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Azamara vs Oceania

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17 hours ago, stevenr597 said:

It is a matter numbers.  If the cruise line can accommodate one with a separate table they will do it.  If they find that they do not have a sufficient number of smaller tables, than they will ask individuals to share a table.  In addition, those individuals that pay more for the cruise will always have preference.

When we were on Azamara we had a private dinner with the Captain in the Ships Library, as well as several private functions with the Captain and Crew.  We had these "perks" because we were in one of the larger corner suites.

We have decided to try Oceania this time, because their newer ships have more space, especially in respect to cabin size.  I am sure that there will be some things which are nicer than Azamara, and some others in which we would have preferred Azamara. 

 

Quite honestly as the original poster of this discussion, I find nothing wrong with this comment. I dont see it as bragging. I was looking for everyones experience on both lines. If people who stay in suites dont post about their experience one is not getting a full view of life onboard. So whats the point if everyone doent relay their experience, should I only get the comments of people who only stay in inside cabins. I welcome comments from all experiences in all cabins. I find it unfair to belittle someones comments on boards like this. Its a place for everyone to post their experiences. Someone may find these perks important and therefore decide from the comments to stay in a larger suite and pay more while someone else may not feel these experiences as important and therefore not pay for the suite. Thats the whole point of this board isnt it? To get all the information one can and use that information to make an informed decision on what I am comfortable spending and what experiences are important to me? We dont know everyones situation, I have friends who will only stay in a suite because one is in an electric wheelchair and the smaller rooms are not comfortable for them to move around, so they choose and pay for a larger suite so they can enjoy their vacation. However, they go on fewer cruises as a result because to travel like that more often is beyond their means so they take that one vacation every few years and pay more for it. Does that mean they shouldn't post their experiences in a suite?

 

I am sure I will receive a lot of negative comments from this post but as I said I was looking for everyones experiences onboard. So all comments about the ship and everyones experience are welcome to me as the person who asked.

 

 

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11 hours ago, stevenr597 said:

Sorry you have such a thin skin Phil.  

To help you better understand was pointing out that in regards to being able to get a table for two at one of the optional restaurants while cruising on Oceania, may depend, at least partially,  on the type of cabin one books, suite as compared to concierge as compared to standard.  

However,  Azamara does the same thing in its own way with added perks depending on the type of cabin or suite that one books.

I hope that gives you a better understanding of my comments and how it fits in with the discussion as to why some individuals have found an easier time getting a smaller table in the dining room. 


I didn't see this as showing off--it was detailing the poster's experience with Azamara that being in a suite granted them privileges they wouldn't have in a standard cabin.

As much as frequent Azamara cruisers state there is no class system on Azamara, as someone with two Azamara cruises that has had zero interaction with any senior staff other than a "hello" in passing, I believe Azamara DOES have a class system of more interaction with its frequent cruisers than other passengers.   I realize that happens on any cruise line, but maybe because Azamara's ships are smaller, I notice it more.

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3 hours ago, nordski said:

 

I agree with Phil and, noting that the other Royal Caribbean brands have created an apparently distinct set of classes on board, I think he is  correct in emphasizing vigilance on this matter lest Azamara moves (is moving?) in this direction.

 

One of the features I like about the "R" ships is that it is rather difficult to create separate physical spaces for those in suites.

 

I can anticipate that if there was a new build, such spaces would be created.

 

 

 

6 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Well that is a very tenuous link and no, It doesn’t help me understand.  I go on the Celebrity board and it seems like a competition for who stays in the largest suites most often and oh how wonderful suite life is and “we could never go back”.  Thankfully this board doesn’t have the suite braggarts for want of a better term and is much better for it.  

 

Azamara is most definitely not a class system cruiseline.  Everyone gets treated the same and dare I suggest that staying in a very humble cabin may get you invited to a far more private dinner with the Captain than sharing it with 20+ invited guests. 

 

Phil

Sorry if you still don't get it Phil. 

Perhaps the problem is with you and not the cruiseline. 

I do see from time to time individuals that don't take well to other individuals who for some reason get "perks" while they themselves do not  and become overly defensive about it.  Whether one stays at an hote and gets a Concierge Floorl, travels on a specific airline and is upgraded to business class, or on a cruiseline, depending on the type of cabin once purchases, or of even more importance how many cruises they have taken in the past, one individual may get certain perks that another may not. This is one of the ways the Cruiseline attracts repeat customers.

Even Azamara does it, in that they do indeed reward past cruisers with additional perks for traveling on Azamara on even on Celebrity.

There is indeed a move to go away from the previous system of only one class on a cruise ship, to move towards a system of a cruise ship within a cruise ship which we see on MSC and NCL. On Princess Lines and on Celebrity there have been a lot of complaints about Club Class and Aqua Class, usually from those that don't purchase the upgrade.

Interestingly, one line that has tried to avoid different classes is Carnival.

However, as to my initial comment, Oceania in fact advertises that if one books Concierge Class, or a Suite they will get priority reservations in their alternative restaurants. 

 

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6 minutes ago, stevenr597 said:

 

Sorry if you still don't get it Phil. 

Perhaps the problem is with you and not the cruiseline. 

I do see from time to time individuals that don't take well to other individuals who for some reason get "perks" while they themselves do not  and become overly defensive about it.  Whether one stays at an hote and gets a Concierge Floorl, travels on a specific airline and is upgraded to business class, or on a cruiseline, depending on the type of cabin once purchases, or of even more importance how many cruises they have taken in the past, one individual may get certain perks that another may not. This is one of the ways the Cruiseline attracts repeat customers.

Even Azamara does it, in that they do indeed reward past cruisers with additional perks for traveling on Azamara on even on Celebrity.

There is indeed a move to go away from the previous system of only one class on a cruise ship, to move towards a system of a cruise ship within a cruise ship which we see on MSC and NCL. On Princess Lines and on Celebrity there have been a lot of complaints about Club Class and Aqua Class, usually from those that don't purchase the upgrade.

Interestingly, one line that has tried to avoid different classes is Carnival.

However, as to my initial comment, Oceania in fact advertises that if one books Concierge Class, or a Suite they will get priority reservations in their alternative restaurants. 

 

 

I can’t speak for Phil, but I am aware that stateroom class provides various “perks” even on Azamara. 

 

However, as opposed to a mass market ship, what distinctions should be made on Journey which carries only 650 passengers?

 

I have no problem with a butler and complementary access to the speciality restaurants as a perk in a Club Continent Suite.

Those really have minimal impact on others.

 

But on our last cruise a staff member, once she noticed the colour of my sea pass and the prority it provided, apologized for stopping me on the way to the tenders. Wouldn’t it just be better/simpler if we all had the same rules on such a small ship? It felt like I was “jumping the queue”.

 

We just finished a suite experience on one of the “Mastodons of the Seas” and have sailed in Aqua Class on Celebrity. I find those alternatives on larger ships attractive but unnecessary on Azamara. 

 

And, to be honest, I’m not always happy that I can live in a bubble on board a larger ship. Sometimes it makes me feel relatively “special”.

I’m not.

 

You may be correct that this is increasingly the future of cruising. Experiencing the ongoing changes on flights, I fear it will be a mixed blessing. 

 

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Wow I don’t walk about ship with a sticker on saying what room type I am in and 3 cruises under our belt I still see the difference of involvement and interaction of officers and Captain.

We have done 30 plus cruises all over the world on different lines except Oceania.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, nordski said:

 

I agree with Phil and, noting that the other Royal Caribbean brands have created an apparently distinct set of classes on board, I think he is  correct in emphasizing vigilance on this matter lest Azamara moves (is moving?) in this direction.

 

One of the features I like about the "R" ships is that it is rather difficult to create separate physical spaces for those in suites.

 

I can anticipate that if there was a new build, such spaces would be created.

 

 

 

If Azamara did move in that direction I don't see what the customer can do if they don't like it, other than stop booking with them.

Nobody on this forum seemed to like the idea of Veranda Plus but they went ahead with it anyway.

 

Edited by Bloodaxe

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7 hours ago, nordski said:

 

I agree with Phil and, noting that the other Royal Caribbean brands have created an apparently distinct set of classes on board, I think he is  correct in emphasizing vigilance on this matter lest Azamara moves (is moving?) in this direction.

 

One of the features I like about the "R" ships is that it is rather difficult to create separate physical spaces for those in suites.

 

I can anticipate that if there was a new build, such spaces would be created.

 

 

 

That is exactly why we booked our first cruise with Azamara.  I would not want to sail with a ‘class’ system; it breeds snobbery in my opinion.

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7 minutes ago, Werangels said:

 

That is exactly why we booked our first cruise with Azamara.  I would not want to sail with a ‘class’ system; it breeds snobbery in my opinion.


IMO, it's not the supposed class system that breeds snobbery, it's the person.  They'd likely be a snob no matter what category they booked.  They'd just base it on other things, whether it be loyalty level, type of job, education, where they live, etc.

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8 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I haven't been reading the Celebrity forum lately, but my recollection was that most of the suite-life discussion revolves around complaints that the non-suite experience on Celebrity has been going downhill with cutbacks and the focus on attracting a younger clientele.  Celebrity has turned into two completely different experiences, and in order to have anything like the old, beloved Celebrity you are forced to book a suite.  At which point Azamara's pricing becomes much more competitive.

I happen to really like the Suite Life on Celebrity. It makes for a very luxurious experience and sometimes the larger ships are just more Fun. DH likes it because on the smaller ships he says he is forced to run into the same people too often and does not like the chit chat. Just giving you another perspective.

Oceania and Celebrity are the two lines we gravitate to the most.

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25 minutes ago, TrulyBlonde said:

I happen to really like the Suite Life on Celebrity. It makes for a very luxurious experience and sometimes the larger ships are just more Fun. DH likes it because on the smaller ships he says he is forced to run into the same people too often and does not like the chit chat. Just giving you another perspective.

Oceania and Celebrity are the two lines we gravitate to the most.

 

I like it too.  My comment started in response to one that implied that most pro-suites comments are bragging and wanted to emphasize that Celebrity's non-suite product has gone downhill so much.  I also understand how a class-free ship invites more socializing – when all drinks are free, it's so much easier to get together with new acquaintances and not worry about an awkward moment when the bill comes.  On Crystal we were even invited to a birthday party for a fellow guest: easy to arrange when there's no cost!  So there are many choices out there – even if Celebrity non-suite is no longer one of them (for us).

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3 hours ago, Bloodaxe said:

 

If Azamara did move in that direction I don't see what the customer can do if they don't like it, other than stop booking with them.

Nobody on this forum seemed to like the idea of Veranda Plus but they went ahead with it anyway.

 

 

Perhaps the reaction on this forum a few years ago helped to forestall the proposed sushi bar on the Sunset Deck. 

 

As for the Veranda Plus category it offered little to those with a high LCV standing which would include many posters here. Whether it’s attractive to new cruisers time will tell.

 

To me, the  good news about that category is that it would have little impact on creating a class division on board.

 

You may be correct that even with vigilance it may be difficult to stop changes that might harm the coherence of the group on board.

 

However, as I suggested earlier, perhaps the physical nature of the “R” ships may be the most important limiting factor to bringing a big ship approach to Azamara.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The bottom line is that the Cruise Industry will cater to what the passenger wants, what sells and doesn't.  We first noted separate classes on Cunard.  It didn't really make a difference to us.

Azamara does provide certain perks for individuals who book suites.  That is an incentive for individuals to be willing to pay considerably more for essentially a bigger room.  In fact, my travel agent has informed me that Azamara now has now offers "Veranda Plus"  in that certain balcony cabins get more "perks" for an additional sum

Bottom Line: There are enough ships and enough choices to satisfy most people who elect to travel by see.

Edited by stevenr597
grammar and additonal of the term Veranda Plus

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20 hours ago, hiccups said:


IMO, it's not the supposed class system that breeds snobbery, it's the person.  They'd likely be a snob no matter what category they booked.  They'd just base it on other things, whether it be loyalty level, type of job, education, where they live, etc.

From my observations (and these are just mine) creating separate space on the ship is the thing that leads people to feeling they are superior. That has been my experience in Michael's Club. There are some very nice people in there, but from what I've seen, too many with an attitude. Introduction of The Retreat area just makes it worse.

 

Thankfully none of that on Azamara. 

 

Phil 

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

From my observations (and these are just mine) creating separate space on the ship is the thing that leads people to feeling they are superior. That has been my experience in Michael's Club. There are some very nice people in there, but from what I've seen, too many with an attitude. Introduction of The Retreat area just makes it worse.

 

Thankfully none of that on Azamara. 

 

Phil 

Azamara does have it, thought probably much less than other cruise lines such as NCL, Cunard,  and MCS. I believe that Azamara has made a step in that direction with the Veranda Plus Category.

As I mentioned the only cruise line that has a minimum of  class perks or benefits is Carnival.  If you are an elite member they usually reward you with a pin.

Some people will be bothered by it, others will pay no notice and just concentrate on having a great time. 

We have been cruising for well over 20 years, and it has never bothered us in the past.

 

Edited by stevenr597
Added some additional information

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35 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

From my observations (and these are just mine) creating separate space on the ship is the thing that leads people to feeling they are superior. That has been my experience in Michael's Club. There are some very nice people in there, but from what I've seen, too many with an attitude. Introduction of The Retreat area just makes it worse.

 

Thankfully none of that on Azamara. 

 

Phil 

Agree completely, Phil.  Azamara is a one-class cruise line.  Of course there are perqs with suites, but no forbidden areas for non-suite passengers.  Specialty dining is open to all, with reservations first-come, first-served.  Non-suite passengers can purchase passes to the forward spa deck and jacuzzi.  There's no pool or lounge or any facility for suites only.

 

Yes, the Best of the Best is for the corner suites only, but anyone can have a similar experience at a Chef's Table, and maybe even more so at the new Signature Table, where the chef, apparently, is given free rein.

 

The comment about senior officers spending more time with more frequent passengers does puzzle.  Seems to me it's simply human nature to recognize someone you've sailed with fifteen or twenty times and rather awkward not to greet them accordingly

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Posted (edited)

I'm puzzled by the comments that no class system exists on Azamara.  It absolutely does!  If you're lucky enough not to experience it, well, great.  That doesn't mean it's not there for others. 

Edited by hiccups

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1 minute ago, hiccups said:

I'm puzzled by the comments that no class system exists on Azamara.  It absolutely does!  If you're lucky enough not to experience, well, great.  That doesn't mean it's not there for others. 

 

In what way?  

 

It was our first cruise and we didn’t find that.  We also found senior officers spoke to us in passing including the Captain around the pool, corridors, lift, disembarkation and embarkation at ports, coffee shop and we were remembered by some which we think shows excellent customer service.  

 

I also agree with Phil and as I originally said would not want or feel comfortable on a ‘segregated’ ship.

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1 minute ago, Werangels said:

 

In what way?  

 

It was our first cruise and we didn’t find that.  We also found senior officers spoke to us in passing including the Captain around the pool, corridors, lift, disembarkation and embarkation at ports, coffee shop and we were remembered by some which we think shows excellent customer service.  

 

I also agree with Phil and as I originally said would not want or feel comfortable on a ‘segregated’ ship.


As I said, that's great for you.  We've maybe three times had an interaction with staff that's gone beyond hello/how are you, and that was on our initiative (that's in 21 nights on Azamara, and never with a senior staff member).  Now, on our first cruise I was contacted after the mid-cruise survey because we had some problems, but I'd consider that a different type of interaction.  I think Azamara excels in rectifying issues brought up in the mid-cruise surveys, so for that, I give them excellent customer service marks.

I don't expect that staff members ignore passengers they've met previously, and I said that in another post.  But when they consistently place their focus on those passengers, then that creates a class system.  For example, when Phil mentioned in another thread the captain brought him strawberries, that begs the question if the captain spoke to every other passenger in Mosaic to see if they'd had strawberries.  Maybe he did, and if so, kudos to him.  If he didn't, then he's established two levels of service for guests.  

We'll happily sail on a "segregated" ship as long as it goes where we want at price we want to pay.  We aren't bothered that other people like to pay for exclusivity.  We like Azamara for Europe, and mass market for the Caribbean.  It's nice we all have choices.

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It is all in the definition of what one defines as a Class System.  If one means a specific class where the individuals who book it have a separate dining room and separate areas of the ship which are not open to others, than one most consider MSC with it Yacht Club, NCL with its Haven Class, or Cunard which has Princess Class and even higher.  
 

Princess offers Club Class in which individuals can eat in a separate area of the main dining room, Celebrity offers Aqua Class with the Blu Dining Room.

But other lines will offer perks by the number of cruises you have sailed with them in the past, or by the type of room that you have booked such as a Suite.  This may include a dedicated lounge, and preferential boarding and departure. 

In one way, both Azamara and Oceania are one class ships, but they do offer specific perks for individuals that book more expensive cabins.  Both lines offer a Butler and for their suites, and Azamara offers unlimited ability to dine in their alternative restaurants for suite holders.

One sees this in hotels, when if you are a frequent user of a specific grand you may get upgraded to a concierge floor.  On the airlines, if you frequently travel, one is often upgraded to business class.

The only cruise lines that we have traveled in which the number of perks given for past cruisers or purchases of suites is held to an absolute minimum is Carnival.  

In several cases, a cruise line with give an individual an upgrade to a better room with more perks in a means to entice them to come back and use their line again.  One couple that I know, received an upgrade on their first cruise on NCL to their Haven Class. 

In the scheme of things, such perks are really no big deal either way.  Some cruisers will decide it is worth the expense, others won’t.  

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Posted (edited)

I guess I don't see that a captain or other senior officer has to speak the same number of words to each and every one of the nearly 700 passengers on the ship in order for the ship to be regarded as one-class.  To me a multi-class ship has areas of the ship--stateroom sections, restaurants, lounges, pools, fitness areas, suite-only theater sections or dining room areas, and so on--where "lower" class passengers are forbidden to go, with no ability to pay an access fee, thereby isolating the "upper" class from having to mingle with the "others."  This practice is what I find offensive, and apparently Phil feels the same.

 

StevenR continues to misstate Azamara policies.  Suite passengers do NOT have "unlimited" access to specialty restaurants.  They make reservations like everyone else.  The difference is that there is no additional charge for suite passengers.  We have been in a corner suite and have been unable to get a reservation when desired.  If someone in a non-suite stateroom gets to the reservation desk he or she can book a specialty every night of the cruise if so desired, if dining times and dates are available...same as for a suite passenger.

Edited by marinaro44

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Likewise if you have access to the spa deck either as a suite guest, because you have bought a spa pass or because you are having a treatment and can use the deck at that time, it is first come first served for a lounger.  To be honest often it is easier to get a lounger up on Deck 11 than it is in the spa deck.

Multi class is where you are forbidden to go or do something because of the type of room you have, that, mercifully does not happen on Azamara 

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Just to add my twopennyworth to the discussion about interactions with senior officers, we found that from our first cruise senior officers talked to us, but a few times it was us that initiated the conversation by saying hi, or asking a question. Once they got to know our faces, officers stopped to talk to us after that. 

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‘Interaction’

noun ...reciprocal action or influence

 

It doesn't have to be one sided, if an officer says good morning, how are you today, you can answer and say good and we enjoyed yesterday, the views, the sail in , sail out etc etc then they reply! Its not hard to interact but you do have to give them something to go on. Some peoples views expect everything to be instigated by the crew! 

 

Our first Azamara  was 8 cruises ago after 15 non Azamara and we knew no one. But we replied to their question and a conversation followed and the next day another one did . It’s  really quite easy and had nothing  to do with status, LCV level or cabin selection.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, marinaro44 said:

I guess I don't see that a captain or other senior officer has to speak the same number of words to each and every one of the nearly 700 passengers on the ship in order for the ship to be regarded as one-class.  To me a multi-class ship has areas of the ship--stateroom sections, restaurants, lounges, pools, fitness areas, suite-only theater sections or dining room areas, and so on--where "lower" class passengers are forbidden to go, with no ability to pay an access fee, thereby isolating the "upper" class from having to mingle with the "others."  This practice is what I find offensive, and apparently Phil feels the same.

 

StevenR continues to misstate Azamara policies.  Suite passengers do NOT have "unlimited" access to specialty restaurants.  They make reservations like everyone else.  The difference is that there is no additional charge for suite passengers.  We have been in a corner suite and have been unable to get a reservation when desired.  If someone in a non-suite stateroom gets to the reservation desk he or she can book a specialty every night of the cruise if so desired, if dining times and dates are available...same as for a suite passenger.

 

By unlimited, I meant, as you have said, that there is no additional up charge to dine in these restaurants, and if one wishes they may indeed dine in them every evening.

As I have said in my previous post, the concept of different classes can mean different things to different people.  In respect to the cruise line it can vary from complete separate sections of the ships as in Cunard, MSC, and NCL, to being provided with a pin and thermos by Carnival. 

Azamara is starting to offer more perks to individuals who are willing to pay more for their cabins.  When Azamara first started that offered Butler Service to virtually every cabin, now it is limited to those who book suites. 

It all comes down to a matter of choice.  That is one of the great things about cruising.

Edited by stevenr597
Additional information.

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45 minutes ago, stevenr597 said:

 

By unlimited, I meant, as you have said, that there is no additional up charge to dine in these restaurants, and if one wishes they may indeed dine in them every evening.

As I have said in my previous post, the concept of different classes can mean different things to different people.  In respect to the cruise line it can vary from complete separate sections of the ships as in Cunard, MSC, and NCL, to being provided with a pin and thermos by Carnival. 

Azamara is starting to offer more perks to individuals who are willing to pay more for their cabins.  When Azamara first started that offered Butler Service to virtually every cabin, now it is limited to those who book suites. 

It all comes down to a matter of choice.  That is one of the great things about cruising.

I will wager that there are very few persons who would view "a pin and thermos" as a separate passage class on a cruise ship.  Maybe only one person. 

 

You are confusing perqs (short for perquisites) and minor loyalty gifts with separate passage classes having sealed-off areas of the ship.  Big difference.  Getting a few bottles of liquor or the services of a butler does not constitute a separate passage class. 

 

[Neither does a conversation or two during the cruise with a senior officer you may have sailed with often, for that matter.]

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