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LAFFNVEGAS "LIVE" from the Nieuw Amsterdam/The Return.... Part Two


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5 minutes ago, aliaschief said:

Have all my Pinnacle Grill dining experiences been consistently good? No? I just stated that our experiences a few weeks ago in all the Nieuw Amsterdam specialty restaurants were great.

 

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I refuse to hold grudges over one time bad experiences! Consistently bad is another issue and I then vote by my wallet!

 

Well said.  👍. We had a horrible PG experience on one cruise - so bad that we cancelled all of our other upcoming reservations.  

 

Luckily past experiences had been very good so we tried again on the next cruise and it was good again.  After that, we were on the Prinsendam which has always delivered an excellent PG experience for us.  It will be interesting to see how it is next year.  Hopefully, it is good 🤞 

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1 hour ago, trixiee said:

I know there are still major supply chain issues, and I know that people working in foodservices in Long Term Care facilities are having the same issues - they cannot get the same supplies they once could pre-Covid.  

I do think expectations on a cruise need to be tempered a bit right now.  Cruisers are a special kind of spoiled - and I am including myself in that comment.

 

 

1 hour ago, Florida_gal_50 said:

Why aren’t other cruise lines having the same issues?  If you look at menus of Princess for example  they do not have an up charge of $35 for something that used to be included.  

 

I can speak to this directly. For mainstream lines I like both HAL and Celebrity. HAL wins for itinerary but I like Celebrity's newer ships and onboard ambience for shorter cruises where destination is less important.

 

Case in point:  I was dying to go somewhere -- ANYWHERE -- when the Alaska cruising season unexpectedly materialized. I looked at both HAL and Celebrity offerings. I'll admit that I like HAL's itinerary better (no surprise) but I also have been to Alaska twice and was looking for more of a relaxing getaway where I could enjoy being on a cruise.

 

I also was planning on traveling with DS who had been "at home" during the pandemic with me. We've had good experiences traveling together before on Celebrity. So Celebrity it was...and I'm so glad we made that choice based on all of the HAL Live and the review threads I've seen here. On Celebrity we experienced one of the BEST cruises in recent memory in terms of food and service onboard.

 

There were no cutbacks from what we remembered in the MDR.  Celebrity still has sommeliers and our waiter/assistant waiter were extremely professional, knowledgeable about the menu, accommodating and best of all were able to provide the kind of service I recall from cruises long ago when wait staff had fewer tables. (We do realize that this is partly due to the exceptional circumstances of having the ship sail at less than half capacity while having nearly a full complement of staff/crew). Bartenders all over the ship were eager to serve you whether it was a $15 martini or just a soda.

 

Every night the menu looked so good that we didn't WANT to eat elsewhere. There were never less than 7 starters on the menu each evening and 6 mains -- that is in addition to the "always available" four starters and 3 mains (grilled chicken breast, broiled salmon and sirloin steak). Salads were dressed tableside. Breadbaskets had different choices every night along with three different butters/dips (for the breadsticks). 

 

We never noticed any shortages of anything either in the Ocean View (buffet, where we normally ate breakfast and occasionally lunched) or MDR. Delicious desserts in MDR as well. The waiter took to bringing two for my DS every night as it was so hard to choose....

 

I don't know why but even the plating looked nicer on our Celebrity cruise vs. the photos I've seen of MDR food from Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

The only thing I ever recall there being a "shortage" of on our cruise was time to enjoy it all!

 

In a week we had four production shows, a comedian, a very good singer in the Motown vein, and a versatile trio called Divas 3. Also two staff who provided lectures -- one on the marine life and one on the history and culture of Alaska. 

 

So overall, we are glad we chose Celebrity -- there were no supply issues noticeable, from variety of food to number of staff to entertainment options. 

 

And yes, Celebrity was slightly more expensive but in the long run, I feel that the additional $150 per person was money well spent. It was really a cruise that will -- for its onboard experience -- live on for some time. I kept saying to DS "This is what cruising USED TO BE LIKE."

 

 

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We were also on this cruise and since the Pinnacle Grill seems to be a topic here I would like to address a question to those of you who have cruised alot.    This was only our 10th cruise with 3 of them on Holland.     We normally do not do the extra dining because we are satisfied with the food in the MDR and Lido that are included in the base pricing.   This trip we did the "Have It All" promotion because at the time we thought it would be a good value.    Next time I probably would think twice about this added expense as we are not big drinkers,  didn't really need the meal in the Pinnacle, and the wifi was not very good.    The only part of that promotion that was worth it to us was the $100 off of one ship excursion as we always try to see as much of the port on an excursion as we can.    Now to my question - we knew the Pinnacle meal was free but was unsure of the tip.    So at the end of the meal my sister asked the waiter.    She said we weren't sure of the tip because the meal was included in our cruise and he said we were supposed to leave a tip for them on the table.  So now I'm thinking after reading thru more threads on Cruise Critic that they were actually tipped twice.    We were there at 5:30 on the first sea day - we were seated next to a window - service was good - and the food was good.  Was it worth a double tip?    I don't feel bad for leaving the extra tip since everyone could use the extra money after being off work for a year.    I'd just like to know for the next time incase our meal isn't that great.      

We did have a fun time on this cruise - met some of the Cruise Critic members.  It is always fun to put a face with a name after reading posts on here for the past months leading up to the cruise.     I'm like other posters - I don't remember names of the higher up crew members - but I make it a point to remember the people who helped to make my cruise better.   Martin and Yadi (our room stewards) were awesome.    Maricar (who made the omelets in the Lido) put a smile on my face every morning with her great attitude.  I made sure to put in good words about them on the survey. 

I love to travel and hope that these Covid issues clear up to make that possible.   The joke in my family is I have small expectations when traveling - just give me a clean room with a comfy bed and a great shower.   I had both of these on our trip.  I try to remember when I do travel that there was a time when I could not afford to do this and there are a lot of people in this world that would love to have this opportunity.    I feel fortunate after working many years that I now can enjoy seeing this country.

I wish the best to all of you that I met on this trip.   I hope you have many wonderful trips in your futures.    Safe travels to all.

Maryell

 

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10 minutes ago, summer slope said:

I have a question about the Pinnacle and other $$ restaurants.I know there is a 18% service charge.  If you tip your waiter extra does he get to keep it or must it be put in a "pool"?

 

That’s a good question.  In the days before the extra charge, I believe it went in the pool.

Now that there is an “service charge” for the specialty restaurants, I would think it would work like the rest of the ship and the extra tip would be the person’s to keep - just like the MDR, cabin stewards, etc (assuming the crew incentive is kept in place).

 

I don’t know for sure but it seems logical.

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6 hours ago, Florida_gal_50 said:

No one is asking anyone to lie.  I find some would be good with cold hotdogs on a plate for the pinnacle price excusing it by saying they must have supply issues.  Some expect decent service, that costs nothing and for 18 percent should be a given.  It would also be nice not to hear that lovely nugget if you don’t like it go elsewhere.  You do realize people will if hal continues with a mediocre product and hal will fail to exist.

What Sailing were you on in Alaska this Year?  I don't recall reading what your Personal experience was on the AK Sailing (but may have missed it).  

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15 hours ago, atexsix said:

You think the yogurt was bad, this is what I received when I ordered the "cottage cheese" and fruit. More like watermelon and a thimble of cottage cheese. I should have sent it back.PXL_20210908_170828059.thumb.jpg.09b6b20b69d97c600bbb44b085de7601.jpg

Bruno, did you ask for more and if so, did they refuse you?

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I tend to not carry cash around on the ship (except for what I plan on donating at the Roulette wheel on a given night).  I think I've asked before about adding a gratuity.  I don't have Have It All in November on Eurodam, but have DOU in the casino.  If HAL no longer provides a paper receipt for me to sign, I imagine I need to bring a bunch of $1s.

 

Will I also need cash should I elect to have any specialty dining?  If I pre-purchase a reservation for Sel de Mer, does that payment include the gratuity? 

 

Should I carry extra cash when I'm on NA in December and do have Have it All?  I hate the paper waste, but it certainly was easier to add an extra tip when you had a slip of paper to sign and it all just went on your account.

 

I feel like I should know this but it's been almost 4 years (!) since my K'dam cruise and almost 2 on any ship.  My memory has faded.

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1 minute ago, NCTribeFan said:

I tend to not carry cash around on the ship (except for what I plan on donating at the Roulette wheel on a given night).  I think I've asked before about adding a gratuity.  I don't have Have It All in November on Eurodam, but have DOU in the casino.  If HAL no longer provides a paper receipt for me to sign, I imagine I need to bring a bunch of $1s.

 

I’ve never seen the ability to add a tip on a HAL receipt.  If you want to add an extra tip, you will need some singles 🙂.  The beverage service charge is included in the cost of your drink.  Unlike others, I tend to reward periodically with a larger bill if someone has given me good service.

 

1 minute ago, NCTribeFan said:

Will I also need cash should I elect to have any specialty dining?  If I pre-purchase a reservation for Sel de Mer, does that payment include the gratuity? 

 

The payment should include the gratuity or it will be added to you on board account if it’s not.  You won’t need cash unless you want to tip above and beyond.

 

1 minute ago, NCTribeFan said:

Should I carry extra cash when I'm on NA in December and do have Have it All?  I hate the paper waste, but it certainly was easier to add an extra tip when you had a slip of paper to sign and it all just went on your account.

 

Only if you want to tip extra.  You can do that towards the end of the cruise if you are so inclined.  You don’t need to carry extra cash every day.

 

the crew incentive/HSC and specialty dining and beverage grats covers all the gratuities technically as long as they are left in place.

 

Additional is only if YOU want to.  NO requirement.  Some do, many don’t.  The crew appreciate anything and cringe when the HSC/crew incentive is removed.

 

Hope this helps a bit.

 

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18 hours ago, dobiemom said:

I agree, there should have been about 3x the amount of cottage cheese. But it worked fine for us ‘cuz GF doesn’t like cottage cheese so I ate both. 😉

Watermelon was very good. 😋

 

I had the same dish 1-1/2 years ago on HAL and it was delicious! I'll admit the cottage cheese should've been larger, but it was tasty, and you could've asked for more when you saw the size. I needed to leave room for my "Texas French Toast", anyway!!😊

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21 hours ago, aliaschief said:

My friend,  you’ll have to be one who comes to a personal agreement as to if you want to continue cruising with Hal. Persistently you have been critical of the product and have not been happy with Hal’s product. So maybe time to choose other options.

 

 

You must have missed previous posts of my satisfaction with my HAL cruise experience.  

 

Choosing other options?  Why do you think I booked a Yacht Club suite on MSC Meravigilia in January, 2020?  

 

There are sufficient posts on this thread to support my concern about the inconsistency of cruise product that one receives.

 

Once upon a time, there was NO need for me to be concerned about what my HAL cruise experience would be when I embarked on a HAL ship.  Why do I have to now accept that such an inconsistent experience is to be expected?  

 

The ONLY consistent experience that I have experienced on a HAL cruise is the friendliness and service of the crew when they have senior management on their ship that demonstrates such an attitude towards their guests.  And, even, then, some of the experienced hotel staff recognize that:  the ship is not in good shape.  

 

What I experienced on a 21 day cruise on the Noordam with a Captain and HD director was so objectionable as to the vibes that I received from them and from that crew whom reflected their anti-guest attitudes:  difficult for me to put those memories aside. Was I alone in what I was experiencing?  No.  Conversing with other Mariners on that cruise of more experience than me, they detected the same feelings.  

 

Other good cruises since that one with more I hope to come.  

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, rkacruiser said:

 

You must have missed previous posts of my satisfaction with my HAL cruise experience.  

 

Choosing other options?  Why do you think I booked a Yacht Club suite on MSC Meravigilia in January, 2020?  

 

There are sufficient posts on this thread to support my concern about the inconsistency of cruise product that one receives.

 

Once upon a time, there was NO need for me to be concerned about what my HAL cruise experience would be when I embarked on a HAL ship.  Why do I have to now accept that such an inconsistent experience is to be expected?  

 

The ONLY consistent experience that I have experienced on a HAL cruise is the friendliness and service of the crew when they have senior management on their ship that demonstrates such an attitude towards their guests.  And, even, then, some of the experienced hotel staff recognize that:  the ship is not in good shape.  

 

What I experienced on a 21 day cruise on the Noordam with a Captain and HD director was so objectionable as to the vibes that I received from them and from that crew whom reflected their anti-guest attitudes:  difficult for me to put those memories aside. Was I alone in what I was experiencing?  No.  Conversing with other Mariners on that cruise of more experience than me, they detected the same feelings.  

 

Other good cruises since that one with more I hope to come.  

 

 

 

Respect your reply. Just always get the feeling that your unhappy with Hal and constantly emphasizing why you are. We can’t go back to the way it was though it would be nice. 
 

Yes there are some questioning  going ons and changes I question but I still like the Hal experience. When the experience is no longer enjoyable I’ll be the first to bail.

 

Hope you find your cruising happy place.

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14 hours ago, maryandmarge said:

We were also on this cruise and since the Pinnacle Grill seems to be a topic

   Now to my question - we knew the Pinnacle meal was free but was unsure of the tip.    So at the end of the meal my sister asked the waiter.    She said we weren't sure of the tip because the meal was included in our cruise and he said we were supposed to leave a tip for them on the table.  So now I'm thinking after reading thru more threads on Cruise Critic that they were actually tipped twice.    We were there at 5:30 on the first sea day - we were seated next to a window - service was good - and the food was good.  Was it worth a double tip?    I don't feel bad for leaving the extra tip since everyone could use the extra money after being off work for a year.    I'd just like to know for the next time incase our meal isn't that great.      

 

Maryell

 

Maryell:  

I've edited your post above to address the question about tipping in the Pinnacle Grill.  Firstly, your dinner was most definitely NOT free.  The "Have It All" fare is hundreds of dollars more than the basic fare, and while it DOES save some money, you have paid substantially those "perks" (as have I).  For your waiter to actually tell you to "leave a tip on the table" is jaw dropping to me.  

 

Edited to add....  I've now read enough about the PG on the NA that I plan to cancel our reservation there and dine in Tamarind twice. 

Edited by julia
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14 hours ago, julia said:

Maryell:  

I've edited your post above to address the question about tipping in the Pinnacle Grill.  Firstly, your dinner was most definitely NOT free.  The "Have It All" fare is hundreds of dollars more than the basic fare, and while it DOES save some money, you have paid substantially those "perks" (as have I).  For your waiter to actually tell you to "leave a tip on the table" is jaw dropping to me.  

 

Edited to add....  I've now read enough about the PG on the NA that I plan to cancel our reservation there and dine in Tamarind twice. 

Thanks Julia for your response.   At least I’ll know for future reference.   I’m not upset that we left an additional tip as our food and service was good.  We don’t eat at fancy restaurants so maybe our expectations aren’t as high as others.    Seems like there has been a lot of hit or miss experiences from passengers eating at the Pinnacle Grill.   Hopefully it is something that Holland America addresses in the future.  

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For those that stated I should make sure I let HAL know with my on line survey. I did just that and did copy much of what I wrote into the survey but I also gave a rating of 10 in many categories.  As I stated before this was still a good cruise because we saw Pinnacle fall to a low level like we had witnessed prior to covid but not on the first cruise July 24th only tells me it is an internal Management issue or a way HAL thinks they are doing cost cutting. Sadly I am not sure they really care. I know of others that have also commented regarding the limited menu and the upselling and that too will probably fall on deaf ears..

Will I continue to cruise HAL?, definitely it is really all about expectations. They fooled me on July 24th with the Pinnacle. I just will book knowing that HAL is also the nickle and dime cruise line attempting to upsell stuff just like most think NCL is. If one goes into a cruise expecting these things the surprise is not there. Beside we are so darn close to both 5 star and 300 days need to reach that mile stone.😁

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37 minutes ago, LAFFNVEGAS said:

Beside we are so darn close to both 5 star and 300 days need to reach that mile stone.😁

I only have 43 more days until 5 star. I should have been there already. Darn pandemic!

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I’m onboard now.  Our PG breakfasts have been excellent— even the “tricky” stuff like Swedish pancakes; banana bread French toast,  poached eggs.  All excellent.

DH had one steak there at dinner that was blah.  Everything else delicious.   Rudi’s in the PG last night was one of the best cruise dinners ever.  
The service in all areas has been extraordinarily good.  A happy ship.  And with the HAL feel to it.  Hearing the Captain’s daily updates is a joy.  We’re on a ship, not a floating hotel.

DH is starting his usual teasing as the cruise is coming to a close — that I’m gonna tie myself to the bow and refuse to get off.  This time, I might Super Glue myself to a chair in the PG.  😂

Wonderful cruise.  Carnival Corp appears to be committed to its HAL brand.  This ship is in impeccable order.
Bon voyage to those sailing on Saturday.


 

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15 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

I’m onboard now.  Our PG breakfasts have been excellent— even the “tricky” stuff like Swedish pancakes; banana bread French toast,  poached eggs.  All excellent.

DH had one steak there at dinner that was blah.  Everything else delicious.   Rudi’s in the PG last night was one of the best cruise dinners ever.  
The service in all areas has been extraordinarily good.  A happy ship.  And with the HAL feel to it.  Hearing the Captain’s daily updates is a joy.  We’re on a ship, not a floating hotel.

DH is starting his usual teasing as the cruise is coming to a close — that I’m gonna tie myself to the bow and refuse to get off.  This time, I might Super Glue myself to a chair in the PG.  😂

Wonderful cruise.  Carnival Corp appears to be committed to its HAL brand.  This ship is in impeccable order.
Bon voyage to those sailing on Saturday.


 

We’ve been having the same experience, Maxine.  We had dinner in the PG on Monday and it was great!  Rudy’s Sel de Mer was wonderful last night.  And our PG breakfasts are superb.  Different folks, different experiences.

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18 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

I’m onboard now.  Our PG breakfasts have been excellent— even the “tricky” stuff like Swedish pancakes; banana bread French toast,  poached eggs.  All excellent.

DH had one steak there at dinner that was blah.  Everything else delicious.   Rudi’s in the PG last night was one of the best cruise dinners ever.  
The service in all areas has been extraordinarily good.  A happy ship.  And with the HAL feel to it.  Hearing the Captain’s daily updates is a joy.  We’re on a ship, not a floating hotel.

DH is starting his usual teasing as the cruise is coming to a close — that I’m gonna tie myself to the bow and refuse to get off.  This time, I might Super Glue myself to a chair in the PG.  😂

Wonderful cruise.  Carnival Corp appears to be committed to its HAL brand.  This ship is in impeccable order.
Bon voyage to those sailing on Saturday.


 

Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience and thank you, Debbie for sharing yours!  We were on July 24th and had a wonderful Cruise with a very friendly Staff & Crew and also wanted to tie ourselves to the Bow and not get off!  Now, we are very much looking forward to our November 10th Cruise onboard the Rotterdam!

 

Thanks again and safe travels home to you both!  Enjoy the rest of your Cruise! 😀

Edited by idiebabe
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1 hour ago, AncientWanderer said:

I’m onboard now.  Our PG breakfasts have been excellent— even the “tricky” stuff like Swedish pancakes; banana bread French toast,  poached eggs.  All excellent.

DH had one steak there at dinner that was blah.  Everything else delicious.   Rudi’s in the PG last night was one of the best cruise dinners ever.  
The service in all areas has been extraordinarily good.  A happy ship.  And with the HAL feel to it.  Hearing the Captain’s daily updates is a joy.  We’re on a ship, not a floating hotel.

DH is starting his usual teasing as the cruise is coming to a close — that I’m gonna tie myself to the bow and refuse to get off.  This time, I might Super Glue myself to a chair in the PG.  😂

Wonderful cruise.  Carnival Corp appears to be committed to its HAL brand.  This ship is in impeccable order.
Bon voyage to those sailing on Saturday.


 

 

Thanks to you and @dfish .  That’s good to hear 👍 

Sounds like the previous cruise was like my cruise on the Westerdam a number of years ago.  The PG was a disaster.  I saw the PG manager called up towards the end and he was replaced.  Didn’t help us but the next cruise had glowing reports of the PG.

 

Good to hear it has improved and is the standard it should be 👍 

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1 hour ago, AncientWanderer said:

Our breakfasts have been excellent— even the “tricky” stuff like Swedish pancakes;   poached eggs.  All excellent.

 

I have not ordered these in the PG, but I have done so as a guest in the MDR.  My evaluation of these preparations have been consistently the same as yours.  Excellent!  And, please, don't forget about the "now needed to be requested" presentations of croissants, danish, raisin buns, etc.  All very good.

 

1 hour ago, AncientWanderer said:

Rudi’s in the PG last night was one of the best cruise dinners ever.  

 

1 hour ago, dfish said:

Rudy’s Sel de Mer was wonderful last night.

 

I have had no negative experiences with either the pop-up Sel de Mer's or the stand alone one on Nieuw Statendam.  How can a pop-up mirror my first experience on the Nieuw Statendam?  Don't know, but they have done so!  

 

22 hours ago, aliaschief said:

Just always get the feeling that your unhappy with Hal

 

Respectfully, I don't think you have read all of my HAL posts.  Perhaps, the above comments will help you to understand that I still enjoy my HAL cruise experience.  

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Anyone else here use Quest Diagnostics for your covid test? I did yesterday morning and still don't have the results. My husband had his test elsewhere at about the same time and got his results last night. I'm getting a little anxious 🤪 Feels like I can't jump up and down with excitement for the cruise quite yet! But on the inside I'm super excite!! 🙂  I went with Quest since HAL "partnered" with them....hoping that wasn't a bad decision.

Edited by Breezinontheocean
Ooops didn't mean to post this here....
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/15/2021 at 5:54 AM, aliaschief said:

Bruno that does look like a very poorly presented plate. Was that the breakfast fruit plate?

Yes it was.  I expected a bowl of cottage cheese with fruit on top, that was how we served it in the restaurant I once worked in. 

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On 9/15/2021 at 12:27 PM, idiebabe said:

Bruno, did you ask for more and if so, did they refuse you?

I did not, I was more confused that anything, thinking that perhaps this was how it was served on a ship.  Maybe I should have asked for more, hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

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13 hours ago, atexsix said:

I did not, I was more confused that anything, thinking that perhaps this was how it was served on a ship.  Maybe I should have asked for more, hindsight is 20/20 as they say.

Hi Bruno!  Happy to see you posting again and that you're feeling better!  😀

 

 

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