The Key Program

nancy drew

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Just back from Adventure of the Seas. On Adventure, they don't have reservations for shows, but they do have a seating section reserved for Key and high-end Crown and Anchor statuses for the live shows and the ice show. Don't see a major advantage to that because 1: it looked like Key members still had to come early since several minutes before the show they'd open those sections to everyone and very few shows filled to capacity anyway and 2: the reserved seating sections weren't significantly better than the rest of the theatre/venue. They also had a Key checkin area at the embarkation port of Bayonne, but, at least when we checked in (about 10:30 for a 3:00 departure), the general checkin lines were no longer than those for the Key. I think the Key members were able to board the ship first, but that was only a 10 or 15 minute difference also. Another guest was sitting next to us at breakfast at the last port in Halifax that did have The Key and they said they probably wouldn't bother with it again...
This sounds like our experience on Symphony, and it was totally not worth it even when The Key only cost $19.99 per person per day. We will not bother with it again. They also had hardly any reserved hours for Key guests on Flowrider etc.

That's correct...the reserved seats were in the balcony, center section. And it was also interesting that it seemed like those using it had to show up early, since they took "The Key" reserved seating sign down about 10 or 15 minutes before the performances.
Yes, you still have to arrive at least 15 minutes early for shows with The Key because they will open up seating to everyone about 10-15 minutes before the show.

Which ship were you on? And when?

Because on Mariner, last week-end, that’s how it was (MDR, shared tables).
Symphony, and in March. Chops was in Chops and the service was terrible. Lunch took 1.5 hours or some nonsense like that. We will be skipping specialty dining on all future cruises as I am not going on a cruise to sit in a restaurant for hours upon hours. Breakfast was in the MDR and we definitely did NOT share a table. There were hardly any people there so we would have told them to seat us at our own table anyway if they had tried to put us with others.
 

TXN4Disney

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Key Review-Liberty of the Seas Sept 2019
We purchased The Key for our Liberty of the Seas Cruise out of Galveston in September and thought it was fantastic. In Galveston, your perks don't start until after you get through security. We arrived about 11 to the port, but the security line went quickly. Once you get through security, the priority boarding starts. RC staff are ready to direct Key members to the priority line. We were immediately directed to an agent, checked in and then headed to boarding. We were led to the priority boarding area, where there was no wait, and were on board quickly.
We left a pretty full room of cruisers who were still waiting to board.
Once on the boarding deck, there was another RC staffer holding a "Key" sign and we were pulled aside for pictures and taken to the main dining room for luggage drop off and lunch. This was all very organized and you knew exactly where to go. There was a little bit of a wait for luggage drop, but not inconvenient. They also had extra Key Stickers for your SeaPass card at luggage drop.
We were seated with a group for lunch and small talk was fun. Lunch was a casual pace, and we were not in a hurry. It was a limited Chops menu, but our whole table went for the steak. Yum!
We were able to place drink orders during lunch (part of our separate drink package) so that was nice. By the time we were done, rooms were ready and we started our cruise. Our carry on luggage that we dropped at the dining room was already in our room when we finished lunch.
The priority seating for the ice skating show was awesome. The venue was pretty full about 10 minutes before the show, and we were shown to reserved seats. They didn't really open the seating until after the show started, because Key guests were filing in up until the show started.
One night, we received a fruit plate in our stateroom for being in the key.
One other night, we received chocolates.
The seating for main shows is in the center balcony, and we utilized the seating perk for 2 other shows during our cruise. We didn't take advantage of the private hours for ice skating, rock climbing, or FlowRider.
We did utilize priority departure in Grand Cayman because they tender, and actually caught a group of Key members on the way down to the tenders. We were on a tender very quickly.
From what I could tell, it was fairly organized.
Internet was great all week, too so A+ for that inclusion.
On the morning of de-embarkation, we went to breakfast in the last half hour of service. Seating and service was slow, but the staff was overwhelmed getting folks walked down to leave the ship and seated for breakfast. The food was great and we were not in a hurry to get off. We finished breakfast and they elevatored our group down to get off the ship.
Once you get your luggage in the terminal, the perks end.
We were queued in the normal customs line (no biggie).
Overall, priority check-in/boarding, lunch, the convenience of internet, and reserved seating made it a good purchase for us. We are two adults, so no kids to factor in the pricing. My husband LOVED not having to wait in the terminal to board. "Value" is subjective, but I think it was money well spent on the cruise. I would get the key again. I booked super early though, and I believe it was $20 a person per day when I booked. FWIW, I have no "status" yet with RC, so for my first RC cruise, I'm glad I bought the Key.
 
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  • ZerasPride

    DVC Member Since 2001
    Joined
    Sep 1, 1999
    Thanks for sharing your experience! We reserved the Key again for our upcoming May cruise since our September cruise was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian. Wish we could have gotten that $20 price again but we are paying not too much more than that. Hope we have an enjoyable experience as well.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    We were seated with a group for lunch and small talk was fun. Lunch was a casual pace, and we were not in a hurry. It was a limited Chops menu, but our whole table went for the steak. Yum!
    Ok, so you got to sit with strangers on your Key Lunch too? (That happened to us on the Mariner in October!)
     

    savage1117

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 12, 2014
    We had The Key aboard The Harmony 11/24 and I don't think I pay for it again.

    We did get on the ship right away but when we got to the port they were already calling Gold members and it was 10:20am. It was nice to have them hold our carry on luggage but we don't use the pools that much so I wouldn't have cared too much to have them with us while exploring the ship. Chop's lunch was in main dining but we did sit by ourselves. It was me and my daughter. It was a good lunch.

    The times for the flowrider, ice skating , zipling etc were mostly on our first sea day and some activities were booked at the same time! So we never went because the times didn't work for our schedule either. My daughter wouldn't wake up to go ice skating at 9am (we are both night owls not early birds).

    We also never used the reserved seating for shows. We found better seats by ourselves. I loved the fine line show and asked about being seated in the key section without reservations to watch again and they said no. Not sure if I got accurate info but the show got cancelled anyways.

    We did not get a fruit bowl of any kind and I actually had to go to guest services to get a list of reserved times for activities.

    The breakfast was good and it was nice leisurely getting off the ship. We did use the internet but I would have bought that anyways.

    So if i could get the key cheaper or equal to the internet package for two people and chops lunch I would do it again.
     

    ZerasPride

    DVC Member Since 2001
    Joined
    Sep 1, 1999
    We had The Key aboard The Harmony 11/24 and I don't think I pay for it again.

    We did get on the ship right away but when we got to the port they were already calling Gold members and it was 10:20am. It was nice to have them hold our carry on luggage but we don't use the pools that much so I wouldn't have cared too much to have them with us while exploring the ship. Chop's lunch was in main dining but we did sit by ourselves. It was me and my daughter. It was a good lunch.

    The times for the flowrider, ice skating , zipling etc were mostly on our first sea day and some activities were booked at the same time! So we never went because the times didn't work for our schedule either. My daughter wouldn't wake up to go ice skating at 9am (we are both night owls not early birds).

    We also never used the reserved seating for shows. We found better seats by ourselves. I loved the fine line show and asked about being seated in the key section without reservations to watch again and they said no. Not sure if I got accurate info but the show got cancelled anyways.

    We did not get a fruit bowl of any kind and I actually had to go to guest services to get a list of reserved times for activities.

    The breakfast was good and it was nice leisurely getting off the ship. We did use the internet but I would have bought that anyways.

    So if i could get the key cheaper or equal to the internet package for two people and chops lunch I would do it again.
    Glad to hear you and your daughter were seated by yourself for the "Chops" lunch in the dining room. We are a party of 4 (2 couples) and would like a private table. I do not think the price we paid for the Key is terrible and since DH and I are in a jr suite and other couple is not and we all were going to get the internet package anyway I think we will keep it. (for now at least)
     
  • Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    Question about The Key and the main theater seats. Do any of the ships have the reserved Key seats in the front rows of the main orchestra level? Or are they always the balcony? We initially booked The Key for Adventure, but then cancelled due to them being on the balcony. Reserved seats are one of the main benefits for me, and yet I consider prime seats in the front row near the stage.
     

    Denise W

    Disney Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    I know when we have been on Anthem and Symphony, the suite reserved area seats were in the front of the balcony center.
    Denise
     
  • BigRob66

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2019
    I just used the key on the Independence (Dec 14-19). Chops lunch in the main dining room, rather than Chops. Then they were selling the chops lunch to paying customers. I thought I was going to get a fancy "chops" hamburger. It was literally burgers from windjammers, overcooked and slapped on a bun.

    Fruit was brought to my room. How nice! Nope, it was moldy. Room attendant didn't notice and refused to take it from my room until I left the ship 4 days later.

    I estimate that I got on the ship about 45 minutes earlier, and internet. I wound up canceling the key for my January and April sailings.
     

    mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I just used the key on the Independence (Dec 14-19). Chops lunch in the main dining room, rather than Chops. Then they were selling the chops lunch to paying customers. I thought I was going to get a fancy "chops" hamburger. It was literally burgers from windjammers, overcooked and slapped on a bun.

    Fruit was brought to my room. How nice! Nope, it was moldy. Room attendant didn't notice and refused to take it from my room until I left the ship 4 days later.

    I estimate that I got on the ship about 45 minutes earlier, and internet. I wound up canceling the key for my January and April sailings.
    Huh... I have you contacted RCCL about this?
     

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