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Symphony Dec 2018, Suite Cruise Review - Lots of Photos

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The Genie

 

Our Genie Alina was in every sense of the word magical. She was the perfect embodiment of what Royal Caribbean advertise when they talk about special treatment on board. I don’t know if it was because we knew more of what to expect being our second cruise with a Genie, or that it was on Symphony so they moved their top Genie’s there, or that the Poster Boy of the Genie’s was on board as well looking after the Royal suites, but for us, this was a much better experience than what we had on Ovation.

 

We felt that Alina was looking after no one else except us. One big difference in the interaction between Ovation and Symphony was that on Ovation the Suite cabins are close together. But on Symphony the ones on decks 8, 9, 10 & 17 are a long way apart so I wondered how that would be handled. Alina used the phone more and contacted us during the day but always meet us next to the activities and at dinner at night.

 

One of our group is a Coeliac (Requires Gluten Free), we like cheese in the afternoon as a snack and asked if they had any Gluten Free Crackers on board. We just needed to know as we would go and buy some to bring with us if they didn’t. Alina told us no, but a couple of hours after boarding we came back to the room and found this.

 

36 boxes of Glutino Gluten Free Crackers.

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Some one said they like olives, so a big plateful turned up with the afternoon cheese. This is a sample of what turned up in our cabin every day. You can see why I didn't need to go to WJ.

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Snacks in the evening to watch the show in the Aqua theatre. There are only 2 of us over 18.

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Including Popcorn

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Our Genie arranged our evening meals, but we changed a couple on the fly during the week. All were processed with no problems. She also arranged for us to go to the Escape Room, Laser Tag, tours of the bridge and we also attending the Galley Tour and bottomless Champagne brunch.

 

For the first time on a cruise, we wanted to book a next cruise, while on board. Alina booked a time for us, but rather than meeting the next cruise agent in their office, she arranged for them to meet me in the Suites Lounge.

 

During our dinner on the last night Alina turned up and took a phone call, excused herself and then went off. This was the first time that we didn’t feel like the only people she was looking after. We got back to our room and found it looking like this.

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The cake and everything else was gluten free. Shame it got so rough that the cake couldn’t be eaten.

 

During the cruise we got talking to a couple of the other Genies as well. They shared some stories about things they have to put up with. Including having drinks thrown at them when they ask people to not sit in the reserved seats. Complaints made against them because people came and sat in the reserved seats and when they were asked to move, the complaint was, they weren’t asked nice enough to move.

 

While waiting for one show, one of the other Genies had some seats reserved and it was getting closer to show time. A couple of ladies came up and asked if they could sit in the seats and were told no, but they stood around waiting, show time was about a minute away now and they asked again. The rules are you should be seated 15 minutes before show time, so the Genie took away a couple of the reserved but kept a couple and said to the ladies one in one row and another behind her, you can sit here. Well, and then the fight started! An older couple across the aisle started yelling, why couldn’t we sit there (they had seats, its not as if they had missed out). The ladies started yelling back, because we asked, the Genie was trying to calm things down but the yelling match continued until the curtain went up. Every entertaining, but the poor Genie who had tried to do the right thing by keeping the seats until the last minute and then released them, but it was his Guests hadn’t turned up that caused the problem.

 

I can’t 100% confirm this, but from what was being said during this confrontation and from the conversations with the Genies, I think there was a lot of Pineapple resentment going on.

 

The obviously best feature of getting a Genie is getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. We were told that we could keep the bags in our room, but they needed 1 hours notice to get them downstairs. So one hour before we want to get off the ship to call them. We said that is okay, we will leave them out the night before.

 

We had breakfast in Coastal Kitchen, then Alina came up at the agreed time and she took us all the way off the ship to a set of lifts down to the baggage hall. That was as far as her visa allowed her to take us, but asked for a local worker to help us the rest of the way. We collected our bags, went through the automatic passport scanners (which worked for Australian Passports just fine) and was on the street waiting for an Uber within 10-15 minutes of getting off the ship.

 

Again, any questions about the Genie, I am happy to answer.

 

Edited by GottaRequalify

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19 minutes ago, GottaRequalify said:

The Genie

I can’t 100% confirm this, but from what was being said during this confrontation and from the conversations with the Genies, I think there was a lot of Pineapple resentment going on.

 

Again, any questions about the Genie, I am happy to answer.

 

 

Not sure I'm following you on Pineapple resentment. From the Genies, or the other passengers 🤔

 

Enjoying the review.  We're doing an A1 on Allure TA next year

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42 minutes ago, John&LaLa said:

 

Not sure I'm following you on Pineapple resentment. From the Genies, or the other passengers 🤔

 

Enjoying the review.  We're doing an A1 on Allure TA next year

Some Pineapples are resenting the Genies that are reserving centre seats for the Star Class guests, including front row at the ice shows etc.

 

The Genies told us they had to put up with drinks being thrown at them, being yelled at and complaints made against them for asking people not to sit in the reserved seats.

 

The argument that I saw was between two groups of passengers. One group came early that had tried to sit in the reserved seats, for another Genie, not our one, got moved on but found seats a couple of rows back on the aisle and the group that had turn up just before the curtain was raised, asked, got told no, waited, then asked again and were given the seats. The first group thought (and made clear in loud voices) that was unfair as they had tried to sit there earlier and got told no, but the second group (also in loud voices) amongst the various verbs and adjectives used to describe on what the second group thought of the first groups complaints and what they could do with them, boiled down to "You Snooze, You Lose". I think I would get banned if I used the actual words shouted, but sitting on the prickly end of a pineapple would be a simple description. While the loud discussion was between the two groups, the first group rounded on the Genie for giving the second group the seats, all he did was release them at the last minute just before the curtain was raised, but still got yelled at.

 

Hopefully that explains it a bit better?

 

My main point, which I agree wasn't clear, was the Genies are trying to do their job and are getting push back from some passengers and while the Genie's I talked to were trying to be discrete, when asked they did confirm the majority of passengers making their life difficult were Pinnacles, with an entitled attitude.

 

Thanks for reading and I appreciate the question, so I could explain a bit more, to help make it easier to understand.

 

 

Edited by GottaRequalify

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3 hours ago, GottaRequalify said:

Some Pineapples are resenting the Genies that are reserving centre seats for the Star Class guests, including front row at the ice shows etc.

 

The Genies told us they had to put up with drinks being thrown at them, being yelled at and complaints made against them for asking people not to sit in the reserved seats.

 

The argument that I saw was between two groups of passengers. One group came early that had tried to sit in the reserved seats, for another Genie, not our one, got moved on but found seats a couple of rows back on the aisle and the group that had turn up just before the curtain was raised, asked, got told no, waited, then asked again and were given the seats. The first group thought (and made clear in loud voices) that was unfair as they had tried to sit there earlier and got told no, but the second group (also in loud voices) amongst the various verbs and adjectives used to describe on what the second group thought of the first groups complaints and what they could do with them, boiled down to "You Snooze, You Lose". I think I would get banned if I used the actual words shouted, but sitting on the prickly end of a pineapple would be a simple description. While the loud discussion was between the two groups, the first group rounded on the Genie for giving the second group the seats, all he did was release them at the last minute just before the curtain was raised, but still got yelled at.

 

Hopefully that explains it a bit better?

 

My main point, which I agree wasn't clear, was the Genies are trying to do their job and are getting push back from some passengers and while the Genie's I talked to were trying to be discrete, when asked they did confirm the majority of passengers making their life difficult were Pinnacles, with an entitled attitude.

 

Thanks for reading and I appreciate the question, so I could explain a bit more, to help make it easier to understand.

 

 

 

Thanks, I knew there was an altercation on President's cruise last year, but I've never noticed any Genies getting hassled.

 

I have seen plenty of Diamonds and D+ getting bent out of shape about the Key folks

 

 

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8 hours ago, GottaRequalify said:

You Sir are a champion! You quoted a post and kept only the photo you wanted to reference. You kept the response police at bay.

 

I am also impressed out of all the photos, you looked in depth enough to find a sports team that interests you. I wouldn't even know who App St. was, especially coming from Australia.

 

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Thank you 🌹

 

This thread was enjoyable, and I like to look at details.  

App St. = Appalachian State University in North Carolina. That's where I went to college, and very fond of it and my time there.

 

Thank you for the lovely post and all the details and pictures 🌹

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I will henceforth think of all Pinnacles as Pineapples.  And if they get rude and entitled, I shall imagine them sitting on the prickly end of their chosen fruit, whether I am, in the moment, resenting them or not.

 

Extremely helpful information for our upcoming Adventure of the Seas journey.  Where we will be only Gold, and probably not running around bragging about it, though we will be a party of four in a pair of adjacent Junior Suites. Movin' on up!

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Sorry everyone, there is going to have to be a break for the next week. My internet and phone along with my neighbours, went out on Friday when I was trying to finish uploading the rest and I don’t know when I will get it back, and then I am busy until Monday week. 

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What a wonderful review. Can’t wait for you to come back with more! Thank you for taking the time to post your trip. 

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What is the going rate on tipping your genie? Trying to figure out all costs,. Thanks

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On 6/27/2019 at 10:26 PM, GottaRequalify said:

 

My wife and I have been very lucky in our career choices. At one point she put her career on the back burner to focus on mine. At the moment it is the other way around. Our careers haven't been in a straight line or with the same company which has allowed us to now get into a very comfortable life style. During the year we don't spend much money, don't go out a lot as the workload is very high. So when we do get to do the one cruise a year on the other side of the world, we go all out, to give my wife some "Me" time to reward her for all the hard work she puts in the rest of the year.

 

We also know we are very lucky to be able to afford to go into a suite. And I, like you spend the rest of the year reading all the other suite reviews to get as much info as I can, to learn as much as I can so that when we do get into them, we don't waste a minute. Often my photos and reviews are to answer questions that no one has managed to answer, just in case someone gets into a suite for the first time, they too have the anticipation, as much as the journey.

 

And the first suite we got into, was an upgrade from a connecting balcony room to the penthouse on an oversold ship, as they were desperate to pack as many in as possible, so never say never.

 

Thank you for reading and commenting. It may be my review, but feedback is important and it is everyone's perspective that makes Cruise Critic great.

What a wonderful response, well said. Cheers, Buzz.

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On 6/29/2019 at 10:28 PM, loug1601 said:

What a wonderful review. Can’t wait for you to come back with more! Thank you for taking the time to post your trip. 

I'm back. I am so sorry for the delay. I was away for a week with the family. We went here for a week. Even though there is no snow, these photos are taken in the middle of winter. Thank you for your kind words.

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On 6/30/2019 at 10:57 PM, coops said:

What is the going rate on tipping your genie? Trying to figure out all costs,. Thanks

 

I can't answer that question, as it is up to each person how they value the time saved or how much more enjoyable the cruise has been made for them by the Genie. There are lots of threads on tipping Genies and lots of people with different values have replied to those threads. I would rather this question be put on those threads than this review get side tracked.

 

 

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Again, sorry for the delay and back to our regular scheduled programming...

 

Shows and Ship Tours

 

We went to the main production shows – Hairspray and Flight. Both were really good.

 

The Family Friendly Comedian was very funny, so asked to go see them at the non-family friendly session. Our Genie reserved a table for us (not at the front) with little notice and he was just as funny, without too much swearing. A really good comedian doesn’t need to swear every second word to try and make themselves look hip and cool and the two we saw were good.

 

There were two main shows at the Aqua Theatre, (3 if you include rehearsal). We didn’t need seats reserved for us, as we just watched from our balcony. I sadly didn’t see the second show as it was held only once and I was packing, but the kids watched it, and I caught parts through the window.

 

You often saw the performers rehearse during the day.

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These photos were taken without a flash.

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Edited by GottaRequalify

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The ice skating shows were good. How they do what they do on such a small rink when the ice is moving underneath them just makes it more spectacular. As you can see from this shot, we had good seats.

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The little boxes in the middle of the rink help control the drones for the start of the ice show.

 

Not really a tour, but I went to the cruise critic “Meet & Greet”, it wasn’t a huge turn out and their wasn’t a lot of mingling. I only put 3 names down, but when I got there, by myself they had all four names as participating and gave me 4 tickets to the raffle. This was only the second “Meet & Greet”. In the first one, I won nothing, but this time all four tickets were drawn out. I gave some of the winnings away, but kept the sun glasses and other inaugural season booty for myself.

 

I tried to get to the top tier event, as it was the first one I was eligible for (being a Platinum), after this cruise, I became Emerald. It was due to be held in the Aqua Theatre, but it had rained, so they postponed it to the next day and it clashed with something else, so I still haven’t been to one.

Edited by GottaRequalify

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The bridge tour was interesting, but they are starting to look the same.

 

Most people like looking forward, I like looking back at the ship.

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But here is the forward shot.

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And the stuff the have on the walls, for the first visits.

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I remember seeing these on Legend of the Seas, as they were in a public area. It is a shame these are on the bridge and not somewhere everyone on the ship can enjoy.

 

Edited by GottaRequalify

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We were told to make sure we had closed toe shoes, as the floor can get very wet and slippery. This tour was part of a paid group and we were just added to it, (bottomless Galley Brunch) rather than being just for Suites. There were mature 3 ladies that had spent a lot of time on their hair and makeup, and were dressed for the pool. Slip on shoes, bathing suits covered by sheer beach wear. More interested in being seen than going anywhere near water. I don’t know why they went on the tour. (Unlimited bad sparkling wine?) I don’t know why they were allowed on the tour, with the footwear they were wearing.

 

Two of the 3 couldn’t speak English, or couldn’t understand it very well, so started speaking amongst themselves. Loudly! And Talk, and Talk. Over the staff members who were trying to act as guides in the kitchen, stopping those at the back from hearing what was being said.

 

Just at the end of the tour, we were walking towards the main dining room, when one of them slipped and hurt themselves, apparently quite badly. They never made it to the brunch, and the tour was held up while the main guide had to stay with them when they went off for medical treatment. Eventually a replacement staff member was found to finish the tour for us.

 

I felt sorry for the staff members that would have had a lot of paperwork to fill out due to the accident on the ship tour on their watch, but the ladies weren’t paying attention while walking and didn’t have on the right footwear, it was 100% their own fault. The only thing the staff did wrong was not turning them away at the start of the tour until they got the right shoes on.

 

So if the Galley tours are cancelled in the future, or not as extensive, you can blame these 3 ladies who decided it was more important to look glamorous than practical.

 

But we did get to go into the main dining room. It looked very nice. As it was a sea day, they were serving lunch in the dining room on a different floor.

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Edited by GottaRequalify

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Ports of Call

 

Apart from a brief 4 Night Disney Cruise, we had never been to the Caribbean before so we looked forward to all the stops. If you could plan your ideal 3 port cruise for us this was exactly what we wanted. A stop to see the Barcardi factory, a stop to see Maho Beach and a stop to allow a swim.

 

 

St, Martin / St. Marteen

 

I think most people on these boards would recommend Bernards Tours. So I booked a private tour for the 4 of us around the island. We weren’t that interested in stopping at the beaches, but wanted to see as much as possible, as we are unlikely to get back here for many years to come if ever. The tour allowed us to get out, look, take photo and then move on, without waiting for lots of people with different agendas. No matter which way you go, group tour or private. Like everyone else, I found Bernards to be very professional and it was a great day touring.

 

As I had never been to St. Martin before, I didn’t know where the meeting point was, and even though the instructions are semi clear, I still managed to get lost, so to help others, I have put together this guide to find the tent.

 

Some shots around the Island, including Hurricane damage, pictures of the other islands (Anguilla, St Barts) in the background (they are really close). The ferry to Anguilla use to leave from one pier, but it was sunk during the hurricane, and hasn’t been repaired so it takes twice as long and leaves from a different part of the island.

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Edited by GottaRequalify

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And of course the highlight, is Maho Beach.

 

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Since the hurricane, there wasn’t as many large planes coming here. The shot of the 747 is long over. Also, you know all those pictures of the empty beach, where you can stand wherever you want. That too is long over.

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We scheduled the whole day to make sure we were here on time, but we got there a little late. Also because of the woman that died not long before we visited, I wasn’t directly under the flight path. But still pretty close and a high light for the cruise for me.

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I never thought living in Australia I would ever get to visit this location. When my wife suggested we make sure this is one of the ports on the cruise, I was beside myself.

 

Edited by GottaRequalify

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The stretch of road was jam packed, and no cars moved when the plane came over. Parked cars and other day tours then tried to head out, but it was very busy road and took some time for the traffic jam to clear. Others just went back to swimming waiting for the next plane.

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There was a couple of safety signs about

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The famous bar at the end of the beach had today’s arrivals listed, but there were a lot of very small planes that flew over not listed.

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Heading back to town we stopped in Phillipsburg for some shopping, where you could walk out onto the pier to look back at the ship and also see the main beach at Phillipsburg. You could always get a water taxi from the ship to this beach, hang out for the day then get a water taxi back to the ship.

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Walking back to the ship gave you good views of the rear

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Including the Aquatheatre balconies.

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From our balcony looking back at Phillipsburg

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The beach and Pier at Phillipburg where I took the previous photos and where the water taxi goes to.

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And where the water taxi leaves from

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Edited by GottaRequalify

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The ship was late leaving the port, from the times on the photos, about an hour late, but it did mean I got to watch multiple pier runners.

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Best entertainment ever from the rear of the ship. And we were really late leaving port, so all of these people should have missed this ship, as they all came after the sail away time.

Edited by GottaRequalify

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Thanks for coming back OP.  Will be in an A1 in Sept on SOTS.  A few Qs,

-Was the Escape room included with Star or was it additional charge?

-Laser tag, did the genie pre arrange this, or do you just flash your purple card to the attendant?

-Is Starbucks still included with Star?

 

My last cruise on HOTS, the genie was ok, but not magical.  I had to specifically ask for a lot of things.  He was re-active, but not pro-active.  Any other Star class perks not to miss?

 

Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing.

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On 7/20/2019 at 4:05 AM, Glide_Path said:

Thanks for coming back OP.  Will be in an A1 in Sept on SOTS.  A few Qs,

-Was the Escape room included with Star or was it additional charge?

-Laser tag, did the genie pre arrange this, or do you just flash your purple card to the attendant?

-Is Starbucks still included with Star?

 

My last cruise on HOTS, the genie was ok, but not magical.  I had to specifically ask for a lot of things.  He was re-active, but not pro-active.  Any other Star class perks not to miss?

 

Beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing.

Escape Room Was included

Laser Tag Was included.

 

The Genie arranged the time and session for each. For Laser Tag, we were told to wait near the ice theatre and went in through a side entrance rather than walk past everyone waiting. The Genie always met us at the scheduled activities and escorted us in.

 

The Escape room was a lot of fun and we were put in the room with a couple of other families. However, even though the ship was only a couple of months old, some things had already started to get broken or worn out.

 

Starbucks drinks were included. It was a regular stop from the Main Theatre on the way back to the rooms for a hot chocolate for the kids.

 

I understand what you mean by saying your previous Genie was ok and not Magical, the previous one we had was okay as well. (In fact he moved to HOTS - so who knows?) We didn't know what a real Magical Genie was until we got on Symphony.  My biggest tip was when the Genie contacts you personally 1-2 weeks out, let them know what you want to do (we wrote back we want to do everything an Oasis ship has to offer). I gave a list of all the restaurants I wanted and approximately what time. eg. 150 Central Park on First Formal night to allow us to get to late show. Late dinner on first night so we can watch sail away from our room.

 

Our Genie booked the shows so that she only had one group in each show to look after, eg. Each Session of Hairspray she only had one cabin, so it made us feel like we were the only people she looked after.

 

The other thing we have learned is don't be afraid to ask, not demand, ask. As the week goes on, plans change, you want to do more of something or less, let them know so that they can rearrange things and at the end of the week, you have had the holiday that you want and not be stuck to someone else's schedule. We enjoyed the comedian at the family show in the main theatre and said this to the Genie. We hadn't planned to go to the "Adults" session, but found him funny, so asked and we had a table reserved in the second row (my request not at the front) for the next session.  Not having to plan things six months in advance when bookings open like at Disneyworld makes it a much more relaxing cruise. Also ask them after a couple of days once they have got to know you, what else that you haven't booked do they think you might enjoy.

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