Is the Key Worth It?

Filed under: Planning

By Moms at Sea Travel Team travel advisor, Kelly Aleman

What is The Key?

The Key is priority access to certain aspects of a Royal Caribbean cruise such as

  • priority embarkation,

  • a special welcome lunch on embarkation day,

  • reserved times at certain attractions onboard, reserved seating section at shows,

  • Voom Surf and Stream Internet,

  • a special debarkation day breakfast,

  • a flexible debarkation time. 

I decided to try The Key on Harmony of the Seas July 10, 2022 sailing. This sailing included my husband and two boys (6 years & 19 month old). We purchase Surf and Stream internet for two of us every cruise. My husband had some work he needed to do on this cruise, so he was debating on purchasing a third internet plan. Yes, you can switch back and forth between phone/computer, but we like having it easily accessible on a few devices at the same time. You can also just buy one plan and add multiple devices so price that option as well!

The Key was $26.99 per person per day for our cruise. It is required to be purchased for anyone over the age of 6, so my 19 month old did not need to purchase The Key. For our sailing, The Key was only a few dollars more per person per day compared to the Voom Surf and Stream, which was around $23.99 per person per day. We had been curious about The Key, so we figured for a minimal increase in price, we would try it! For our sailing it was $566.79 for The Key for my family. 

On our last few cruises, we found embarkation to be longer than pre-covid times (when not sailing in a suite). The main reason we purchased The Key was to enhance our embarkation experience, the rest was just a bonus. We arrived at the terminal at our scheduled time of 11am. The Key told us to “arrive at the terminal at 11:30am” as well as “arrive at the terminal no later than 11:30am”. So with that information, we decided to arrive at our scheduled embarkation time of 11 am, and we were hoping the signs for The Key would be out.

My husband dropped the kids, our luggage, and me off while he went to park the car in the parking garage. After handing over our luggage to the porters, I walked up to an employee who was directing guests to get in line before entering the terminal building and asked him where the line was for The Key. He immediately removed the stanchion and brought us towards the front of the line (behind maybe 3 other people) versus entering at the end of the line which was much further back.

Immediately, I enjoyed the shorter line aspect.

Once in the terminal building, we proceeded to follow the signs for The Key. I will note, we did not have any children who needed to be covid tested at the port, so I cannot speak to that aspect of The Key at embarkation. Every line we entered was an expedited experience. After security, a restroom break for the kids, and upstairs to the check-in area, we were then told it was time to board! We entered the ship at 11:39am. This was not my fastest embarkation, but not my slowest by any means. I do know we would have been waiting in longer lines had we not had The Key. 

Once onboard we met up with Grandma and Grandpa who were also on this sailing. We quickly figured out our show schedule and did our muster drill. At noon The Key lunch opened in the Main Dining Room, and we headed there for our lunch. We typically go to the Windjammer on Embarkation Day for lunch, so this lunch was a change of pace for us. The Menu was a Lunch selection from Chops. The service and food did take a while, and we left before dessert, as our toddler began to melt down after a day of traveling. Personally, the lunch sounded better than it was for us. The food was good, but not great. Our biggest comment was the slow service for lunch. While Windjammer is busy on Embarkation Day, we would have been able to enjoy a meal faster. This is just what works for us with having two young kids at this point in our lives.

We did not utilize too many of The Key perks while on board. There was a letter given out at The Key lunch which explained all the benefits. We were familiar with most of them, and there were even special hours for certain amenities on board for The Key, such as The Ultimate Abyss, Flowrider, Zipline and Rock Climbing to name a few. We did not use any of the special hours as the time were limited and were typically when we had other plans (like the Ultimate Abyss special time was during dinner one night). I do wish they had times during peak times as that is when it would have been more beneficial. 

We enjoyed The Key special seating at several of the shows. There was someone holding The Key sign, and it was easy to locate at all the shows. The Ice Shows had The Key seating the first few rows. One of the Ice Shows, we selected the actual front row, and the seats were fantastic. My toddler especially enjoyed the front row action!

The day before debarkation we received The Key luggage tags in our room along with a letter explaining the optional breakfast we could enjoy in the Main Dining Room for The Key. We prefer getting off early and quickly in the morning on debarkation day, so we decided not to partake in the sit down breakfast option. We grabbed some light snacks from Park Cafe on debarkation morning. We did enjoy the flexible departure window of 7:30am-9am. Once The Key was called, we quickly made our way into the terminal. There were no lines, and we walked right throw customs as we all had passports. After our facial recognition was done, we walked into where the luggage was stored. There was a sign for The Key luggage. A porter asked if we needed assistance, and we quickly pointed out our luggage as he grabbed it and put it on his cart. The porter walked us all the way through the terminal, into the parking garage, in the elevator, and all the way to our car. Talk about service!

So what were my favorite parts of The Key? 

  • Expedited boarding. The lines in Port Canaveral were fairly long for boarding Harmony. This helped us at each step to bypass any long lines

  • Reserved seating at shows

  • Flexible debarkation time

Would I purchase The Key again? Is The Key worth it?

It depends!

Is it a must on all future cruises for my family?

No. If I get a good price, then yes! If I can find The Key for a few dollars more per day than Voom Surf and Stream, then it makes sense for my family (especially since we aren’t paying for our toddler right now)! I will note, if sailing in a Suite, I would not purchase The Key. In a Suite, you already receive expedited boarding. Plus, if sailing in a Suite, on certain ships, internet is already included as well. I plan to watch the price of The Key compared to Voom Surf and Stream on my upcoming cruises!

Hopefully this answers any questions you may have had regarding The Key! Happy sailing!