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SolariumSnoozer

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  1. Haha
    SolariumSnoozer reacted to Big Tule in Just had to repost this   
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    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from Smurfy in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  3. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from kadmgs in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  4. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from whoa in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  5. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from FManke in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  6. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer reacted to Chadster in My experience with the Key   
    Thanks for your insight! For my May sailing on¬†Grandeur, "The Key" is currently pricing at $16.99 per day, and the Surf n' Stream package is pricing at $13.99 per day. So that'd shake out to $27 more for the whole cruise in my case, though I'm still not 100% sold on whether I want¬†internet access or not or just to unplug for a few days. I already have a specialty restaurant lunch booked for Chops on embarkation day ($21.99), so just for the lunch on embarkation day and the breakfast on debarkation day, it might be worth it for me, along with priority boarding and debarkation, since I'm not much into the sorts of activities the program offers priority hours for -- though I might be willing to give the rock wall a try since there'll be fewer people to watch me!¬†ūü§£
  7. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer reacted to Matt in My experience with the Key   
    Great review!
    How long did lunch take approximately?
  8. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from shaydav19 in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  9. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from Chadster in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  10. Sad
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in My experience with the Key   
    None of the ports on my cruise were tender, so my answer has to be yes they offer priority departure at all ports.  We couldn't find the meeting area at the proper time so we did not use the port priority departure at all.  Specifically the ship arrived in San Juan at 1:00 PM which created a much larger than normal peak of people trying to debark at the same time.  We definitely tried to use the Key that day but Royal was not clear on where to meet and more importantly what time to meet so we missed on using the benefit.
  11. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from KenCP in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  12. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from sk8erguy1978 in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  13. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from DaiC01 in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  14. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from JohnK6404 in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  15. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from Mikeb1892 in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  16. Love
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from WAAAYTOOO in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  17. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from Vangrizz in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  18. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from KristiZ in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  19. Thanks
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from Baked Alaska in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  20. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from PRebecca in My experience with the Key   
    After 2 long years in dry dock, I just completed a cruise on Adventure of the Seas out of Port Everglades.  I sailed with my wife (my much better half) and surprised her with the Key.  I have read many reviews of the Key and I thought I would include my experience in the hope someone else might benefit.
     This was my first opportunity to purchase the Key.  When Royal introduced the Key I was quite intrigued by the offering and thought it was something worth trying; especially at the sale price of $19.99 per person per day.  My logic was similar to others, I had already committed to the luxury of purchasing the 2 device Surf + Stream so I would only be paying the difference for the Key.  It took Royal a long time to post the Key on my Cruise Planner and the initial price was $34.99.  This was way too expensive for me, so I initially gave up on the Key and purchased the 2 device Surf + Stream on sale.  Eventually, and it took months, the Key price dropped and after a couple of purchases and cancellations I got the Key for the sale price of $19.99.  It would seem Royal priced the Key beyond their customer’s interest and were forced to reduce the price.
    Below is the Key welcome letter Royal provided once on-board.
     
    So let’s talk about these Key benefits:
     Priority check-in and boarding.
    We arrived at the port early, about 10:40, and after leaving our luggage with the porters approached security.  I looked for signage to direct Key guests but there was none so we just entered the single security queue with everyone else.  The line was short and it only took a few minutes to get to the front but once there I overheard someone ask the port employee where guests with the Key should go.  The employee opened the ropes and let those guests enter security, in front of us, bypassing everyone else in the queue.  Lesson learned, never assume and always ask.  Shame on Royal for not having any signage, still no harm, it maybe cost us 5-10 minutes.  After clearing security, I saw the Key signage for check-in and went there.  There was no line at the Suite/Key check-in area and with our expedited arrival we were on-board in less than 5 minutes.   Truth is the other check-in lines were no more than 3 people deep so the Key saved us a maximum of 10 minutes during check-in.  So to recap, arrival to on-board was probably 10-15 minutes with the Key and 20-30 minutes without the Key.  I am sure this benefit would be significantly more beneficial later in the day when most of the guests arrive.
     
    Carry-On luggage drop off and welcome lunch
    Once on board we went right to the dining room to drop off our luggage and have our welcome lunch. There was large signage at the dining room entrance on deck 4.  The crew there asked us for our cabin #, provided us our Key welcome letter, took and tagged our carry-on luggage and asked us if we were ready for lunch.  We told them we were and were seated immediately.
    Lunch was by far the best benefit of the Key.  The dining room was relaxing and quiet.  My wife kept commenting how wonderful lunch was with a big smile.  She loves the service in the dining room and we tend to eat there for lunch (when open) and all dinners.  It was such a contrast to eating in the Windjammer on embarkation day, no looking/fighting for a table, no running around the buffet and the quiet was soooooo relaxing.  The lunch had us in vacation mode immediately and set the tone for a wonderful cruise.  Of course, the food was delicious, but we so enjoyed the ambiance. I would definitely consider booking/purchasing a specialty lunch on embarkation day if/when we don’t purchase the Key in the future, it made that much of a difference.  Shortly after lunch the cabins were ready and our carry-on luggage was there waiting for us.
     Private sessions for on-board activities
    Royal provided the letter below detailing the times for the Key private sessions.
     
    My wife and I took part in the Flowrider session on day 2 and I did the Rockwall on day 7, we skipped the ice skating sessions.  During normal hours, the Flowrider appeared to have a queue of ~15 people (45-60 minute wait minimum) whenever I happened by.  During the private session, we started with 5 people and ended the hour with 8.  During the hour, we each received 4-5 turns.  The crew were very attentive and encouraging, they even convinced my wife to take a turn doing stand-up (wish I had videoed that), but I think they were just great crew members as they appeared to me to be just as attentive and encouraging the whole cruise.  Personally, I enjoy riding the Flowrider although I never have the patience to wait 45+ minutes standing in the sun.  During the Rockwall session, I had the activity almost all to myself.
     Priority departure from ship to shore at port of calls
    This was a failure.  The Key letter specifies that priority departure is only available during the first hour after arrival.  We went down 5 minutes after the ship was cleared and could not find the Key waiting area.  When we asked about Key priority departure at guest services, they told us we had missed it they had already left.  That evening, guest services called to ask us our opinion about the Key and embarkation.  After complementing the lunch, my wife explained what had happened earlier that day regarding priority departure.  Without prompting, the guest services agent offered my wife a complimentary bottle of wine.  My wife asked if each of us could instead order a drink at dinner.  The agent said sure, told her to order the drinks, put them on our seapass card and then call her back and she would credit our account.  We followed her instructions and we received the credit with no issue.  Surprisingly, the next day the bottle of wine showed up in our cabin.  We tried to return it but were told to keep it.
     Reserved VIP seating at the shows
    For the welcome aboard show we went and found the Key seating area, it is on the second (balcony) level in the middle.¬† Royal had an agent at the seating area to ensure only Suite and Key guests sat there.¬† Once seated, my wife looked down and saw plenty of great seats available on the first level and she decided ‚Äúwe‚ÄĚ would rather sit down there, so we did. For the rest of the cruise we bypassed the Key seating for any show in the theater, none of the shows were well attended so there were¬†always many good open seats available.¬† We did use the Key seats at the ice show.¬† We arrived at Studio B a little late and found almost all the general seats filled so we made our way to the Key area and found great seats.¬† For the ice show, the Key was definitely beneficial since we did not have to arrive 30-45 minutes before show time.
    Debarkation
    My comments on the debarkation breakfast are almost identical to the embarkation lunch.  Being able to avoid the craziness that is the Windjammer that morning is a fantastic perk.  The food was delicious and cooked fresh.  They announced the times a crew member was going to be available to escort people off the ship, approximately every half hour.  When we were done with breakfast we were escorted to the gangway, bypassing everyone else in line. Our seapass cards were scanned and then we were off the ship.  We had been provided special Key tags for our luggage which was waiting for us in the designated Key luggage area.  Here again Royal failed with signage.  We looked for a special line for customs but none was marked and there was no one close to ask.  All of the Key guests moved together to enter the single customs line.  One of the guests ahead of us asked the first port employee about the Key when we were about half way through the line.  Instantly she opened a pathway for us to enter an open lane that took us to the front of the line.  This pathway was very close to the Key luggage area so it seems possible there was an intended way for Key guests to gather their luggage and enter a priority line for customs. 
    In conclusion, is the Key worth it. I believe this is a personal decision each person will have to make for themselves.  There are a lot of little factors that will make the Key more or less beneficial.  For example, the Key might provide more benefits on an Oasis class ship that has more cruisers getting on and off, has more on-board activities and more desirable shows to attend than Adventure.  If anyone has any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer them.
  21. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from twangster in Standing Ovation from the Land Down Under - New Zealand 11 Nights Feb. 2, 2020   
    Thanks again for taking the time out of your cruise/vacation to take us along. I always learn something new and truly enjoy following your blogs.  This one definitely is an addition to the bucket list.
  22. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from Lovetocruise2002 in Celebrity Increasing Daily Gratuities ..... Will Royal be Next?   
    That isn't quite true.  They grandfathered existing bookings in if you prepaid your gratuities.  If you waited until the cruise began and allowed the gratuities to be charged to your sea pass account your were charged the new rate.  So if you wanted to use on-board credit to pay your gratuities you were charged the higher rate.
  23. Like
    SolariumSnoozer got a reaction from twangster in ūüéĶPanama! ūüéĶ Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    As always @twangster thanks for taking the time out of your cruise to share it with us.  Your pictures lived up to your reputation and I truly enjoyed your blog.  Definitely a cruise to add to the bucket list.
  24. Like
    SolariumSnoozer reacted to twangster in ūüéĶPanama! ūüéĶ Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    Cruise Summary
    This was another bucket list cruise that lives up to that reputation.
    It introduced me to several new destinations that each warrant a return visit.  Puntarenas and Cartagena stand out as top ports while the transit of the Panama Canal completely lived up to all my expectations.  Simply wow.  
    This is my second time on Vision of the Seas and she fulfilled everything I needed for this cruise.  An issue with my cabin temperature was fixed within two hours on day one and I had no issues for the remainder of the cruise.  The crew were fantastic in all respects.  
    The only thing I can think to complain about was the lack of enough tenders in Cabo San Lucas.  Using the four dual purpose lifeboat/tenders from the ship simply wasn't enough and it impacted out useable time in port.  The ship offered a lot of excuses for this but at the end of the day if they can't figure out how to execute tendering in Cabo they should drop the port. Fortunately I've been there before and it wasn't the reason I booked this cruise.
    Seeing the operation of the Panama Canal locks firsthand and up close was amazing and I'm glad I experienced the original Panama Canal.  It's not an experience I'll soon forget.
    When I return I'll spend more time down low watching all the action from lock level.  
    My decision to save money by booking an ocean view cabin worked out fine.  Looking back I don't think I missed out by not having a balcony or suite.  Even if I had a balcony I wouldn't stay out there for the canal transit as there is too much to see on both sides of the ship.  Balconies were more than twice the price of my cabin so not only did my savings cover my stay on the Queen Mary, excursions and airfare but also left enough to pay for my next two cruises.
    I have a few other bucket list type cruises in the future but I'll be looking out for another Panama Canal cruise after those.  
    I hope you enjoyed following along and I thank you for viewing.
  25. Like
    SolariumSnoozer reacted to twangster in ūüéĶPanama! ūüéĶ Vision of the Seas Oct. 30, 2019   
    One of my dilemmas as I thought about how to capture this day was where to go on the ship for the best pictures.  I captured the timelapse on my GoPro while I waited on deck 10 forward for the morning approach and the first set of locks.  However I didn't want to stay there the whole day guarding my GoPro. 
    At the same time I really wanted a full transit timelapse so I cheated a little bit.
    Vision of the Seas has a TV channel dedicated to the forward facing bridge camera.  It's channel 41 on the TV system.   Hmmm.  What if I used my other phone to capture a timelapse of channel 41?
    The full transit in 21 seconds.
     
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