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  #1  
Old January 23rd, 2014, 08:08 PM
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digger1200 digger1200 is offline
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Unhappy Fear of Cruising alone

Hello,
I really want to go on a cruise this year in 2014, but don't have anyone to go with. So my questions are this:

How did you make that first step in going solo?

Did you have fears of never leaving your cabin/room?

Where did you cruise to?

What ships cater or like having solo travelers?

At ports did you stay on the ship or adventure off?

How did you pick your excursions?

How long was your first solo cruise?

Dinner, I don't even want to go there. That is #1 fear. Eating by yourself in a packed restaurant EEKKK! Help needed on this one.


Any helpful advice is appreciated. I am shy female not young, not old either. I really want to cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, not Bahamas I've been there. Any tips on a good first solo cruise?

Thanks,
Janine
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  #2  
Old January 23rd, 2014, 08:18 PM
bobbris bobbris is online now
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The first step I took was booking the cruise. Im doing by first 2 solo cruises at the end of the year on quantum and allure. Although ive cruised before I did one cruise with my parents and grandma so we all had different interests so pretty much did our own thing. Everyone is friendly and I think the key is to just talk to everybody. Do what ever tours interest you it will be in a group and people always talk to each other.

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  #3  
Old January 23rd, 2014, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digger1200 View Post
Hello,
I really want to go on a cruise this year in 2014, but don't have anyone to go with. So my questions are this:

How did you make that first step in going solo? I went on my 1st solo cruise because the friend I was going to go with backed out. So my TA changed the reservation and I went alone. The 2nd one I took because I wanted to go on vacation and no one else could go 2nd time was easier.

Did you have fears of never leaving your cabin/room? On the 1st cruise the 1st day was crazy bad weather delayed planes they held the ship because so many planes were delayed I remember going to dinner and then going back to my room to sleep I was exhausted. but I went about doing what I wanted the rest of the time dinner bars pool I was there to relax and have fun like everyone else

Where did you cruise to? Caribbean 1st time and Bermuda the 2nd

What ships cater or like having solo travelers? NCL has some ships with solo cabins and RCCL is now building solo cabins as well.

At ports did you stay on the ship or adventure off? got off at every port took tours did shopping it was great.

How did you pick your excursions? cost and things I really wanted to do. on my 1st cruise in St. Thomas I took a sea plane tour which I knew the person I was supposed to travel with would never do it was awesome!!!!!

How long was your first solo cruise? 7 days

Dinner, I don't even want to go there. That is #1 fear. Eating by yourself in a packed restaurant EEKKK! Help needed on this one. on my 1st cruise I was originally seated with mostly older women(I was 28 at the time and they were all over 60?) and it was the early seating so I switched to the later seating and got a table with 4 couples and we had a great time. On my 2nd cruise I did my time dining and did dinner mostly alone but the people at the nearby tables were always friendly and would chat each night and the wait staff is great so much fun. and 2 nights I did the Windjammer buffet and I brought my kindle to read.


Any helpful advice is appreciated. I am shy female not young, not old either. I really want to cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, not Bahamas I've been there. Any tips on a good first solo cruise? I have done the eastern caribbean twice and I enjoyed it felt pretty safe on all the islands. Bermuda is another great place to cruise to and you get at least 2 days there so you really get a chance to explore the island.

Thanks,
Janine
I hope this helps
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  #4  
Old January 23rd, 2014, 09:29 PM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digger1200 View Post
Hello,
I really want to go on a cruise this year in 2014, but don't have anyone to go with. So my questions are this:

How did you make that first step in going solo?

I just decided that I was not going to be at the mercy of others when it came to vacations - I was going to plan what I wanted to do, regardless of whether anyone else was interested or available. It was done mostly out of exasperation, wanting to do instead of just waiting for others to want to do it too.


Did you have fears of never leaving your cabin/room?

Never; I was perfectly comfortable wandering the ship, finding places to sit and look around or read. I was too afraid, though, to wander into group situations (eg in a bar) by myself.


Where did you cruise to? My first solo cruise was a quick Bahamas trip, but it wasn't my first solo vacation.

What ships cater or like having solo travelers?

It depends on what you think "catering" to solo travelers means. To me, the tiny, interior solo cabins on NCL are not treating solo passengers well - IMO they're saying solo passengers don't deserve more than a tiny, interior cabin unless they want to pay as if they are two people. I think those solo cabins are insulting, not beneficial to solo cruisers. Crystal is one of the most welcoming to solo passengers, IMO, as they don't ask solos to pay 100% extra except for the top level penthouses (window cabins are 25% extra, balcony cabins are 35% extra), and they have Gentlemen Hosts to dance with unaccompanied women on every cruise. That says "we welcome solo passengers" to me a lot more than providing tiny, interior cabins that are higher priced but can be marketed as having no supplement (of course not, they're higher priced in the first place). YMMV. I hear Princess in particular is more geared to couples than solos, but I haven't sailed with them.

At ports did you stay on the ship or adventure off?

I would never stay on the ship in port, unless it was a place I'd previously visited and didn't like/didn't want to see again.


How did you pick your excursions?

I'm more of a DIY traveler and didn't take excursions on my first solo cruise. The only reason I took an excursion on my last cruise was it was included as a benefit from my travel agent. I would take excursions in places where solo women might be treated poorly (like in Morocco or Egypt), or where they're almost mandatory (like in Russia).


How long was your first solo cruise? 5 days.

Dinner, I don't even want to go there. That is #1 fear. Eating by yourself in a packed restaurant EEKKK! Help needed on this one.

It's still a tough one for me, regardless of whether I'm traveling solo on land or sea. I would recommend fixed dining, so that you have set table-mates and can get to know them a little and have that routine. If you don't like eating alone and don't want to sit with strangers at dinner (I like sharing a table and meeting other people; even though I don't generally become friends with them, it's pleasant to share a meal with others, IMO), you can always do a buffet on deck (much more casual) or room service.



Any helpful advice is appreciated. I am shy female not young, not old either. I really want to cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, not Bahamas I've been there. Any tips on a good first solo cruise?

Thanks,
Janine
If you are comfortable with your own company, that's a good start - then if you meet and befriend others, it's a bonus (but it's not a necessity). I've found I prefer sea days to visiting ports, so I choose cruises with a maximum amount of sea days and a minimum number of ports, but I know I'm atypical that way.
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 10:45 PM
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My first solo cruise was on the NCL Epic. Though the studios are small, I felt they catered to solos because of the studio lounge and dedicated cruise director who organized dinner every night at the solo gathering. Did epic twice. Then grabbed a RCCL Mediterranean cruise for 12 days with a 17% supplement. Could gave been bad, but my cruise critic buddies invited me to join their table. Now hopping on RCCL serenade in February and again CC members invited me to link reservations for dinner. In April, I'm cruising on the new NCL getaway, again in a studio cabin. If the choice is cruise or not cruise, I choose cruise.
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Old January 24th, 2014, 12:31 AM
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How did you make that first step in going solo?
I don't get much vacation time at my work, I'm single, I don't have same-age siblings, and organizing a group trip with my friends is like herding cats. So for me, it was a harsh realization: either cruise solo, or wait... and wait... and wait... until I find someone to go on vacation with. So I did what I knew I had to do: go on a cruise solo. Fortunately, Cruise Critic allayed a bulk of my concerns and reservations I had about going on a cruise by myself.

Did you have fears of never leaving your cabin/room?
Not really. I knew that I'd be better off not sitting in my cabin. The friendly atmosphere I found on the ship helped me overcome that fear. Even if I wanted to sit and read, I did it on the public promenade.

Where did you cruise to?
Key West and Cozumel.

What ships cater or like having solo travelers?
Norwegian Epic has single-occupancy cabins, so that one for sure. But it's a big ship. I, personally, like smaller ships. Since there are only a few food venues, one theater, one pool, and one promenade, everybody does everything in the same places. They're like college campuses for adults . I find that by the second day, I start seeing familiar faces, and it's really easy to run into people I met before.

At ports did you stay on the ship or adventure off?
I always ventured into ports. Well, I almost stayed on the ship once, when my museum excursion got rained out, but a friendly fellow passenger talked me out of it. So I walked to the same museum on my own, in the rain, and still saw it. Unfortunately, I didn't run into that person again, so I couldn't thank her.

How did you pick your excursions?
I picked them based on what I've been wanting to do before cruising even entered into the equation. For example, I wanted to swim with dolphins for quite some time, so that's what I booked for my excursion. Had the time of my life, and that excursion ended up being the highlight of my cruise.

How long was your first solo cruise?
It was 4 days. I picked a shorter cruise as a precaution of sorts, in case I decide that cruising isn't for me. Well, I was wrong .
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  #7  
Old January 24th, 2014, 11:37 AM
vacation luvver vacation luvver is offline
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Quote:
How did you make that first step in going solo?
I flew to Martinique solo and stayed there for a week in 1974. A friend was supposed to go with me, but she backed out when it was time to book, so I decided to go by myself instead of sit home and mope. I wanted to spend a week in London and a week in Paris in 1975 (I had majored in French in college), and a boyfriend wanted to go with me, but then he started talking about how we should go to Canada instead. I said no way, that I was going to London and Paris. We broke up, and I went solo to London and Paris. Booking a cruise and going solo was no big deal after that. It beat waiting and waiting until a friend is 100% positive that she will go, too.

Did you have fears of never leaving your cabin/room?
Definitely not!

Where did you cruise to?
Nassau and Bermuda.

What ships cater or like having solo travelers?
In the 1970s, none of them. But I didn't let that stop me.

At ports did you stay on the ship or adventure off?
I got off the ship, of course. What's the point of cruising to Nassau and Bermuda and not setting foot in Nassau and Bermuda?

How did you pick your excursions?
The same way that married couples picked them. I went to the shore excursion desk to see which excursions were available, and I chose which excursions I wanted.

How long was your first solo cruise?
One week.

Dinner, I don't even want to go there. That is #1 fear. Eating by yourself in a packed restaurant EEKKK! Help needed on this one.
Back then, they had only first and second sittings for dinner. If you didn't show up, all there was was room service. No surcharge restaurants. No dinner buffet. No restaurant that was open 24/7. So I signed up for second sitting and was seated with other people. No big deal. There was no way I could have eaten by myself even if I had wanted to, because the very few tables for two were reserved for couples on their honeymoon.
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  #8  
Old January 24th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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After my kids started college I started cruising solo. The first trip I was a bit anxious about how it would go but the minute I walked on the ship I started having fun!

I did a 7 day Western with a balcony and preplanned excursions, met people on the roll call and had late dining. I never found myself without something to do.

I particularly liked if I changed my mind about doing something, I didn't need to consult with anyone about changing plans.

In November I tried Your Time dining and didn't like it...I found people lining up at 5:20pm. I sat alone the first night--no problem. The second night I was seated with others and ended up meeting someone from our roll call who hadn't gone to the meet 'n greet. Sat with other roll callers or alone the remaining nights.

I found the anxiety I had was totally self imposed and I needn't have worried at all.

Remember, if your first night table guests don't work out for you, ask the maitre d' to move you.
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Old January 24th, 2014, 06:00 PM
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Hi, I started cruising 11 years ago and have never looked back

I was deciding what to do for vacation and my sister and bil have
cruised alot and she suggested I try a cruise....I am VERY indpendent
and cruising solo is awesome...easy peasy (for me anyway).

My first one was on Celebrity Century in May 2003 to the Eastern
Caribbean. 7 nights.

Everyone has different tastes....I love Celebrity and am going on another
cruise next month......close to my 40th...I think LOL

Most cruisers are quite friendly and I agree with checking out the
roll call section...it is a nice way to meet other folks on your sailing.

As for staying in the cabin? To sleep yes...but I love being out on
the ship. No fears at all. I am very outgoing and I it is easy for me
to meet folks.

The dinner thing? I usually do late seating, traditional dining. That is
just what is comfortable for me. I enjoy having the same wait staff
each night. Most times I have had very friendly tablemates. But if
things are not going smoothly? I go to the Maitr'd and ask to be moved.

Excursions? Sometimes I go on my own, sometimes I pick a ship tour...
sometimes you can find people on the roll call and get a group together
that way.

For me? Cruising solo is the only way I sail. I have lived on my own for
almost my entire adult life and I have no desire to share a cabin. I love
having my own space

Hope you decide to give it a try.....it is fabulous
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Old January 24th, 2014, 07:26 PM
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I would consider a "hosted singles cruise". You will have a built in group of like minded cruisers.3 cruise agencies now conduct these group cruises, usually monthly on most mainstream lines, many ports.Do a search to find availibilities. They will find you a same sex cabinmate or you can solo at higher cost. Groups, maybe 100-250, dine together at dinner, have activities and cocktail parties. Be aware that singles are a real minority on cruises. I have been on cruises where maybe a dozen cruisers were single. Group cruises take care of this situation.
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Old January 24th, 2014, 09:15 PM
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My first solo cruise was a 4 night Bahamas cruise for my 28th birthday. It wasn't my first solo vacation as I'm accustomed to traveling by myself. I had the time of my life, hence why I'm going on my 4th solo cruise in 55 days.

There are currently two RCCL ship that have solo cabins: Brilliance and Serenade. I'll be trying out the Serenade next spring and then Quantum is scheduled to debut this November with solo cabins with balconies.

I booked my excursion through RCCL as I was still a cruising newbie but I don't do that anymore unless it's worth the money.





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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:20 AM
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My first solo cruises were with a hosted singles group.

My biggest concern cruising alone was dinner. The group has a bunch of tables in the same area reserved. You can sit at the same table each night, or switch and meet new people.

They provided necklaces, which indicated who's in the group. If you're very shy, they let you know who might be looking for some conversation. There were some scheduled activities that you could join, or not. Dance classes, walks around the deck, ping pong, shore excursions. You can do as little or as much with the group as you feel like.

I never felt unsafe, on the ships, or in the ports.

Each one was different, with a varied list of people and expectations. The Halloween cruise was the biggest party I've ever been to. I enjoyed them all, for different reasons.

I'm looking forward to my next cruise, which is not with an organized singles group. I do plan to take advantage of the Epic's lounge to meet friends.
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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoncom View Post
I would consider a "hosted singles cruise". You will have a built in group of like minded cruisers.
Do you mean a group of people who have a fear of cruising solo? I'm not sure that would be a good social environment, actually.
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Old January 25th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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I want to thank everyone who replied and provided great tips.

Janine
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Old January 25th, 2014, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by digger1200 View Post
I want to thank everyone who replied and provided great tips.

Janine
For a little inspiration go to the Carnival forum board and read some of GAPearl's reviews. She usually cruises alone and was a great source of information for my solo Valor cruise last year. Hear reviews are very funny too.

I too am usually shy, so when I went on my first solo cruise I wasn't sure it would be fun. But the person I was going to sail with cancelled at the last minute and I since I had not trip insurance I was going to lose all the money anyway.

My first solo was a 7 day from Philadelphia to Bermuda. I had so much fun I really surprised myself. I did a combination of ship excursions and some exploring on my own. I pushed myself a little and went snorkeling even though I am a little scared of the water. I don't regret sailing solo, I will be going on my third solo cruise in September.

Do what you are comfortable with and maybe just a bit more, you might just surprise yourself.........
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Old January 25th, 2014, 09:20 PM
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I would encourage you to look at the NCL Breakaway (or Epic or Getaway)- but NYC seems closest to you. However, if you want eastern caribbean- Getaway goes there (Epic does western, Breakaway Bermuda or Western Caribbean)
The ship has 58-59 studio cabins so you can attend the daily solo gatherings in the end of the afternoon. Great way to meet people and also have people to go eat and go to shows with.
On the Bermuda cruise, I picked one excursion by myself but recognized some people and started talking to people before the excursion started.
On the Epic cruise, although I did 3 excursions by myself, I didn't care and on one of them saw people that were at a lunch I went to.

-In a studio cabin- it is 10x10 comfortable to sleep in but there is so much to do you have little desire to stay in it.
I had a balcony on the Breakaway (last minute) and felt conflicted once I got it- I did not want to spend time alone on it and there was plenty to do
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Old January 25th, 2014, 11:31 PM
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How did you make that first step in going solo? I was 34 at the time, and I decided if I waited for everyone else to get out and see the world, I'd be waiting forever. So I did some research, found a great rate, and just went.

Did you have fears of never leaving your cabin/room? No, but I did worry that no one would talk to me, and I'd be completely alone. I brought a lot of books.

Where did you cruise to? I did the Western Caribbean route - I can't remember the exact stops.

What ships cater or like having solo travelers? I've sailed with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. I don't think either caters to solos. It is up to you to decide how social you want to be.

At ports did you stay on the ship or adventure off? I went off the ship, on ship excursions, at each port.

How did you pick your excursions? They were things I wanted to do or see.

How long was your first solo cruise? 7 days.

Dinner, I don't even want to go there. That is #1 fear. Eating by yourself in a packed restaurant EEKKK! Help needed on this one. I always ask for a large table, and I always choose late dining - usually it is a table with other solo cruisers - that first cruise it was all women, and I was the youngest by about 20 years, but they were SO much fun! Late dining, because people can linger and talk over dessert or coffee, and then go to a show or a bar together if you are getting along. Also, if you eat breakfast in the dining room, they will seat people as they arrive, and you (and everyone else) ends up sitting with strangers - so everyone is sort of in the same boat.


Any helpful advice is appreciated. I am shy female not young, not old either. I really want to cruise to the Eastern Caribbean, not Bahamas I've been there. Any tips on a good first solo cruise? I don't want to offer tips on a specific cruise, but I can tell you this - you should choose an itinerary that YOU will enjoy. I wouldn't pick any based on the idea of there being more or less solo cruisers on it.
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Old January 26th, 2014, 08:27 AM
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Im doing my first SOLO this November 1. It's a Carnival repositioning Southern Caribbean cruise from San Juan to Miami.
I decide to do this cruise because I'm tired of everyone having excuses when vacation comes up, why they can't go. Some were legitimate so I understand. But I can't make because they can't go, stop me from enjoying myself.

The only thing I'm concern with is the dining. We do have a very active roll call for this trip. Seems quite a few people will be traveling SOLO on this one. We even have a few people with a shared spreadsheet for excursions. Quite a few people have sign up already. Myself included. The SOLO cruisers have decided to eat together a few nights. So that help with the only concern I have.

I am excited and looking forward to it. I say go ahead and give it a try. That's the only way you will know if its for you. If you decide to go, I encourage you to join the roll call. You will get a ton of info on what excursions they are doing. It's very likely at least one other person will be a SOLO on there. Good Luck
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Old January 26th, 2014, 11:41 AM
calliopecruiser calliopecruiser is offline
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If I had to give one piece of advice to solo travelers - don't think that only other solo travelers will be interested in meeting you, dining with you, or becoming friends with you. That's absolutely not true, so don't hamstring yourself by only looking for other solo cruisers, or thinking you will make more friendly contacts by sitting with or dining with only other solos. It's one of the things I don't understand about a lot of what I read on this forum actually (about how to meet other solo travelers, or whether or not there are a lot of other solo travelers on board.) My favourite dining companions on my last cruise were the only married couple at the table of 8, and I spent time chatting with them other places on board several times. While I'm sure there are couples who want "alone time" on the ship, I've likewise met solo people who don't want to chat or who are, IMO, boring and have nothing of interest (to me) to chat about.

Choose your companions by interests, not marital status, and don't assume that coupled people on board won't be interested in chatting or dining with you.
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  #20  
Old January 26th, 2014, 12:27 PM
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Lois R Lois R is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calliopecruiser View Post
If I had to give one piece of advice to solo travelers - don't think that only other solo travelers will be interested in meeting you, dining with you, or becoming friends with you. That's absolutely not true, so don't hamstring yourself by only looking for other solo cruisers, or thinking you will make more friendly contacts by sitting with or dining with only other solos. It's one of the things I don't understand about a lot of what I read on this forum actually (about how to meet other solo travelers, or whether or not there are a lot of other solo travelers on board.) My favourite dining companions on my last cruise were the only married couple at the table of 8, and I spent time chatting with them other places on board several times. While I'm sure there are couples who want "alone time" on the ship, I've likewise met solo people who don't want to chat or who are, IMO, boring and have nothing of interest (to me) to chat about.

Choose your companions by interests, not marital status, and don't assume that coupled people on board won't be interested in chatting or dining with you.
Great post....I have also met many couples/families over the years
and am friends with them to this day...actually I never go on my
cruises "searching for other solo cruisers"....it is just not important
to me.
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