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  1. I searched but I could not find .. On one of the news sites there is a snippet on Australia’s own Scenic Eclipse about to go to sea trials. Will make its way south and float around for a while. Includes Antarctica, $$$$$. https://www.escape.com.au/holiday-ideas/cruises/aussie-ship-the-worlds-been-waiting-for/image-gallery/a301d1e94b7b2af1fb7897fc752aea88 More details on the ship from the Scenic website https://www.scenic.com.au/eclipse
  2. I’m setting up my Trip Report a couple weeks in advance. I hope to provide information that will help other cruisers. My mom (early 50s) and I (30 years old) are taking a Girls Trip on the Celebrity Eclipse out of Vancouver, BC for a 10-Night Ultimate Alaska cruise. This will be the Eclipse's inaugural Alaska season. If it wasn’t for this long itinerary (I think anything below 10-nights is too short!), we were going to do the 7-Night Northern Glacier cruise aboard the recently revolutionized Celebrity Millennium, plus add the Denali Express land tour. I wanted to bring my mom on this sailing as she doesn’t travel much, and I want to celebrate Mother’s Day onboard with her. Also, we don’t see each other that often, as she lives in South Carolina and I live in Miami, so this will be a great mother-daughter trip. I booked this trip about 1.5 years ago and cannot believe that in 16 days, our trip of a lifetime will begin! Side note is that my mom wasn’t so eager to go on this cruise. She has been on two cruises, one with Princess and the other with NCL, both to the Caribbean. I told her that this trip will not even compare to the Caribbean and to give Celebrity a try. I am happy to say she is finally getting more excited with each day that we are nearing the cruise. We decided to sail AquaClass and had a wonderful A1 mid-ship location on Deck 11. Just the other day, though, I was given the amazing opportunity to upgrade to a Sky Suite S1 category. For those that are not sure where these are located, they are the corner aft units. I cannot believe we scored one of these suites. I feel like any aft facing stateroom is one of the best to have onboard an Alaskan sailing, as you will have 180-degree views of the stunning scenery. My mom has no idea we have been upgraded from an A1 to a S1, and it is so hard to keep it a secret! We will be traveling to Vancouver on May 7th, spending a full day in the city on May 8th, and embarking on May 9th. For those who have never been to Vancouver, I suggest you spend a few days here. It’s a gorgeous city! We scored an Airbnb condo near Stanley Park for 2 nights at a great price. I know some may be weary of staying in an Airbnb, but we made sure we rented the entire place and we are also used to these types of accommodations, as this will be our 5th Airbnb. The following is our itinerary and what we plan on doing in each port: Day 1: Embarkation Day in Vancouver! Day 2: Cruising the Inside Passage! Day 3: Ketchikan: We will be doing this port on our own. We will be heading out to Totem Bight State Historical Park and will also check out Southeast Alaska Discovery Center. Afterwards, we will be checking out Creek Street Day 4: Sitka: This is the other port we are doing on our own. We are still deciding whether to walk or take a cab to the Raptor Center. Afterwards, we will take a bus/cab to Fortress of the Bears and then head over to Sitka National Historic Park. Depending on time, we may check out some Russian landmarks in town. Day 5: Skagway: My mom and I will be splitting up in the morning to do our own excursions. My mom will be doing the “Sled Dog and Musher’s Camp” excursion, while I will be flying with TEMSCO to do the Dogsledding and Glacier tour. I couldn’t get my mom to fly in a heli, but this is a huge personal bucket list experience to check off. Later, we will meetup and explore Skagway together. Day 6: Icy Strait Point: Another port where my mom and I will split up for a couple hours. I will be doing ZipRider (SUPER excited!) and my mom will be relaxing in town until I’m done. After the excursion, we will meetup and explore the town. Day 7: Juneau: My mom and I have elected to do the “Ben Fogle’s Great Adventures: Alaska’s Whales, Glaciers and Rainforests” excursion with Gastineau Guiding. This is a 5-hour tour that must be arranged with the cruise line. Afterward, depending on weather, we plan on going to Mount Roberts Tramway. Day 8: Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier – Cruising! Day 9: Sea Day Day 10: Victoria, BC – We have a full day here! We booked via CVS Tours to take us to Butchart Gardens. While there, we will be going to The Dining Room to have afternoon tea. Both my mom and I love the Victoria era, so we thought this experience will be unique! Day 11: Debarkation Day in Vancouver, BC 😞 Since our flights don’t leave until 10:30pm, we found a great tour with Landsea Tours and Adventures called Vancouver Delights. It is a 7-hour tour that visits all the main sightseeing spots in Vancouver and takes us to The Capilano Suspension Bridge. The awesome part of all this is that Landsea will store our luggage AND take us to the airport! *If anyone has any other recommendations on places to see in these ports, please let me know!* I am still researching the top restaurants and stores to check out in each port, and will add those to the trip report.
  3. Generally I think we all are much more Celebrity Critics than we are Celebrity Compliments, so thought I would share this. To me it's one of the reasons why Celebrity keeps my loyalty. It shows me again and again that sometimes it's the things you DON'T see/affect you that matter the most Celebrity Eclipse March 24th Sailing Day 3 of a 15 night cruise (next port Lima Peru ~.1.5 days out)) about 10-12 of us had gotten together in a smallish conference room for a small celebration. During the get together one in our group started convulsing and stopped breathing & he turned blue. Luckily no one panicked and we took the right steps We called the emergency number on the phone We flagged down a nearby ships officer who used his mobile to alert everyone that needed to be notified We cleared the room of chairs and got the man on the floor and started cpr, and after about a minute he started breathing again Within about 2-2.5 minutes, about a half dozen senior officers , a doctor, and a nurse arrived on the scene with a gurney to move the man to medical. We would find out that the plan was to move him off in Lima, Peru. Until then he would be kept stable and monitored in the ships hospital. We were just glad he was breathing and even making jokes the next day, even though he realized how serious it was. Celebrity has a policy of "No one is left behind" so a member of the specially trained "care team" was left with the afflicted gentleman and wife in Peru. She arranged for a hotel for the wife (The care team member stayed in an adjoining room at the hotel), and stayed with her for the next three days, providing comfort and translating everything since not a lot of the people in the hospital spoke English, and neither of the couple spoke Spanish. She would tell us later on that Erica (the Guest Relations Care Team Member) was their "true angel", and they really don't know what they would have done without her. The human resources manager on Eclipse (Kathleen I think her name was) also checked in with all of us individually to see how we all were doing after it all happened, and to see if we needed anything. The couple was medevaced home and Erica returned to Guest Relations after 4 days in Peru. He still has some medical battles ahead at home, but the whole team both onboard and shoreside showed genuine compassion, and really treated them both like they were family members, not just cruisers. When I returned home I was recounting the story to a friend, and she said "when I hear of a company go above and beyond obligations, and treat people like that it restores my faith"
  4. Cheers Cruise Critic! It is thankfully that time again for another Live cruise blog! Edward and I are leaving Chicago for Vancouver to join the Celebrity Eclipse on Sunday the 19th for our first Alaskan Cruise! Not only have we never been to Alaska before but we have not been to Vancouver either, so this will be a cruise with many firsts for us and we are very much looking forward to it. If you don’t feel like reading this first post (I know it might be a bit boring with lots of details) feel free to skip to the bottom of this post to see my youtube video with a quick introduction to our trip. For those of you who have not followed us before I will give you a quick rundown of ourselves. I am Paul and my partner is Edward. We live in Chicago (yes in the actual city, right downtown) and are 32 and 36. We try to cruise at least a few times a year and typically on longer itineraries when our schedule allows. This will mark our 18th cruise on Celebrity. As always I will take you along with us on our journey and let you know what is going on every step of the way. You can follow me on social media, specifically on Instagram - PaulKBlackburn You can also follow the hashtag #CruisingOnCelebrity I’ll be posting photos on Instagram but also a lot of short videos on my instagram stories since that seems to upload very easily even if the internet is not 100%. As always I will post at least 10 photos per day on here including the “Dailys” for you to review. I also will let you know any and all costs incurred, whether we are talking about flights, taxis, meals out, ubers, etc. I know many times the talk of money can be “taboo” but at the end of the day none of these wonderful things are free so I think it is important to mention the costs to help everyone plan better. I also encourage you all to ask questions about any topics cruise or travel related. Whether you want to know my thoughts on the food or who is working on the ship or how busy the ports are…just ask and I’ll do my best to answer them. The more interactive I am with all of you the more I enjoy writing so do not feel bad about asking questions. I also want to take a moment to thank all of you who commented on a posting of mine over a month ago asking for suggestions for this trip. We read through all of your comments, tips and tricks and it helped greatly in determining what we are doing and what to pack! Our highlight excursion this trip will be the helicopter tour which stops on two glaciers and the glacier walk. Hoping for good weather! Below are all the pricing details of our cruise, including everything from travel insurance to the cruise itself. It may be a bit boring so don’t feel like you need to read it! Let’s take a look at the cruise itinerary Celebrity Eclipse May 19th - 7 Nights Day 1 - Vancouver Day 2 - Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage Day 3 - Icy Strait Point Day 4 - Cruising Hubbard Glacier Day 5 - Juneau Day 6 - Ketchikan Day 7 - Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage Day 8 - Vancouver We are arriving in Vancouver on the evening of Friday May 17th. After the cruise we are also spending one day and night in Vancouver and flying back to Chicago on memorial day morning. Cruise Pricing OK, let’s talk about money! We booked this cruise a couple months ago. It was a last minute thought. When we were on the Edge in February we booked an August Equinox cruise as a place holder to have an on board booking that we could transfer to another cruise. We used that onboard booking for this cruise so we were able to get a little extra OBC. Celebrity Suite: Originally we booked a Celebrity Suite for this cruise, including the Go BEST package, which came to $2,689.33 per person or $5,378.66 in total. Move Up Bid: Not too long after booking we received the opportunity for a move up bid. The options were to bid on the Royal Suite and the Penthouse Suite. We originally bid only on the Penthouse. The minimum bid was $800 per person so we bid $850pp. We ended up canceling out that bid and only bidding on the Royal. The minimum bid for the Royal was $400pp, we ended up bidding $405pp. Total Cruise Pricing We won our move up bid and therefore incurred the extra cost of $810 bringing our new total to $6,188.66 for the Royal Suite. In addition we have $975 onboard credit (combination of credit from booking on board, go best, and our TA). Airfare We are flying non-stop from Chicago (ORD) to Vancouver (YVR) on Air Canada. We booked through Choice Air. The pricing through Choice Air was a little cheaper than going direct through Air Canada or other online travel websites and we get the additional comfort of their protection. The timing on these flights was perfect for us. 5:05pm leaving ORD and we’re leaving YVR at 10:15am on Memorial Day. We are on a CRJ900 which is a regional jet. I’m surprised it has the range to make that long of a flight. Here is hoping for light headwinds! Total Airfare Cost: $867.74 Round Trip for 2. I’ll update this later after we incur baggage costs. Hotels On Friday and Saturday (May 17th and 18th) before the cruise we are staying at the Shangri-La which looks to be in a great location. We used around 45,000 chase points for this. At the time it was a decent redemption on points but since then it looks like pricing has dropped a bit so the redemption wasn’t the greatest for us at the end of the day. On the Sunday night after the cruise we are staying at the Grand Hyatt and only used 12,000 Hyatt points, transferred from Chase. This was a phenomenal redemption. Since we’re using hotel points (as opposed to booking through the Chase portal) we’re not incurring any taxes either. We would have loved to have booked this hotel at this rate for our first two nights but it wasn’t available for booking. In addition we have Explorist status with Hyatt due to our MLife (MGM Hotel & Casino rewards program) Platinum status we have which is only because of our Elite Plus status with Celebrity since Captain’s Club has a reciprocity status with MLife. Credit Card used for booking I’m not going to turn this into a points blog but I cannot stress enough how important it is to use a quality card for booking travel. Not only can you earn points but the basic travel protection on some cards is phenomenal. We booked everything (that we had to pay for in cash) with our Chase Sapphire Reserve. This does a couple things. Travel Insurance - Automatic travel protection built in which would cover us in the event we had a major issue and had to cancel the cruise last minute (keep in mind this does not necessarily apply to pre-existing conditions) or if we have any major delays, lost luggage, etc. Points! 3x points on travel. In total we spent $7,056, so this equated to 21,169 chase ultimate rewards points. Tavel Insurance We do not purchase regular travel insurance since we have the protection through the card (protection is up to $10,000 in value and you must use the card to pay for your trip!) but we still purchase a separate medical plan. While we would get medical coverage through the Chase Reserve card, it is not that great of coverage. We purchased the GeoBlue Voyager Choice plan through InsureMyTrip. The total cost for two was $35.86. This covers $100,000 in medical per person, $50,000 in accidental death, and $500,000 in medical evacuation. Please note this is only for medical, no trip cancellation, etc. It also requires that you have primary insurance as well. OK, look at that, we made it through all those details! As I go through each day, whether it is our hotel before the cruise, embarkation, nightly dinners, etc. I will do my best to be as critical as possible I am very much a glass half full type of person, especially when I’m traveling. With this being said, sometimes I think I should be a little more critical when reviewing certain aspects. At the same time I find myself so lucky to be able to live the life that I do, that it is sometimes difficult to be negative when the situation calls for it. So at the end of the day I will do my best to be impartial, objective, informative, but most importantly entertaining. Thank you again for following along and coming with us on another amazing trip!
  5. The weather...we have no control over.... we did the Baltic in mid June and had lovely weather.... but there are no guarantees! I have read differing reports re disembarking in Russia. It was fine when we did it and we were amongst the first off the ship and were met by SPB who were fantastic on our 2 days with them. If you have the status with Celebrity which enables you early disembarking then you should be fine. If not then there might be delays. I would imagine that all the tour companies operating there are used to that though so I would say don't worry. Celebrity do announce that passengers on their ship tours should disembark first. Other than that we were fine with no problems. Tallin was an easy reach from the dock as was Stockholm. We took the ship's tour in Copenhagen though I would not have bothered with the visit to the 'little mermaid' if going again - I really wish now we had visited the Tivoli Gardens. (ah the wisdom of hindsight eh?) We were on the Eclipse(sister ship) when we were in the Baltic so am sorry but I can't help re exercise classes.
  6. I have read quite a few places that there is an issue with vibration in some of the cabins. I have searched this forum for any information on cabin 8281, but can't find any. The reason I chose this cabin is to get a larger balcony, but I don't want to have issues with vibrations the entire cruise. Has anyone on this forum stayed in cabin 8281, and were there any problems with it? Thank you
  7. Can’t find many reviews on this cabin! Can anyone help? Eclipse 2148. We are concerned that there may be too much noise from the bar above. Thanks for any advise
  8. So the ship isn't being launched until 2018, but have put down a deposit on an Antarctica cruise for Jan 2019. Any one else booked on this ship yet?
  9. We saw Solstice in Honolulu on April 30. I can certainly relate to the cutbacks you described, just off Eclipse ourselves.
  10. Have not really done this yet. So far only ever sailed with X and booked still next Spring Cape Horn on Eclipse, which is on our bucket list and did not want to have an unknown quantity so far from home. But would consider MSC, Norwegian, Oceania where our friends were very happy, maybe German lines as wehave no problem with language and heard good things about Mein Schiff and another one which name I don t recall right now. We will have to do some investigation as we are really ready now to try out something else. Maybe will go for some good last minute deals in Europe this Summer or Fall as samplers.
  11. Returned to Celebrity(Eclipse) after a ten year absence....what happened to the food! The dining room food could only be described as poor. Poor selection, overcooked vegetables, watery soup and on and on. We noticed that as the cruise went on, fewer people were in the dining room and more in the buffet. I wonder if Celebrity is doing what Norwegian started long ago....poor dining room food to encourage you to shell out for the specialty venues. I was also surprised at some of the on board charges... 6$ for a specialty coffee or tea, a charge for orange juice (really?) did enjoy the excellent entertainment and beauty of the ship but the poor food and constant pushing to specialty resteraunts is off putting and I doubt we will return.
  12. I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread as I have a similar question. My friend and I are from the UK and will be doing a b2b from Vancouver to Hawaii on the Eclipse next April. When arriving at our first Hawaiian port of call, Lahaina, will we face a long border patrol/immigration/customs or whatever delay before we can head off for whatever excursion we have planned? Or as cruise passengers will we be sort of pre-cleared, as was done when we did a cruise that stopped in Israel? On that NCL cruise the officials embarked with us in Rome and had access to everyone's passport and actually met each passenger face-to-face on a sea day - I doubt that it would be exactly like that on this cruise due to the number of sea days before we get to Hawaii but have no idea what to expect! Then on the return voyage we have stops in Astoria, Oregon and Seattle, Washington. Will the clearance we (hopefully!) receive in Hawaii still be valid there? From the answer to the OP above I think that it will be... I hope that I'm concerned over nothing. It's just that when my husband I disembarked from our Equinox cruise in Ft Lauderdale in 2012 it was pure hell. The immigration people were taking 10 -15 minutes with each couple/individual/family group, just as when we initially arrived in the country at Miami Airport. Retina scans or whatever that is they do, the whole works. We were queued up for nearly three hours and it was hot and miserable and we couldn't sit down. There was no water available and several elderly people were in distress and received no assistance. They eventually called all of the Canadian citizens to join the American citizens queue to get the international queue down a bit. The whole experience was a poor ending to what had been a lovely holiday. We haven't done a holiday to America since. Anyway, this was not meant to turn into a rant, sorry! I'm just concerned that trying to enter Hawaii means that we'll have a similar experience and that it will take hours to be processed. I'm hoping that some of you non-American citizens are going to tell me that I've nothing to worry about!
  13. Hi, I'm looking for the current MDR menus for Eclipse and Solstice (we have upcoming cruises on both) and also the drinks and room service menu, both regular and CC. I'm sure they must be available on here somewhere but I've been scrolling through the threads and can't find any links. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
  14. On the Eclipse April 17 Concierge and had the expanded menu, exact one shown for Aqua and above. Believe it is for Concierge and above. Also requested eggs Benedict several time and got it. 😊👍
  15. Does Celebrity still offer champagne tasting? We cruised on the Eclipse several years ago and that was something that was just terrific and we’re wondering if it is still available. thanks!
  16. Nieuw Statendam--Sel de Mar: Escargot, Dover Sole, Crepes Suzette Royal Princess--Crown Grill: Bone-in Rib Eye Royal Princess--Sabatini's: a bone-in Veal Chop. (So large, I could not finish it. But, so well prepared and delicious!) Statendam (now retired from HAL and is P&O Australia's Pacific Eden)--Pinnacle Grill: Cioppino Celebrity Eclipse--Tuscan Grille: (for both a lunch and a dinner)--don't recall the specific food items, but every course was excellent, the service was attentive/friendly/excellent, and the ambiance was most conducive for an excellent lunch/dinner.
  17. Maybe it depends on the Ship. Just of the Eclipse. WhatsApp incl voice messages and images worked. Also up/downloading my iCloud pictures worked.
  18. I am enjoying your trip report! I also live in downtown Chicago and am doing the same cruise on the Eclipse out of Vancouver in Aug so it’s great to hear your perspective. I’m even staying at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver before our cruise as an Explorist so I’m interested to hear that portion too
  19. In March on the Eclipse the word SODA was not on my card. You simply go to guest services and they will print it on the card for you. I will differ from the rest of you and say I like the machines on RC. I love the choices and the ability to get your own drinks. I prefer fountain over the cans and often times they did not have what I wanted at the bar (diet coke) and had to go find another bar. I brought my own stainless steel cup with reusable straw which helped.
  20. Thanks so much for doing this! We're on a slightly different itinerary in July on the Eclipse so will be especially interested in your impressions. We're traveling with our son, daughter in law and two grandsons so it will be a family affair. We've been to Alaska several times and, yet, jump at the opportunity to cruise there again. Bon voyage!
  21. So given we have now concluded our second night in Vancouver I'd like to give you my recap thus far on the city and our stay here, plus our thoughts on the hotel. Shangri-La Hotel We've been very happy with the location, though we don't know Vancouver since this is our first time, but we found it to be very easy to walk around from here and it's definitely in a nice area. The room itself is very comfortable. There is not much view, but that is fine. The bedding quality is excellent. The bathroom toiletries are what you'd expect, L'Occitane is the soap that is carried. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. are provided which is a nice touch. There are even collar stays for collared shirts in the desk drawer. There is a Nespresso machine, free water daily, free very well functioning internet, and a properly stocked minibar. The Shangri-La is a smaller hotel at only 120 rooms. Today we told them we'd like a cab ready for us at 10:30 to head to the port. They marked it down and made sure it would be arranged. We will see how that turns out, but I have no doubt it will be well done. The hallways and corridors of the hotel feel like a higher end condo building and not a typical hotel. The same goes for the lobby and entrance into the building. I feel like I'm walking into my building at home and not a hotel. It's a nice feeling. The pricing at the time of booking (if we didn't use points) was around $310USD per night. I think this is a very solid value for this type of hotel. Other hotels in the area such as the Fairmont Pacific Rim and Hotel Georgia were going for the same price which I think is awesome. I put all these hotels in the same category, it just depends what type of place you're looking for. Vancouver I really like Vancouver. From what everyone told me, I figured it would be a city I'd enjoy, but I'm surprised at how comfortable I feel here. Everything is impeccably clean. The people here are extremely friendly. It is not a cheap city and from I see wealth definitely exists everywhere but it is not in your face (despite the countless higher end boutiques). I think the fact that it is so clean and higher end is one reason why I like it. It feels safe. It feels as if I can walk into most bars or restaurants and get quality service and quality food. Even the "dive" bar we went to last night felt far from a dive bar. People here seem to carry themselves well, they're respectful, and seem genuinely happy. The scenery is beautiful, at least what we saw on the water and at Stanley Park. I'm sure there is plenty more to do outside of where we are. I'm not sure if there are lots of museums or things along those lines but personally I think the mark of a city should not be determined based on "tourist things" to do, but instead based on things that anyone can do, whether you're a tourist or a resident. This seems like a great resident city. A place that appears comfortable to live in, as long as you have the money for it. It doesn't have that crazy hustle and bustle that I normally love and crave (I consider Chicago to be the least crowded city I could live in as my primary residence) but there is something here that I really seem to enjoy. Its just a combination of everything mentioned above. We will be back here fora night after the cruise and then here again in September before our transpacific cruise and we're definitely looking forward to it! OK, so we're going to get some sleep. I look forward to posting some morning photos for you all of the Eclipse as it is in port and then updating you on how the embarkation process goes! As always thank you so much for following along. If you have any questions or need me to check out anything for you on the Eclipse please do let me know!
  22. I thought I would start a new thread for the Scenic Eclipse. The other thread is filled with so much negativity and naysayers. Scenic just named a captain for the ship. We are booked July, 2021 for the Arctic. Based on everything I have read, I am hopeful that the Eclipse will launch this August as planned. https://www.scenicusa.com/ocean-cruises/introducing-captain-james-griffiths?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Eclipse_Captain Announcement 043019_Consumer (1)&utm_content=&spMailingID=21419598&spUserID=NTA5ODUzMzg2MzI5S0&spJobID=1481949235&spReportId=MTQ4MTk0OTIzNQS2
  23. Good morning, embarkation day. Celebrity Eclipse arriving to Canada Place
  24. I've read about the 2018 downgrades, but didn't notice them on our 4 night Halloween cruise. We're novice foodies, mostly ate in Blu, and the fresh cooked pasta station. There may have been downgrades in the MDR or general buffet, that we simply weren't exposed to. April 2019 on Eclipse: 1. Stale Bread in Blu 2. Hummus spread an option only on the first night, pureed corn, beets, and peas the rest. 3. Burnt Toast from Room Service, hard as a rock. 4. Watery Soups (clam chowder missing clam stock = watery potato soup) 5. Missing ingredients (Apple Salad only containing 2 micro slivers of apple) 6. Little to no vegetables with the entree, even if listed on the menu. Often undercooked or overcooked. 7. Inconsistent meat quality and preparation, often fattier, smaller lobster 8. Lower quality wine selections and/or ran out of stock 9. Overworked and understaffed crew, longer wait times, less personalized service 10. No more Mongolian Wok 11. Fresh cooked pasta station using inferior sauces, and fewer ingredients 12. Usually the Oceanview Cafe food was lukewarm to cold. 13. Low rent buffet food. I could only eat the salad, fruits, and cheese. 14. Desserts looked like cheap cafeteria squares, gone are the decorative cakes on display. 15. Frozen Mixed Veggies, added the last night!
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