and drop our luggage off. We ask about Chops lunch and we told it will be ready soon, but we have to go to the Bionic Bar to get the rest of our Key registration information including the internet access codes. I’ll never understand why we had to go to two different places. By the time we backtrack to the Bionic Bar area it’s packed with people waiting. We finally get our packet of stuff and are told to go to Jamie’s because Chops is full. We’re assured it’s the same menu. We get to Jamie’s and there’s a long line, but it’s not Key guests. It’s people with questions and wanting to make reservations. It takes about 20 minutes to get in. We got the abridged Chops lunch menu and it was really good. I had to send my steak back because it was overdone, but it was otherwise a pleasant experience. I didn’t see the schedule for the private hours and neither did anyone else we spoke to. I figured it would be in our room. Our luggage was inside the room, but no schedule. I called to guest services and they told me it was in the packet. I told them it wasn’t and asked for another copy. They said they would send it up. It never came. I went to guest services later that day and asked for it in person. They saw I had asked for it previously and told me that someone was hand delivering it to the room as we speak. Nope. Nothing ever showed. I went down to guest services the next day and demanded they give me a printout while I wait. Here’s what I got:

 

Key-Schedule.jpg

 

Is this some kind of a joke? Almost all the private hours are when we’re in port and off the ship! Even still, it’s hardly any exclusive time at all. I suspect it’s because there were a few groups on board that I think had arranged exclusive use throughout the cruise. Regardless, these times are useless.

 

We go to see “The Gift” in the Royal Theater. We go to deck 5 and show the person at the door our card and ask where the special seating is located. He says go down the steps and there will be someone to direct you. We go down and there’s nobody there. We seat ourselves and are unhappy with these seats. I can’t believe these are the ones for Diamond (or whatever class) cruisers they’re for. This must be a mistake. I go down a level to deck 4 and go in there. The person at the door says the same thing. This time there’s someone near the stairs. I ask them where The Key seats are and she says it’s “open seating.” Huh? I decide to go down further to find seats, but I’m utterly confused and irritated at this whole process. I go back up to get clarification. Apparently 10 minutes before the start of the show, they open the reserved seats to everyone. The show is now about to start and I don’t have time to discuss this anymore. The theater did have open seats down below so I was able to grab two. Why didn’t the person on deck 5 tell me to go down to deck 4? Why didn’t the person by the steps on deck 4 explain herself a little better?

 

The next show was “Spectra’s Cabaret.” We make sure to get there real early just in case. I ask the person checking cards for reservations where The Key seats are. He tells me they’re on an upper level and they’re really not good. He suggests I just seat myself somewhere on the main level. What?! I go to find a seat and notice there are a bunch of seats reserved for “star guests.” I go back and ask about those seats since they are great seats. Those were reserved in advance by a genie. ***** IS A GENIE?! There are open seats near those, so I just sit in one of those rather than complain. What is the point of getting The Key if your seats are inferior?

 

By the time we went to “We Will Rock You,” we knew where to go and where to sit. The seats were fine, but quite frankly, there was plenty of space throughout the theater. There was no real benefit. Also, there were seats reserved again for the same group as before. What is the point of paying for The Key if you have no chance of getting the best seats?

 

I was never planning on getting off at Bermuda as soon as we docked. Still, it would be nice to get ahead of the line. It made no difference. We got off immediately along with a couple who did not have The Key. I did want to get off at St. Maarten as soon as possible. I got down to the music hall and got off the ship right away. I can’t say if it would have been hectic without The Key, but I’m not sure it would have been much of a hassle without it. Got off Labadee first, went straight to Nelle beach and got a chair under a tree. Finally! As more people show up, the workers are taking loungers and moving them in front of me. I’m now so far back that I can’t even see my chair when I’m in the water! I end up buying an umbrella and leapfrog everyone else. Going to Labadee first was actually worse!

 

On the last day I ask where breakfast was served for Key guests and was told to go to Chic on deck 3. Guess what? It’s empty. I go up to deck 4 and find out it was there at Silk. American Icon did not look crowded, so no advantage to The Key people, but hey, we get the enhanced menu. So yes, I did have steak and eggs, but quite frankly it was an underwhelming experience. We go to the Shore Excursion desk to be escorted off as Key guests. Other people are asking questions, but the person there isn’t sure how to answer. We get off ASAP and are brought right to our luggage. I will admit that part was really nice.

 

I really am disappointed in The Key. There is no way I would buy it again. Thankfully it was only $19.99 and I was already intending on getting 3 VOOM Internet packages.

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I have mixed feelings about The Key for HOTS July 7.  The lunch was wonderful and I assumed all meals would be similar.🙄

We did not get to the ship until 10:30 and they already had The key members called, so we missed that perk.

One thing to note at the MDR Key registration area,  there was a guy selling a three day 99$ pass for 25% off and me being a optimist after the great lunch,  did not go for it....bad move.😬

 

We did not use the "special hours" for some activities.

 

No fruit plate.

 

We did meet in the On Air area to head off the ship (lady with The Key sign leading) in the ports, which was nice.

 

The show seating reserved seats were up in the balcony and thank goodness we got there earlier and had great seats in the stalls.

 

Internet:  I really don't want to go into great detail, but the reason I bought The Key and the internet was to keep in touch with my 10 year old granddaughter.  Needless to say, we could not text because I had an I phone, she had Samsung and never the twain shall meet.  She  could not download the Royal app because she was not 13 and she could not download Whatsapp because she is not allowed.

 

No texting for us!  Email only and who looks at their email only!

 

We had to do an early disembark because of an 11:30 flight from MCO, so no served breakfast for us.

 

Would I do it again? Probably not.  I am going on more RCCL cruises but they will be with adults and I don't have to worry about my GD and her stuff.

 

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We had a great experience with The Key on Allure last week and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.

 

- We arrived at Port Everglades around 10:40 a.m. and got upstairs just as they were calling Key guests to board. We were literally the first Key guests on the ship, the timing was perfect! We were on board at 11 a.m., so 20 minutes from the time we arrived at the port. It was perfect! 

 

- The Chops Grille lunch was served in the MDR. At first I was disappointed that were missing the true Chops experience but I quickly realized it was a great idea. No lines at all, everyone got in without issue and the food was delicious! Same menu that's been posted. Staff in MDR serving Chops food was great. It was my daughter's birthday and they brought out a special dessert and sang to her. 

 

- No issues with dropping off our carry on bags, it was in the MDR, deck 5, I believe.

 

- Our bags arrived to our rooms by 2 p.m. - they came in staggered, with my husband's and one daughter's arriving first, and then mine and my other daughter's bag. The wrong bags were sitting outside our door at first, but I told an attendant and they took care of it quickly. Our bags made it, just placed next to the wrong ones, until they removed those.

 

- Private time at activities was great. We didn't have weird or off times, all prime times during sea days. We took advantage of the Flow Rider and Zip Line times. We got on both more than once. Not many Key people in line at all. 

 

- Seating for the shows was good, not great. For the ice show, Key seating was clearly marked and we got escorted to the front row, it was excellent! For Mama Mia, Key seating was the upper level. I don't know if these were truly the best seats, but it was fine. The Key seats for the Aqua Show were further back, so we opted to sit elsewhere. And for the Headliner show and Blue Planet, we never saw Key seating and just sat where we could find four seats together. Not a big deal at all.

 

- Internet worked ok...I just don't think it's the greatest internet connection. I was never able to stream anything although my daughter did without issue. I could only text others with an iPhone via iMessage, but using WhatsApp was fine. Email, Facebook, all worked fine.

 

- We had excursions booked two of the three ports, so we just got off the ship with them. On the day we were doing our own thing, we we about the second family off the ship, but not because of the Key, but because we were in the right place to get off quickly and early.

 

- Breakfast on the last day was nice. We took our time because we live in Fort Lauderdale, so there was no rush for us to get off. We got to breakfast around 8:10 a.m. and left around 9 a.m. Disembarking was simple and our bags were waiting for us. 

 

Overall, we had a very positive experience with the Key and felt it was worth the money spent. 

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I was pleasantly surprised by  how well  The Key worked  on our recent 5 night cruise on the Anthem.  I think Royal has read the negative reviews and is trying to work out the kinks though  some remained.  

 

We actually did not utilize many of the benefits, but what we did really worked to our advantage.  We got to the ship about 11 am, so missed the early embarkation but we were still escorted through  The Key lines.  The woman greeting us did not know about dropping off the carry on bags,  and had to ask someone about it.   The other kink was when we got on board there was no notice that lunch was not in Chops but in one of the dining rooms.     We did first drop off one bag but no one said the lunch was next to the drop off point.  ( If there was a sign I did not see it ).  We got our envelope with details of the program, and a gentleman was there booking shows and the North Star.  We booked the North Star, though later cancelled it, but the woman working at the North   Star later told us we would get preference on stand by if we wanted to do that because of The Key.

 

After going up to Chops, and being told  lunch was back on deck 3, we went there and had a decent lunch.  My steak was pretty good though my daughter felt the fish was average.  Staff was very pleasant, and came by to greet us and ask if we had any questions about the program or if needed help to connect to the internet.   As we saw our carry on had not yet even taken to the room  after lunch, we just got it back and took it with us, but I could  still see the benefit of not having to lug it around the ship.

 

During the week a fruit plate was delivered to the room.  If we had wanted to  use  the priority arrival in Bermuda  instructions were sent to the room, though we did not  use it.   In Izumi  one night, we were given a discount on our meal due to The Key (though it could have been because  we had an amazing server as well).

 

Best  was departure.  We enjoyed the breakfast,  We then went  to Shore Excursions and were escorted off the ship by a Key  worker.   He got us off the  ship and through the port quickly, showed us where our bags were, and got us into a fast line for customs.     That was the best benefit for us.

 

I would do The Key again in a heartbeat.  

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I went back and forth about getting The Key, especially after all of the mixed reviews, but finally decided to go for it. There are 5 of us and we paid $24.99/day each, so about $875 for our family. Pretty steep, but if it saved us some time waiting in lines and allowed us to relax a little more then maybe it would be worth it. I was hopeful! We typically buy front of the line passes at amusement parks and I like to have great seats for plays and concerts so The Key seemed like it would be a good fit. Some parts of the program were great and worked just as I’d hoped, but other parts were a complete fail. I’ve broken our experience down into each different aspect of the program below.

 

BOARDING

We arrived around 10:30 so crowds were light. I asked where to go for The Key as soon as we got there and was pointed toward the area everyone was checking in and told that there would be signs. The signage was clear and easy to find and we were immediately checked in. The regular lines were light though, so this only saved us a few minutes. They had just begun boarding and we walked right on the ship, along with everyone else who had checked in at this point. The time from walking into the terminal to entering the ship was less than 20 minutes.

 

Boarding score: 3/10

Since we arrived at the terminal before the crowds we didn’t really need The Key. I’d say it saved us 10-15 minutes at most. I could see some value if you were arriving later with peak crowds, but if you’re able to arrive early it’s not very useful.

 

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CARRY ON DROP OFF

Once we were on the ship we asked and were directed to the area where you could drop your carry-ons and have them delivered to your room. I had a small carry on and wanted to keep it with me, but my daughters each brought pillows and a blanket, along with a small bag that they wanted to drop. Dropping everything was quick and easy and the items were in the rooms as soon as we were able to get in.

 

Carry on drop off score: 7/10

It was a nice perk to be able to drop off the bags and walk around the ship without having to lug everything around, but it wouldn’t have been that difficult to carry everything with us.

 

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CHOPS LUNCH

We went to Chops for our lunch but found out that the lunch was actually in the main dining room because of the large number of guests with The Key. The menu was a much shorter version of the Chops menu, but the food that was offered was good.

 

Chops score: 10/10

I’m not a big fan of buffets, so having a full service meal was so much better to me than dealing with crowds in Windjammer. The meal was relaxing, the restaurant was not crowded and service was great. I was finally able to feel in full vacation mode at this lunch.

 

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RESERVED SEATING FOR SHOWS

This is one of the main reasons we purchased The Key. We wanted to have good seats for the shows without having to get in line really early. I’d heard that the seats weren’t the best in the house, but I was hopeful that they were good. We did have reservations for each show, but I don’t remember them scanning our cards to check that we had reserved a spot.

 

1887 Ice skating Show

We almost didn’t go but decided to at the last minute and arrived at Studio B right at 15 minutes before the show. The place was almost full and there were no seats together except for in The Key section. We were escorted to the section and after we sat they released the remaining seats. Our seats - and it looked like most of the Key and Suite reserved seats - were not good because they were right behind a huge post.

 

1887 Score: 5/10

It was nice to be able to get there at the last minute and still get seats together, but we were disappointed in the location.

 

Grease

We arrived about 20 minutes before the show and there was a huge line to get in. I asked about The Key and was directed to an entrance on the floor above. We walked right in and the reserved seats were in the balcony. Balcony seats on The Harmony are terrible because the railing at the front of the balcony area is high and blocks your view from the first couple of rows in this section. We ended up going downstairs and finding some better (but still not great) seats on the main level.

 

Grease Score: 5/10

It was nice not to have to wait in line to enter the theater, but the reserved seats were terrible and we didn’t even use them.

 

A Fine Line

Our dinner ran late and I had to skip dessert and RUN to grab seats. I got there 12 minutes before the show but they hadn’t released Key seats yet. I was led directly to a great spot right in the center of the stage and out of the water zone, and was able to hold seats until the family got there a few minutes later.

 

A Fine Line Score: 10/10

This is exactly the benefit I had hoped to get from The Key – being able to walk in at the last minute and still get good seats.

 

Columbus: The Musical

We arrived about 15-20 minutes before the show. I knew to go to the 5th floor entrance this time, but it wasn’t necessary since it wasn’t that crowded. There were plenty of seats available, and we went downstairs to try to find seats together but decided the reserved Key seats in the balcony were just as good and went back up there. We had to sit 3 rows back to be able to see over the railing at the front of the balcony, and even then it blocked the stage a little bit.

 

Columbus Score: 2/10

Even without The Key we would’ve found seats together just a few minutes before the show, and the seats we got were not very good.

 

VOOM INTERNET SERVICE

I had originally planned to buy the 4 device plan for the 5 of us to share and I factored this into the cost of The Key package. Internet was a little spotty, but for the most part worked fine.

 

Voom Score: 10/10

I was going to buy it anyway and it was nice for each of us to have our own plan.

 

PRIORITY DISEMBARKATION AT PORTS

We were supposed to get a special exit at ports but it was never necessary. We did receive a notice in the room how to go about priority disembarkation in Roatan (but not at any of our other stops), but we got it after the Roatan stop! We had done an early excursion that morning that met on the ship in Roatan so I never saw what the lines to exit the ship looked like.

 

Port Disembarkation (at ports) Score: 0/10

It was never needed and never used. All of our ports had docks so it was easy to get off; I could see this being more useful if your ports had tenders.

 

PRIVATE HOURS FOR ONBOARD ACTIVITIES

The times available for onboard activities weren’t terrible, but weren’t good either. The only special time we used was for the zipline on the first day. Close toed shoes were required for this activity and it could have been a huge fail since our shoes were still packed in our suitcases. Luckily, we saw our suitcases in the hall on the way to the room and grabbed them just in time for the special hours to start. We were the only people using the zipline so no waiting, but we had enough after 2 runs each.

 

Private Activity Hours Score: 2/10

We didn’t use the private hours for any activities other than the zipline, and the line wasn’t that bad on sea days for it anyway. Would have like to use it for the Flo Rider, but wanted to sleep in when it was available.

 

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FINAL DAY BREAKFAST

On disembarkation day we were able to go to the dining room for a full service breakfast before leaving the ship. We could go any time between 6:30 and 9:30 and we went around 7:45. We were seated right away. The menu had your usual breakfast fare, along with some specials. My son got the steak and eggs, and got a perfectly cooked filet. I had the crab eggs benedict and it was good but not great. They also gave us a couple of boxes of cereal to take off the ship for our drive home.

 

Final Breakfast score: 10/10

The breakfast was good and it was so nice to have one last relaxing meal with the family before we left.

 

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PRIORITY DISEMBARKATION OFF SHIP

After breakfast, we were able to bypass the line and walk right off the ship. Our luggage was waiting for us in an easy to find spot – by then we knew to look for the light blue “The Key” signs. I’d guess that it took about 20 minutes from the time we left breakfast to the time we got our luggage.

 

Priority Disembarkation (at Port Canaveral) Score: 10/10

In the past, we have self-disembarked to avoid the crowds and get off the ship quickly. This was one of the main benefits we were hoping to get with The Key and it came through.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

My final score for The Key is 74/120 or 62%. The perks were nice and when it worked like I had hoped, it was great. But the number of times it didn’t work like I had hoped was disappointing. I don’t think it was worth the cost and will not purchase again with the way it is currently set up.

 

 

 

Edited by Vacation Lover1

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I first purchased the Key for a sailing on Anthem in January (about 3 weeks after program was started), I was sailing solo and had purchased internet prior to Key introduction so I cancelled the internet and purchased the Key for $19.99 a day.  I was very pleased with it - arrived at Cape Liberty at a few minutes after 10 and was on the Anthem at 10:40.  Had lunch in Chops at 11:45 and it was pleasant and unhurried.  At that time the Key was limited to 100 people. Used the reserved seats for We Will Rock You, did not use any of the Flowrider, etc.  Loved the breakfast with the specialty items, was escorted off the ship and picked up my luggage in The Key designated area and was home in plenty of time to watch the Super Bowl. 

 

On August 2, my friend and I sailed on Ovation to Alaska.  I talked her into The Key because I had such a great experience - did not find it nearly as good this cruise.  Boarding was a little bit of an issue - apparently they had an additional entrance for boarding but they were directing people in the Key waiting area to an entrance that was having a problem adjusting the boarding ramp so not a great improvement with the Key.  Ambiance of dining in the MDR as opposed to Chops is not as pleasant (although I understand why they did this - 200 vs 100 people), steak was good and it's preferable to Windjammer but doesn't have that "special" feel to it.  We didn't use any the attractions like Flowrider or Ifly.  We did have a booking for Northstar, but the day and time we had selected was very foggy and rainy so we skipped it (not the fault of the program).  Poor information on where to head for early departures at ports - didn't make much of a difference in Juneau and Skagway because we had later meeting times for excursions, but in Victoria I showed a crew member our card with the Key and they sent us to the same line everyone else was waiting in - when we finally got closer to the front, I questioned one of the officers and he said they should have sent us to the other exit.  Very disappointed with the ala carte breakfast on day of departure - didn't have the steak and eggs or crab benedict - don't know if this is just on this ship or if it's fleet wide.  We paid $24.99 a day "on sale" for the Key on this trip - will not be buying it again, just not worth it.

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We are Diamond Plus members who also purchased "The Key" on our 8/25/2019 Freedom of the Seas cruise out of San Juan.  We boarded with the Suite & Pinnacle guests, BEFORE the Diamond Plus & Diamond guests.  The drop off carry-on bags & Chops lunch were in the Main Dining Room on deck 5, not Chops Grill.  We had a "modified" Chops Grill lunch menu which was different than the regular Chops Grill Lunch menu you receive at Chops Grill.  The only vegetable on the menu was Asparagus, along with 3 other starches as sides (Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, Cheezy Tots).

 

Did not utilize any of the special times for Flow Rider, etc., nor was there any tender ports, so priority ship to shore did not apply.

 

The disembarkation breakfast on the final day was excellent, and having your luggage in a dedicated "Key" area made it easy to find.  We also used the internet daily as we own a small business and kept in touch via email several times each day.  

 

Seating in the Theater was the same area that Diamond Plus has access to anyway.  However, we found that the seating in the ice arena was limited to Key, Suite & Pinnacle until 15 minutes prior to the show.

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We bought the key for our 12 night Med cruise (17 July on Vision) out of Barcelona for $19USD.

 

Embarkation:-  no Key signage but told the RC security person we had the Key & he sent us through a separate line to the other dozen or so passengers waiting & this was at 10:30AM.  Took 5 minutes to get on the ship.  May have saved us 5-10 minutes.  Probably no real value with the Key.

 

Bag Drop Off:-  once on the ship nobody knew anything about the Key Bag Drop Off.  Hence, they found someone & they escorted us to the Masquerade Theatre where we left our baggage.  Was great to walk around & explore the entire ship without bags.  Definitely value having the Key if you board early & want to explore the ship.  Got to our cabin at 1:15PM & all baggage & Key paperwork was waiting.

 

Arrival Lunch:-  got to Chops at around 11:45AM & there was only about 8 other people in there having lunch.  Whilst the Windjammer was packed, noisy & very chaotic.  So glad to be able to sit down & enjoy a top quality meal in peace.  While we were there, I estimate only 30 people came for lunch, even though there appeared to be about 100 on the list at reception.  The food was exceptional.  Definitely worth having the Key for this experience.

 

Reserved Seating:-  the seating was in the upper right hand side of the Theatre which were fantastic seats.  We attended most nightly shows & there was never more than 20 people in our section, which probably held 50 seats.  Most shows, the Theatre was only ever half full.  Only on the Beatles show & Nicola Ward was the Theatre more than half full.  Probably no value on having the Key as there was always so many other good seats to choose from.

 

Tendering:-  unfortunately we only tendered once in Cannes.  We were scheduled to tender in Mykonos but managed to dock & Santorini got cancelled due to strong winds, hence, we docked in Ghania, Crete.  The tender queue at Cannes was probably at least 50m long over several flights of stairs.  We just walked down to the front of the line (we did feel awkward) & showed our Key & were actually first people off the ship & into the tender.  This was a fantastic benefit for us, as not only did we not have to queue for tender tickets, we didn’t have to rush around in the early morning & we got to maximise our time ashore.  The Key was definitely worth having in this instance.  However, overall as we only tendered once, probably no real value here on this particular cruise.

 

Rock Climbing Wall:-  did not use the Key for this.  I did go to the rock climbing many times to watch others & there was never more than 6 people doing it.  Hence, I doubt the Key would be any value on this particular ship for the rock climbing wall.

 

Voom & Stream:-  we would have purchased internet for both my wife & myself regardless.  Being part of the Key was a great bonus for us.  It meant basically all the other perks only cost us $14USD a day, which for us was definitely worth it.

 

Farewell Breakfast:-  Firstly, there was only about 20 people for breakfast, however, we only arrived at 8AM.  Unfortunately, breakfast was a complete failure by RC.  We ordered their Royal VIP signature & steak & eggs breakfasts, & what they dished out was nothing like what was on the menu.  We called over the maître d & showed him the two meals dished out & asked him to describe what they were.  He couldn’t.  He said he’ll get the chef.  30 minutes later the head chef Ketut comes to our table.  I asked him why it took so long to come here?  He told me he was very busy up at The Windjammer!?  I asked him who is running this kitchen in Chops & he said he was.  I asked him to explain what was dished out to us.  He said he doesn’t know what those meals are but they are certainly not their VIP meals, he’Il investigate.  After another 10 minutes he returned & told us they had run out of many of the ingredients to make the VIP dishes.  He can’t explain why these meals were served to us, but, was clearly disappointed at the kitchen & wait staff who produced & allowed these meals to be served to us.  He then spent the next 15 minutes creating a special one off gourmet dish for my wife, which she thoroughly enjoyed, whilst I spent the next 20 minutes at guest services explaining what had happened.  Guest services eventually decided to give me a $40USD credit against my final account.  I think the Key would be worth it, by having a gourmet breakfast in a very quiet & relaxed atmosphere........... but, unfortunately this incident took the shine off a wonderful cruise.  It will be a lasting memory we would rather not have.

 

Debarkation:-  at 9:25 AM we walked straight off the ship & our luggage was waiting for us right near the port exit.  I don’t think the Key would’ve made any difference here, as the terminal was basically empty.

 

So.........  is the a Key worth it?  If you are going to buy an internet package..... definitely yes.  If not..... maybe not, unless there are a lot of tender ports.

 

 

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We loved the Key Program on the Ovation of the seas in Alaska

 

We got a good price.. $19 a day so it made since to us as we were going to pay $13 a day for voom internet anyway.  
 

it was new to Ovation so we had to ask for some things.... but upon arriving on the ship, there were signs directing Key folks to a special area.  They took our carry on luggage from us and delivered it right to our room.  The beast at Chops was fantastic!  Lots to choose from and great service!  
 

The saved seats at the shows was a nice benefit... we totally spaced asking for the special Key seats at Pixel and regretted it, you really need to sit back or on the second floor to see that show.  
 

‘The special ship embankment worked out nice too.  We went to the theater and was told to sit in the Key area, waited just a few minutes and off we went.  The special times at the ifly, flowrider and north star worked out great for us.  The last morning breakfast was nice and relaxing.  
 

BUT... The best feature by far was the special exit off the ship!  They also had a special area just for Key Program luggage... and a guy there with a Cart that took all of our luggage outside to the long cab line... but wait... he went right to the front of that line, saving us at least an hour wait and made sure we got a van that could hold all of our luggage and 4 people!  
 

So for $19 a day I thought we got our money’s worth

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We took the Key Program for our May 2020 sailing (at hubby's insistence.) I do take the internet to keep our online business going while on vacation. The price was $31.99.  We get no alerts for sales from Royal (unlike Celerity ) so I diligently checked my planner just about every day for a price reduction. Well it paid off... the other day it showed up as $24.99. A call to Royal cancelled the Key and rebooked at $24.99. $70 saving.. Yah for me.

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