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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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