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THE KEY

By: Val Gooden

 

We’ve heard so many positive things about the “The Key,” VIP benefits and finally took the plunge and purchased it for our sailing onboard Wonder of the Seas!  We were fully excited to partake in all the benefits but to our surprise, it was a total waste of money.  I’ll breakdown why we felt it wasn’t beneficial for us and I hope this helps you in making your decision whether or not you want to purchase “The Key.”  The benefits include: priority boarding, Carry-on bag drop off service to your stateroom, EXCLUSIVE welcome lunch in the Main Dining room, designated fast lane for activities, priority departure at tender ports, dedicated seating for shows, VOOM Surf & Stream high speed internet, debarkation day a la carte breakfast and choice departure. 

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PRIORITY BOARDING

Port Canaveral, Florida is normally a congested cruise terminal and purchasing “The Key” gave us preferential boarding privileges, or so we thought.  Unbeknownst to us, prior “Key” members who were taking a B2B, sat before us and also boarded before us too.  That sort of put a damper on things, given the fact, there were a lot of B2B members onboard Wonder of the Seas! We didn’t see the wow factor in this particular selection and felt that out Diamond+ status would have been more beneficial.  This is our opinion!

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LUNCH

All “Key” members had lunch in the Main Dining room and were given a menu where they had the opportunity to select an appetizer, and entree and a dessert.  I didn’t think the food nor services was desirable and really could have eaten at Sorrento’s Pizza or the Windjammer.  Another non-beneficial Key feature that didn’t produce the wow or made us consider purchasing the Key on our next cruise!

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CARRY-ON, DROP OFF SERVICE

I didn’t feel comfortable using these services because the luggage’s on the carts were left unattended.  I inquired who was watching the luggage and I was told, it was safe to just leave my items there.  I was not about to leave my Louis Vuitton luggage’s unattended and even if they weren’t named brand, I would have felt the same way.  I’ve been on several cruises where people luggage’s were missing for the entire cruise and notes were left in our cabinets asking guest to please check their luggage’s to ensure you have the correct one.   This was a hard pass for me!

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EXPEDITED SERVICE FOR ACTIVITIES

Again, the Key had its perks only when you spoke up and had to insert your Key status.  There were no designated lines or did we feel as though we had preferential access on any activities!  However, if you’re an impatient person, purchasing the Key will give you line jumping privileges! Overall, it wasn’t worth the frustration of having to constantly ask if Key members had a separate line!

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PRIORITY  PORT DEPARTURE

Priority port departure is only beneficial if Royal Caribbean “crew” members implement a better priority departure plan!  For the most part, it’s always chaotic getting off the ship, when you have to disembark early! Overall, “The Key” program did not add any value in this area!   

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DEDICATED SEATING AT SHOWS

This is one area where Royal Caribbean should put a lot more effort into accommodating “Key” members.  The seating selection was no different from Diamond+ members seating (our current level status).  It would benefit non-diamond+ members but for us, it was another wasted benefit.  

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VOOM SURF & STREAM

Heath and I are Diamond+ members and we both receive two free days of internet, that’s a total of 4 days combined.  Therefore, we didn’t base the purchase of “The Key” solely off the added internet bonus, we wanted to try it for the overall experience.  If we didn’t purchase “The Key” we would have paid for three days of internet usage onboard Wonder of the Seas, which would have been cheaper than “The Key.”

DEBARKATION DAY

Heath and Val are mostly always the first in the departure line, due to the fact, they always have early AM flights. They always partake in the “self-assist” program and carry their luggage off the ship.  Therefore, “The Key” didn’t serve as an added feature/bonus!  

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KEY ICON ON SEAPASS CARD

“The Key” logo is clearly labeled on the sea pass cards but serves as no added bonus if Royal Caribbean “crew” does not adhere to the symbol.  “The Key” is not free, it’s definitely an up-charge, and one, Heath and Val had no issue in paying.  But, when the added expense doesn’t align with what each “Key” member is entitled too, it becomes a problem.  They won’t say it was a wasted expense because they wanted to try it, but what they’re certain of, they’ll never purchase it again!

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