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Yes, we also received an e-mail notice from Royal a couple of weeks ago for our FEB sailing outlining the new Key program. "Priority access" is not even a perk since you cannot enter the terminal early anyway (still must arrive "within booked arrival time"). They have eliminated the Chops embarkation day lunch in the MDR due to strict boarding times and social distancing. Also, debarkation day breakfast in MDR was eliminated. Now you get a "grab and go" bag? No thanks!

We rarely use room service, so that perk is useless to us. I'm assuming that 25% off dining is only good for onboard dining purchases, so if you purchased a dining package pre-cruise through the Cruise Planner it makes that perk somewhat useless.

One thing I do not like is the handling of the access to the shows. On our last cruise with the Key, our group would arrive just 10-15 minutes before the show and we would get great seats in a reserved section. Now, you are just granted "early" access to the venue so you can find a good seat. Not looking forward to showing up 30-40 minutes before a show for good seats. IMO it's not really a perk anymore. 

We might be cancelling the Key due to the changes. I understand the need for the changes in this climate, but it really kills the overall value IMHO. They have also raised the prices. We absolutely loved having the Key on Allure back in 2019, but the shine is not there for us at this time.

 

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I do find it curious that Royal hasn't amended the description of The Key in the Cruise Planner; at the very least, the site should have a banner or other form of notice that some of the CP offerings have changed, and should provide a link to the changes.  I wonder if everyone who has purchased The Key has gotten the change letter, or just through a certain date?  My sailing is at the end of November, but it appears the changes will be in effect at least through February 2022.  I can definitely see why those who paid more than, say, $20/day for The Key would be inclined to cancel.

Personally, I find the changes to be satisfactory, but,

1) I'm sailing solo

2) I mainly wanted the Voom - 1 Device, and since The Key price was less than the price for Voom  (and then increased to $0.50/day more), I went for The Key, thinking that the other perks would be nice.

3) While I probably won't use Room Service, it will be nice to have the option and not have to pay the $7.95 fee; I don't have any specialty dining packages, so if I see a deal on board then I'll apply my 25% discount and be happy.

4) Although the priority boarding is limited to within one's check-in time, it will still be somewhat of a boost in line, I would think.

 

 

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Beware the priority boarding perk. From previous posts, it seems various ports may do things differently. Some are strictly enforcing the arrival times and some are not. Even when they do, unless they have a specific, marked door or area…manned by someone who knows about the Key…it may be useless. Just like the suite perk of arriving an hour before your time…If the port workers are just rushing everyone in without checking boarding passes for assigned times, then the lines get long…no matter your boarding time or perk.

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9 hours ago, JohnK6404 said:

One thing I do not like is the handling of the access to the shows. On our last cruise with the Key, our group would arrive just 10-15 minutes before the show and we would get great seats in a reserved section. Now, you are just granted "early" access to the venue so you can find a good seat. Not looking forward to showing up 30-40 minutes before a show for good seats. IMO it's not really a perk anymore.

I agree with you on this one.  Even for suites, the entire point of having a reserved section was so that you did NOT have to get there super early.  Now, the only advantage you can have is if you get there 45 minutes early and wait around for the show to start.  Not happy with this at all.

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