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The Key - my experience last week


SpeedNoodles
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Since it seems to come up a lot, and although Twangster's detailed blog is far superior, I thought there may be one or two who might be curious about a recent experience.  I purchased it for my 4-night Mariner of the Seas cruise to Nassau/Coco Cay.  I was a solo traveler and I had a $25 onboard credit, so the price came to $55.  Between Voom and lunch on embarkation day, I'd already gotten my value, so it was really a no-brainer purchase for me.

Embarkation:  They called The Key people with the Pinnacle/Diamond/Diamond Plus members when they opened up the doors.  I suspect they just threw us in with them because it was so early and there were very few people in the terminal yet.

Delivery  of carry on luggage to stateroom:  A few of us wandered around trying to figure out where to drop off our carry on luggage when we first boarded - they were a little behind and didn't have a sign on the theatre door, or anyone in the theatre to take the bags yet.  In about 10 minutes we all figured it out (all 5 of us at that point) and someone did show up to start the process.  Unfortunately that person hadn't been provided with any luggage tags, so anyone who hadn't tagged their luggage had to wait a little while - I had my luggage tag on my one rolling carry on.  They also had business cards with Voom codes on it - but none of them matched the names of anyone who was there, so staff was confused. In the end they just gave us a card for whoever (sorry Adam Davis, or whoever's I had), and we were on our way.  I assume they managed to work it out in the end, but it was never an issue for me.

Lunch at Chops - was a nice treat!

Reserved seating section at shows - I only went to the comedy show really late on Embarkation day and on the last night.  There was a section roped off for The Key next to either higher C&A or suite folks - it really didn't matter at this show because there was really hardly anyone in the theatre.  The first night I sat in The Key section, the last night I sat somewhere else - it didn't matter.  But this is Mariner, not a Quantum or Oasis class ship, so I imagine it would make a difference on one of those ships.

Reserved times for Flow Rider/Rock Climbing Wall/Sky Pad/Perfect Storm - they had at least 2 hours set aside during the week for each activity. They weren't at the most convenient hours, but, at least on my sailing,  it wasn't necessary for a separate time - there was never a line at any of those activities - I never saw more than a few people in line for any of them and most of the time nobody was using them. Apparently this was a "sit by the pool and drink" cruise for folks.

On the 2nd day, I happened to stop by my cabin to pick something up and someone knocked on my door and delivered a fruit plate that was complimentary for The Key people. That was unexpected.

Priority tender - We only tendered at CoCo Cay - I went down to get on the tender about an hour after we anchored and there was a line (not a ridiculous line, but a line as you'd expect there to be).  There was no staff along the line at all to ask about The Key benefit, and I'm just not the type to walk past a bunch of people who are waiting to also get on the tender to get in front of them, so I just got on with everyone else.  I was able to get on the tender right away anyway, probably because I wasn't trying to get on the first tender of the day, so it was just fine with me. I could have been more assertive, but that's just not me. And the ending result would have been exactly the same in this case.

Disembarkation Day - it was nice to have a quiet, unrushed breakfast in the MDR.  It was the only time I'd sat with other people during a meal - almost the only time I'd spoken to any other people all week (I did talk to the iguana and the chickens on CoCo Cay earlier, that's a whole different story #retiredzookeeper) and I did enjoy that.  After breakfast, I ran back up to my room, grabbed my carry on, and went down to Deck 4, where there happened to be a staff member manning the line.  I asked him about The Key disembarkation, and he personally escorted me to the gangway past a long line, which was REALLY nice.

I liked the program, and it was defnintely worth it on a short sailing.  I was getting Voom anyway, and there were just enough things that I was going to enjoy along the way that it made it worth it to me.  I very much doubt that I'll get it on my Ovation sailing to Alaska in June - I will be going with my husband, who has no interest in Voom, and we will be meeting up with old friends, who will not have The Key, so we won't be taking advantage of reserved seating with shows and special times for activities since they won't be able to partake with us during those times. We'll evaluate it again on our Symphony sailing in Feb 2020 - things may have changed with the program, or the hubs may decide he wants internet access, so we'll see then.

Hope this helps someone out there!

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  • Matt featured this topic

Thank you!  This solidified my decision to get the key.  We are a family of 5 on a 7 night cruise, but with 3 kids (14, 10, and 5), it seems verrry appealing since we would get the voom anyway (my husband owns his own business and needs to be connected ... and the drama that would ensue with the teen and pre-teen not being able to share their experiences ... immediately haha) and my 5YO is "free" as to where I don't need to purchase the key for him, but he will still get all the perks as the rest of the family. 

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8 minutes ago, AnPia said:

Thank you!  This solidified my decision to get the key.  We are a family of 5 on a 7 night cruise, but with 3 kids (14, 10, and 5), it seems verrry appealing since we would get the voom anyway (my husband owns his own business and needs to be connected ... and the drama that would ensue with the teen and pre-teen not being able to share their experiences ... immediately haha) and my 5YO is "free" as to where I don't need to purchase the key for him, but he will still get all the perks as the rest of the family. 

Haha, yes, to avoid teen drama I would imagine it would be WELL worth it!  Enjoy!

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Just now, KJ1231 said:

Thanks @SpeedNoodles! We're on Enchantment to Nassau and CocoKey next month and have the Key. My wife probably be first in line for the tender as she loves the beach!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on The Key on a Vision class ship when you get back. I have it for Allure in May and I have a feeling it will be an excellent value. I'm a bit more unsure about the use of getting it for our November Grandeur sailing though. 

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Just now, Yo2slick said:

We are going on the Ovation in August and it will be our first cruise.  We were looking at The Key but didnt know if it would be worth it for us.  Just my wife and I travelling.

If it was me, and it was just the two of us, we both wanted internet, and the price was $20, I'd do it.  That's just me.

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Just now, SpeedNoodles said:

If you want it I'd grab it now.  Then if it goes on sale you can cancel and repurchase. I wouldn't risk it going back up. 

Thank you very much.  Im constantly looking at cruise planner and even pricing our room just to try to stay on top of everything but I think we got a pretty good deal on everything so far.

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Just now, Yo2slick said:

Thank you very much.  Im constantly looking at cruise planner and even pricing our room just to try to stay on top of everything but I think we got a pretty good deal on everything so far.

I do the same, although our June Ovation sailing is nearly sold out so there won't be any price drops on the stateroom.  I may live blog the cruise if I get brave!

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On 2/13/2019 at 2:47 PM, spiralqueen said:

I'd love to hear your thoughts on The Key on a Vision class ship when you get back. I have it for Allure in May and I have a feeling it will be an excellent value. I'm a bit more unsure about the use of getting it for our November Grandeur sailing though. 

We just returned from 4 nights on Enchantment using The Key. We arrived at the port around 11:00 am and was directed to the Expedited line (guests with passports and a set sail pass) so we didn't use The Key but boarding was super quick. Once on board, we dropped off our carry-on luggage at the theater and then explored the ship before heading to Chops for lunch at 11:30 am. Once the cabins opened up, we made our way to our cabin to find our carry-on luggage safe inside as well as our Voom codes.

For the shows, the reserved seats where located on the balcony (above the reserved section for Suites and Pinnacle members). We never sat up there because we preferred the seats on the lower level. There were two private sessions for the Rockwall and two private sessions for the Jumpzone (one session each day).

Like @SpeedNoodles described, there was no one near the tender line for Coco Cay so we just waited in line. Everyone in line was able to board the tender so this wasn't an issue for us. For disembarkation day, we enjoyed our breakfast without being rushed and when finished was able to walk off the ship through the exit labeled with The Key.

Overall, we enjoyed the benefits of The Key and would consider it again. I definitely see where there could be more value on larger ships with more to do (i.e. Flow Rider, Sky Pad, Perfect Storm, etc).

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On 2/11/2019 at 9:54 AM, KLA said:

Thank you so much for sharing this - definitely helping to reinforce my decision to get this in September! 

KLA,

Watch the pricing. I bought in at $19.99 pp/pd. The next week it was repriced at $32.50 pp/pd and this week it's at $24.50 pp/pd. :27_sunglasses:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks so much for this review @SpeedNoodles.  I'd read a lot of other reviews including @twangster.  We're sailing on Navigator in July with our 16yo DS and his best friend...I've looked at it thinking it might be good/fun for the best friend (and me) to be able to share stuff with his parents.  Appreciate the review.

 

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Thanks for the review! We are flowrider addicts (we schedule meals around open times, and will gladly attend any 8:30 AM (or PM) advanced times offered)  and have teenagers (who enjoy VOOM), so it was an easy decision for us. I will let you all know how it goes on Freedom of the Seas in April. 

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