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  #1  
Old October 2nd, 2005, 11:23 PM
surrocruiser surrocruiser is offline
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Default CB 9/24/05 sailing

Unfortunately, we are back. Yuck, reality. I will post a full review when I have the time. In the meantime, I can try to answer any questions.

If anyone is like me and will only drink certain beers and no cans, take them on with you. Figure out some way to get it on. I was too afraid to and just figured I would drink something from the bars. My total bar bill was under $30 b/c there is nothing they carry that I can drink. My last 2 cruise my bar bill was closer to $150. (I like my beers by the pool )

To those of you on-board with me, I apologize from missing the meets. I liked my balcony too much and lost track of time.
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  #2  
Old October 3rd, 2005, 12:21 PM
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9/24/05

Due to scheduling issues, our flight was the day the cruise left. I was very nervous but everything went beautiful. Our flight actually arrived almost 30 minutes early.

We took a cab to the pier and asked to detour to the publix to pick up some soda to take on-board. Our cab fare came to $19.70. I thought I read on the boards it was only $6-7? We were at that amount before we were even out of the airport. Also, I was in Publix under five minutes.

We arrived at the pier at 12 and were in our cabin by 1. They had just started letting people in as we stepped in line. This was a fairly smooth process. I recommend having a pen or two on you. The only people that I saw having trouble getting through were those looking for a pen to fill out papers.

Our cabin was B753. The interior room was a bit smaller than I had expected but perfectly fine for 2 adults. Bathroom was adequate size. The shower on the other hand.....It became a running joke that I gave myself a concussion trying to shave my legs. It really is that bad. Two previous cruises and have never seen showers this small, even in my inside cheapy cabin.

Our balcony had the dreaded support beam obstruction. Yes it took up part of our balcony, kept us from having 2 loungers out there but we had one and 2 chairs with a small table. We spent 90% of our on-board time out here. The obstruction was not that big of a problem. If it is the only aft balcony available, go for it.

I may not book aft facing again for two reasons: food smells every evening. Between 4:30 and 8 every evening it smelled like a seafood restaurant. I do have a super sensitive sense of smell but this still didn't keep me off the balcony at these times. The other was the lack of breeze. When the ship was moving, there was no air moving on my balcony like what I had on my port side balcony. Basically if the sun hit the balconies, we were baking out there.

More to come later. Reality is much busier right now than it should be....
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Old October 3rd, 2005, 05:01 PM
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continuing......

I had seen numerous posts, but had no idea the beds were really this uncomfortable. I asked for the egg crate and pre-tipped our steward b/c I also asked for an extra set of beach towels. I never got either.

The food throughout the cruise was just OK. Exceptional items: pizza (had it at least once a day), baked french onion soup, and the sword fish. I love desserts and really was never impressed. They weren't bad, just not exceptional. If you like dark chocolate, you are definitely in luck for desserts. I don't. I had a chocolate souffle that was excellent and my boyfriend had the cheesecake every single night and loved it.

My main complaint was probably the room service. I tried to order a club sandwich from the 24 hour room service menu at 10:30AM and was told that menu isn't available until after 11. Made no sense to me and I wasn't very happy about that.

Our sailing was sold out but it never really felt like that. Sea days, it required being very flexible about where you would take a lounge chair but it seemed like every spot had some good points (breeze, shade, view, near the pizza...) We ended up spending alot of time on our balcony so maybe that was why I didn't notice over crowding. Although, there was one time that was bad. Breakfast on disembarkation day. I think some of these people tried to get their entire cruise fare covered by eating that much in one breakfast. But, that many people having to be out of their cabins at the same time and all trying to eat, it really went fairly well.

Personally, whether it was just a fluke or not, the buffet in Horizon Court seemed to be much better than Cafe Caribe. But we always sat in Cafe Caribe b/c we could never find a table in the Horizon Court.

We did MUTS one night, mostly b/c we went to get pizza for dinner and walked past empty chairs on our way to a table in Cafe Caribe. It was fun but everytime one of us went to the restroom or to grab a drink, people wanted to take the persons chair. It was crazy.


I'll review the ports next time.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Princess Cays

Ok, I'm sure to get slammed for this but here goes. I did not like Princess Cays. We rented a cabana and a sea board. After 6 different employees sent us from on end of the space to the other, we were finally told to just go on the beach and find someone working there to unlock our cabana. Well an hour later, after finding 3 different cabanas that someone claimed while I was getting the employees attention we had our cabana. What a waste. I would have been better off with one of the palm trees. We never got the sea boards b/c even though I had pre-reserved, none were available. We were told to come back in an hour or two. Well, once we sat in the cabana melting and then going in the water to cool off and having our feet torn up, I wanted to do the lunch and just go back to the ship. (The beach really is terribly rocky. This was my third trip to the Bahamas and everytime the beaches were rocky.) When facing the island, we went to the right to get the cabana. I wish we had checked out the left side in case it was better but by the time we had the cabana we were so far to the right it just wasn't worth trying the other side.

I would not recommend pre-reserving anything here. Apparently, it doesn't actually mean you have it reserved and they will not refund for the seaboards or other water sports from what I understand. Save the little bit of money and have a coconut monkey drink. That was my highlight of the trip to Princess Cays.
In hindsight, we should have just stayed on board. Some people love this stop, I'm just not one of them.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 09:32 AM
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Rachel - I agree - Princess Cays was not all I thought it would be...however, with some good water shoes the rocks aren't that big of a bother. I did see how crowded it was to the right of the beach and stayed far away from there... I was able to pick up a beautiful windchime there - that made my trip.
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Old October 4th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Hi Rachel,

Thanks for posting this. We are off for our first Princess cruise this weekend, on the CB eastern.
Good for you for keeping a positive attitude! I try to not get bent out of shape by the little things, but some of your experiences would have definitely riled me.
The 24-hr room service not being available until 11am?? What????
And not getting the egg-crate you asked for? Did he ever say why???
The cabana snafu???

I'm sure we'll enjoy the cruise, but based on your review and many other posts, my expectations have lessened considerably. I think I'm gonna have to roll with quite few more punches than I've experienced on HAL or Celebrity.

I say this because there have been so many instances reported which indicate to me that customer complaints about the occasional rude or inhospitable crew member bring no repercussions from management, and the staff knows this. I have the impression that, as long as the ships are full, then passengers complaints are only mildly interesting to Princess management.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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The reason I was told we couldn't get the egg crate padding was b/c it was so late (3:30) and there wouldn't be any left. We had been in our cabin waiting to see our steward since 1 b/c I didn't know you could page them. There's a card on the desk with the pager # if you want one of these, I suggest page your steward as soon as you make it to your cabin.

Ocho Rios

I think Jamaica is a beautiful place. They just need to really build a different pier. Who wants to look of the ship and see a huge pile of limestone? It looked like a dirty factory with a big pile of sand but our cab driver said limestone.

We had nothing planned other than Margaritaville for the day. After we got off the ship, we made our way outside of the fence (I read somewhere not to take a taxi from outside the fence, oops.) As soon as we stepped out of the gate, it seemed like every taxi driver on the island was in ourt face trying to yell offers at me. Normally, I would just quietly say no thanks. This was over the top. I firmly put my hands up and said "no, now back off" At that moment I decided I would like to see a little more of the island than Margaritaville. On of the cab drivers quietly said he could take us anywhere and he would make sure the price was right. Bartering back and forth, he offered me 4 stops for $40 and drop us at Island Village (Margaritaville) for the 2 of us. I didn't want to spend that, I told him $20 and he took us to the gardens and the bottom of Dunn's River Falls. I had never been so I wanted a few pics. Well the locals here are what I remember from Montego Bay. Pushy! They immediately put necklaces, statues, anything. The "RastaMan" married my BF and I then convinced us that we were bying these statues. (We both walked away asking what just happened and what the heck we bought????) I'm glad we did the mini-tour, just wish we had been more prepared for the over the top sales method.

We finally get to Margaritaville about 10. We then grabbed a table in the shade next to the pool. I took about 30 pics just of the place. (I'm a proud Parrothead. I've been to Orlando, Key West, and Montego Bay, working on the rest. ) We ordered drinks and just relaxed by the pool. By about noon, I was feeling pretty "wasted away again" If anyone else was there, I was the one who let the DJ right my cabin number on my forehead. I got a free margarita for it (just what I needed ). Then the bartender changed the cabin number to say "I love sex". By 1, I was stumbling a bit so we headed back to the ship. I passed out on the balcony and we didn't make dinner that night.

It was a really fun day. If you go to Ocho Rios, even if you aren't a parrothead, go to Margaritaville. It's alot of fun. Just take it easy on the drinks if you get there early.

BTW, I had my 2 daughters with me in Montego Bay. (just means I limit myself to one or two drinks) and they had a great time. If you have kids, they will like it. It's a fun set up and there's alot to do. I've never seen it turn into something more than a PG rating.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboat
The 24-hr room service not being available until 11am?? What????
My guess is that the particular item Rachael wanted (club sandwich) was a luncheon item and wasn't going to be available until 11AM. You'll find the same thing in almost every land restaurant: certain menu items are available during set times of the day.
Quote:
And not getting the egg-crate you asked for? Did he ever say why???
This happened to me on the Royal Princess. They don't have enough egg-crates for every single bed. My cabin steward was creative and put a couple of extra blankets, folded over, and tucked tightly under the bottom sheet. It added about 2" of padding which made a huge difference.
Quote:
The cabana snafu???
Princess Cays is definitely not one of my favorite spots. We had a horrible time there: it took almost 2 hours to even get to the beach from the time we got our tender tickets and once we got there, there wasn't a spot left to place a towel much less find a lounger or chair. We walked from one end to the other and after about an hour and a half, gave up and went back to the ship, which was practically empty. I'll never get off at Princess Cays again -- the ship is GREAT to have to yourself!
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Last edited by Pam in CA; October 5th, 2005 at 09:41 AM.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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I know a lot of people really like Princess Cays, but since we're not beach lovers, we prefer to stay on the ship day. That usually turns out to be one of our favorite days since we almost have the ship to ourselves.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 11:32 AM
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If I had known in advance that the room service menu really isn't available 24 hours, this probably wouldn't have been a problem.

I wasn't so much irritated b/c they were out of the egg crates, just the attitude like I had waited too long to ask for it. I had been looking for my steward since boarding and saw every other one nearby, mine was just nowhere to be seen. Then I was told since it was this late they were probably already gone. That was it, end of discussion.

Grand Cayman

This was my 2nd time to G.C. and it started out exactly the same both times. Over a million degrees and shoulder to shoulder walking through the shops. My opinion, there really isn't anything worth fighting all that to buy something in any of these stores. Last time we rented a car and drove for a bit to find a beach. I had them drop me off so I could go back to the ship early. This time we did the Aqua Boats!!! These are the greatest things ever. It can only be booked through the cruiseline, I asked them b/c I had tried and tried to book independantly. There are 2 guides. Morgan was one and try as I might, I can not remember the others name. Both of these gentlemen were terrific. We got in our mini boat and took off. (Make sure you bring a towel or 2 to cushion the seat) I would recommend take turns driving. I would prefer to just ride but b/c my boyfriend drove he couldn't figure out why I insisted on holding on the entire trip. It was crazy and fast and very bumpy. (By the way, I have a pretty bad back. 10 foot fall that I landed on my back from a couple years ago and a car accident last December that I just ended my therapy for in May, against the doctor's orders. Take something before hand if you are concerned. I was sore the rest of the evening.) First we went to Smith Cove (I think that was the name) which was very prettyand we could swim in to the beach if we wanted. This is the only drawback to the excursion. Climbing back in is really difficult. The guides helped me and I still struggled. Ladies wear a smarter swimsuit than I did, my top dropped almost to my waist. Then we took off in the boats again. The whole trip is right near the ships which is really fun to be that close. We stopped near the shipwreack for more snorkeling. The fish here were huge. I'm a bit squimish about the fish that touch you so I stayed in the boat.

This is my favorite thing I have ever done on a cruise and will probably book my next cruise to include a port with a similar excursion.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 11:41 AM
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Where did you rent a car from during your previous time in GC? We were in GC the week before you (hoping to rent one right at the port tender dock area), but we were told we would have to go to the airport. Our itinerary changed from Eastern to Western due to Hurricane Rita, so our stop there was unplanned and we had not done any research in advance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RACHEL1374
Grand Cayman

This was my 2nd time to G.C. and it started out exactly the same both times. Over a million degrees and shoulder to shoulder walking through the shops. My opinion, there really isn't anything worth fighting all that to buy something in any of these stores. Last time we rented a car and drove for a bit to find a beach. I had them drop me off so I could go back to the ship early. This time we did the Aqua Boats!!! These are the greatest things ever. It can only be booked through the cruiseline, I asked them b/c I had tried and tried to book independantly. There are 2 guides. Morgan was one and try as I might, I can not remember the others name. Both of these gentlemen were terrific. We got in our mini boat and took off. (Make sure you bring a towel or 2 to cushion the seat) I would recommend take turns driving. I would prefer to just ride but b/c my boyfriend drove he couldn't figure out why I insisted on holding on the entire trip. It was crazy and fast and very bumpy. (By the way, I have a pretty bad back. 10 foot fall that I landed on my back from a couple years ago and a car accident last December that I just ended my therapy for in May, against the doctor's orders. Take something before hand if you are concerned. I was sore the rest of the evening.) First we went to Smith Cove (I think that was the name) which was very prettyand we could swim in to the beach if we wanted. This is the only drawback to the excursion. Climbing back in is really difficult. The guides helped me and I still struggled. Ladies wear a smarter swimsuit than I did, my top dropped almost to my waist. Then we took off in the boats again. The whole trip is right near the ships which is really fun to be that close. We stopped near the shipwreack for more snorkeling. The fish here were huge. I'm a bit squimish about the fish that touch you so I stayed in the boat.

This is my favorite thing I have ever done on a cruise and will probably book my next cruise to include a port with a similar excursion.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 01:03 PM
surrocruiser surrocruiser is offline
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We did rent from the airport that time. Before we booked the aqua boats though, I made a reservation for Andy's car rental. My confirmation said it was walking distance from the pier.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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Hey Rachel!

I saw you at Margaritaville!!! We were sitting at one of the tables farthest away from the pool close to the DJ.

We had a great time! DH got pretty "wasted away"! He said he doesn't even remember going back to the ship! LOL!

I agree with you on Jamaica - we walked from the ship to Island Village and were harassed the entire way. DH had to shove one of the natives out of his way. If we return, we will not walk anywhere again! They don't take no for an answer and it was a little scary!

We were disappointed with GC. It was VERY hot and SOOOO crowded. There were 3 other ships tendered, and shopping was a hassle! We also thought that their prices were too high compared to Jamaica and Cozumel. We went back to the ship within an hour to get relief from the heat!

Look forward to reading the rest of your review!
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Old October 5th, 2005, 02:16 PM
surrocruiser surrocruiser is offline
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Itprn - Kind of embarrasing now. Hehe

Cozumel

We booked the Dune Buggy tour through Cozumel homes. I picked this company b/c when I called being unsure if ships time and island time would be the same, I was told the guide would bring me back whatever time I was comfortable with. We arrived at their rental office half hour early. We didn't know it was the rental office though so we walked up and down the street 2 or 3 times first. There ended up being 2 other couples on our excursion that were on our ship so I really relaxed about making it back on-board. Omar was our guide and he did a really good job. First we drove through town then down a 2 lane highway to get to the east side of Coz. The ride was great. It had rained that morning so once we were off roading, there were lots of puddles to splash through. They serve water, sodas, and beer all throughout the trip. That was very nice.

I'm going to make the same back recommendation, take something before you go or with you or something. I was still achy from the aqua boats the day before. I finally got smart halfway through the day when my boyfriend pointed out that I was miserable and took Tylenol since that was all I had. Much better after that. Also, the sun came out again and it was sooo hot. I was only hot when the buggies stopped. I recommend the fans that also spray mist.

We made a beach stop and a small ruins stop. Omar gave us some history which was very interesting and then we walked up the road to a canal.

Do not forget bug spray. I believe they were sand mites but they were mean.

Also, I wore flip flop sandals b/c we were doing the beach. If your sandals are sturdy with backstraps, you would probably be ok. Me, I twisted my ankle which swelled up like a balloon. This side of the island is pretty sometimes. Sometimes there was garbage and old shoes all across our path, another reason I would wear closed shoes next time.

We drove our way back to our picnic spot to snorkel while Omar prepared our lunch. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous about this. Local food? Am I going to miss the rest of the cruise b/c I'm sick? Also, I'm extremely picky, what if it's yucky? Well, it was excellent and I even ate the guacamole (sp?). I've only had guac one other time and that was to bribe my daughter and I gagged the whole time. (What a wimp) We did luck out a bit, I think, b/c it started to cloud up again and rain just ever so slightly. Yeah! I wasn't hot anymore.

I didn't get in the water past my knees. There was alot of seaweed and our guide warned there could be baraccudas in the water and keep an eye out for them (WHAT!?!?!?!) My boyfriend went in and said there wasn't much to see. If you want snorkeling in Coz, do the west side.

After our tour was finished, we went back to the pier, stopped in a couple shops, then had a drink at the Happy Pelican's. I ordered Corona, BF ordered margarita. I got 2 Coronas for $4 (2x1?), his margaritas were decent in size but they were $9 a piece. Cheaper on the ship and bigger too. Oh well, should have known since we didn't see drink prices.

We stopped at the duty free shop for a few botlles of...well, anything. (he's not picky, just wanted to build up the bar a bit) We should have just bought everything on the ship b/c it was the same price. Had we wanted it to drink on-board, we could have. We carried a bag with three bottles right past everyone. They x-rayed and not one employee cared. Had I known, I would have found somewhere to get some beer.

This is a very long review, I apologize. I just know the ones that were fairly detailed were the most helpful to me.

I promise to wrap it all in next time.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 08:20 AM
taterules taterules is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pam in MA
My guess is that the particular item Rachael wanted (club sandwich) was a luncheon item and wasn't going to be available until 11AM. You'll find the same thing in almost every land restaurant: certain menu items are available during set times of the day.
Is this the case on all the Princess ships (particularly interested in the Golden). On other cruise lines, I would order sandwiches to the room early in the morning so I'd be ready for early snorkeling excursions. Continental breakfast just isn't going to cut it, and I have to get up even earlier to hit the buffet.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 09:09 AM
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Our last sea day was not too bad. I really did get the impression that alot of things were closing down in order to prepare for the following week. After dinner, I wanted to sit at the aft pool and have a couple of beers but that was being cleaned. No problem, they said I could sit two decks up. Well, there were no chairs out. OK, I ended up going to the MUTS pool while the Tom Jones concert was on (not my favorite) which kind of defeated the purpose of hearing to wake and seeing a few that I'm not sure how long it will take me to get back to. No big deal, just a little disappointing.

Photos - I tortured my BF into taking as many of the professional photos as I could through bribery. Bothe formal nights we took at least 4 different spots, about 3 or 4 poses at each. We ended up with 1 that wasn't terrible. The poses they put us in were so awkward, it was visible on our faces. They lean towards him sitting, me standing behind with my arms around and our heads close. This gave the appearance of a hunch back and I look like I'm in pain. Alot of the others, one of us would be blinking or they posed us with a funny head tilt.
As a side note, I received a letter from Princess way back when we booked entitling me to one free photo. After 6 phone conversations with their reps, I assumed there would be a credit to my on-board account. Nope no record of it. If they offer you incentive, bring the paper along with you, don't assume it will just be taken care of.
In hindsight, I wish I had just grabbed random people throught the ship to snap pictures of us. They wouldn't not have come back quite so bad, plus it isn't $21.95!!!

Disembarkation

I must say, I was somewhat impressed with how fast they unload that many people. I wish some of my fellow passengers hadn't felt the need to try to "get their moneys worth" at the breakfast buffet b/c that was just an ugly scene. (I actually heard 3 different people say that) Once they called our tag color and number we went down and waited in line about 15 minutes or so. Then, customs for maybe 5 minutes. Then it's down to baggage claim which we found ours immediately and were out the door.

Taxi

I'm pretty sure I remember reading the taxi would be $6 to the pier. Maybe that was per person. We shared a van with another couple back to the airport. This came to $15 per couple. I don't know if I misunderstood what the fare was supposed to be or not, just something to be aware of.

Overall

I liked most things about Princess. I will sail with them again, if they offer the right itinerary and price for what I book. I can't say that I'm a die hard fan though. I was very excited to have cruise food for a week (yum) and there was not alot that I got that excited about. Except the pizza......I wish they would deliver.
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Old October 6th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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For a wonderful disembarkation breakfast, I really recommend going to the dining room. They will serve you quickly if you want to get out fast but if you don't, it's a nice, leisurely breakfast where it isn't crowded and you can linger over coffee. Much better than the buffet, hanging out in a lounge somewhere, or even the Platinum Captain's Circle lounge.

And, if anything thinks that the buffet food is "mediocre," do try the dining room. It really is better. I don't always follow my own advice but when I do, I'm glad I have.
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