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crsnook

Just back from Tahitian Princess -- Some Tips

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Hello All,

 

I'm just back from the Tahitian Princess (Nov 27 - Dec 7, 2006) and wanted to share some tips. First of all, these boards provided great advice and never steered us wrong! We had a great time. Here's some of my observations and thoughts... feel free to send me any questions and I'll be happy to answer them if I can.

 

Huahine -- Marc's Motu Picnic -- full day was even better than everyone else has stated earlier. This is by far the best tour I've ever been on in all of my 8 cruises. But book early... we got lucky we were on the waiting list and cleared the week before the cruise. I tried to book about a month before we left. Some people we talked to during the excursion had booked in April ! :eek:

 

Rarotonga -- the ship tour people were useless to us. We wanted to find somewhere to snorkel and they recommended a place (Titikaveka by the Fruits of Raratona store) but couldn't tell us how to get there or how much it would cost by taxi. (Thanks Princess tour staff -- very helpfull :mad:) I found this to be a theme as we prefer to book independently versus cruise (overpriced) tours. We finally lucked upon finding the Cook Island bus which was cheap (less than the cruise shuttle that didn't take you as far) and reliable (ran about every hour). I would highly recommend this method of transport ahead of the ship's shuttle. The snorkeling was great walking to right along the beach and past the black rocks. So much coral!

 

At sea -- not too bad although others have said it's been rough. We had it good. Not enough deck chairs for our shade loving personalities -- had to retreat to the library and our balcony to find shade to read and relax.

 

Raiatea -- took the one ship tours recommended by the boards... the Vanilla Farm and Pearl Farm tour which goes to the sister island Tahaa... which was excellent. I was torn because no snorkeling. However, we did the morning tour and on the way back the guide mentioned that he's the same guy who does the afternoon Pearl Farm/Snorkelling tour and he took us snorkeling in the afternoon for only $25 per person when the ship would have charged us $69 per person... The snorkeling was awesome by the way.

 

Bora Bora... rained the entire first half day we were there... hard driving rain... read in library. :( However, the second day was awesome. Damian.. oooo... yes... everything posted previously was true. I would recommend him. Nice guy, gentle soul, worth the money for a four hour tour with a six-person group. Only downside was that the other four people on our tour spoke French so he had to translate everything to us in English and to them in French. But his French sounded sexy so I didn't mind. :D

We also bought gifts from Baldini store near the ship which had great pearl prices for smaller gifts under the extremely pricey pearls which were more investments for yourself!

 

Moorea -- we went to the InterContinental hotel and took their water taxi to the private motu for snorkeling. It was cool. Their shuttle leaves at 10AM to go to the motu and I would recommend getting there for that first shuttle to make sure you have time to get back on the 12 or 2 pm shuttle back to mainland since the ship leaves at 4 pm that day. It was a good relaxing time. We went to the La Petite shopping center there and the Enata store just outside of there and bought almost all of our Xmas gifts. It was a great store with locally made crafts. (cotton prints, ceramic dishes, etc.) NOT crafts made in Thailand or China peddeled as local goods. Which we found very common in other ports and stores.

 

Back to Papettee -- if you spend any time here I would highly recommend getting a car. It was great to drive around and see the sights. It would have been difficult without it. Went to Le Belvedere which supposedly has great views but it was foggy the night we went so we didn't get to see too much. Also, eat at the trucks down by the warf for dinner after 6PM. Very good food, relatively inexpensive, and fun.

 

On ship specialty restaurants -- excellent -- highly recommend both of them. The dining room is hit and miss. Some things there were great and others not so good.

 

Sorry for the long posting but really wanted to share our knowledge after so many before us posted helpful hints. If you go it will be the trip of a lifetime, I'm so glad we went. We're still tired but downloading pictures and memories. Please let me know if you want any more tips... I'd be glad to share more specifics with anyone who is interested.

 

Candice & Brian

10-year Anniversary Trip

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crnsnook,

 

Thanks for posting. Even though we have been before you have given me a couple of ideas for our next visit in June. Was it worthwhile doing the Vanilla and Pearf farm visit. I would love to see Tahaa and if it is a morning visit it still gives us time to go to a Motu in the afternoon for a swim, which we did last time we were there.

 

Secondly, when you went to the Intercontinental Hotel, was there a fee for using their facilities. Last time we spent time at the Sheraton Hotel and it would be a change to try somewhere different.

 

Thanks

 

Jennie

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Candice and Brian, Thanks for the overview. I'm on a btb starting on Jan. 26 and, thanks to these boards, I have never been so excited about a trip before as I am about this one. I have also booked Marc and Damian. Damian sounds like a sweetheart from his e-mails. If he lives up to his reputation, I may end up taking another excursion with him on my second cruise. Thanks for the info on the IC in Moorea. I wasn't sure what to do on the second trip to Moorea and this sounds like a relaxing day.

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We are sailing Feb. 5th & have 2 days pre & post at the IC. I'm wondering if there are shore excursions for Papeete & Hiva Oa once you are on the ship? Princess doesn't list anything online or in the pre cruise docs. Did you have any trouble renting a car in Papeete? Thanks, Jan

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Candice and Brian, Thanks for the tips. Just a question. Did you exchange US dollars for French Polynesia Francs (CFP or XFP) either aboard ship or on an island and if so what exchange rate did you get?

 

Thanks. We go in less than 4 weeks.

 

Barry

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crnsnook,

 

Was it worthwhile doing the Vanilla and Pearf farm visit. I would love to see Tahaa and if it is a morning visit it still gives us time to go to a Motu in the afternoon for a swim, which we did last time we were there.

 

Secondly, when you went to the Intercontinental Hotel, was there a fee for using their facilities.

 

Thanks

 

Jennie

 

Jeanie,

 

I thought it was worth it doing the Vanilla/Pearl Farm Tour. It was very interesting to see how they grow the vanilla and purchase beans straight from the farm. I plan on doing what they recommend to make vanilla extract -- put the beans in rum and let them soak for 3 months. It's supposed to make a killer vanilla extract to use in cooking. The Pearl farm tour was very informative in terms of learning the process. I didn't think the things in their shop were very good but the process was interesing. We were back by noon so you would still have the afternoon open.

 

No charge at the InterCon to use their facilities... although the ship does discourage you from going there. I think it's a problem of not having too many ship people overrun the resort at once. But if you purchase something (like drinks, or the motu shuttle) I don't think they mind. The charge was 1050 francs per person to get the water shuttle to the motu. So, that translates to roughly $15 USD.

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The ship did offer a few very limited excursions in Papeette on the day you leave and arrive. It wasn't very robust in terms of offerings. I think they had a bus tour to circle the island, a 4x4 tour into the interior and maybe one other thing. We rented a car from Europcar.com which we did from an internet cafe in Bora Bora a few days before we got back to Papette. Avis and Hertz were out of cars... probably because so many people rent cars on the day the ship returns. Europcar was cheaper anyway and was good. It was about a four to six block walk from the pier to the Europcar office and then we returned the car at the airport location. It wouldn't hurt to make advance reservations by a few weeks just ot be sure.

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Candice and Brian, Thanks for the tips. Just a question. Did you exchange US dollars for French Polynesia Francs (CFP or XFP) either aboard ship or on an island and if so what exchange rate did you get?

 

Thanks. We go in less than 4 weeks.

 

Barry

We exchanged money just about everywhere. Some in LAX before we arrived which was helpful to pay the cab from the airport to our hotel for one night before the cruise and then from hotel to pier. I think the exchange was somewhere around .85 USD to 100 francs. We also withdrew money from an ATM on several islands which I've read is where you get the best exchange rates but I'm not sure since I haven't seen the bank statement yet. We also exchanged money at the hotel once. I think that rate was not as good.

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Thanks for your post. Glad you had a great time. Re: Rarotonga, where did you catch the bus, how much was it, did they accept US$? Also, did the water shuttle accept US$

Another tip for vanilla beans....put one in a container of sugar! Yum!

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Jeanie,

 

No charge at the InterCon to use their facilities... although the ship does discourage you from going there. I think it's a problem of not having too many ship people overrun the resort at once. But if you purchase something (like drinks, or the motu shuttle) I don't think they mind. The charge was 1050 francs per person to get the water shuttle to the motu. So, that translates to roughly $15 USD.

 

Thanks for getting back so promptly. We are going to do both of your suggestions which makes a nice change to last time. I am not a snorkeller so am always looking for an alternative though I love having a swim. :)

 

Jennie

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Hi Jennie,

The Intercontinental is a beautiful resort and if your timing is right, you will be able to catch a dolphin show while there. On our boat ride out to the motus, we noticed that there were plenty of coral heads in the shallow water so it should be OK for snorkelling.The two motus that dot the northwest side of the island are a short boat ride away and the snorkelling there is quite good also. There is a helmet dive excursion run by Aqua Blue there from the Intercontinental that is a great time if you are into that kind of thing. They will pick you up at the dock and bring you over to the resort. This is not a Princess tour but if you are interested, I would be happy to pass along the contact info.

On Tahaa, the best snorkelling I have ever done anywhere was with Bruno but this is a full day tour. It takes you completely around Tahaa by outrigger canoe with stops at a Motu (right across from where you were last time) for a lovely lunch, then on to a pearl farm and then to a vanilla farm. Both of those properties were very nice and the hosts friendly and accomodating. The tour is completed with the drift snorkel on the other side of the island followed by a delicious rum punch to top off the day. On the north side of Tahaa, the colours of the water matched those in the lagoon in Bora Bora. We have done this tour twice now and highly recommend it. Princess offers a half day tour which incorporates the drift snorkel with, I think, a visit to a pearl farm and a vanilla plantation. The location of the drift snorkel is the same as Bruno's tour and is right beside a stunning resort and as you look up the channel, you can see Bora Bora looming large on the horizon. If you find drifting a bit intimidating, you can swim and snorkel in beautiful, crystal clear, shallow water while the others drift. As for the vanilla/pearl portions of the tour, it depends how interested you are in both. Pearl prices in Tahaa were not all that good but the quality was. You may see a bit of the pearl harvesting process and then get a talk on how everything is done; how pearls are graded etc., but you can also get that on the ship. The Vanilla plantation will show you the beans growing in the wild, the drying process and how they are graded. The smell is yummy and there will be a variety of products on sale. We didn't buy any beans because we didn't think we would be allowed to bring them in to Oz.

On our trip in October, we thought Princess had slipped a fair bit with their food and entertainment. The service was very good however and when you are in paradise, it is very easy to overlook deficiencies. I hope your South American cruise was what you hoped for. It certainly had an itinerary to die for.

Cheers,

Andy

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Andy,

 

Thanks for all that info which I have printed out. I will be disappointed if Princess has slipped a bit as we loved our time on the Tahitian Princess in 2004.

 

Our last cruise from Vancouver to Manaus via the Panama Canal and then to Tampa in September/October was perfect. We had brilliant sunshine very day for the 34 days and the sea was like glass. The ship was great and the food excellent. All in all it was one of those special cruises.

 

We also went on the Regal Princess in January from Rio to Valpariso via Antarctica and that was another very special cruise. The weather was good in the right places but we did have 24 hours of Force 11 gales going down the Drake Passage and we missed the Falklands due to bad weather which was a big disappointment but we had brilliant weather in Antarctica. You do get the good with the bad when cruising and sometimes it is just plain luck!

 

Jennie

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Crnsnook, thank you so much for posting this information. We are doing the 12 day in July 2007 and I have a question. When I went on the Princess website to book Marc's Motu Picnic, it won't allow me to book it - something about it not being 120 days out. Do you know if there is another way to book this? Many thanks.

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Crnsnook, thank you so much for posting this information. We are doing the 12 day in July 2007 and I have a question. When I went on the Princess website to book Marc's Motu Picnic, it won't allow me to book it - something about it not being 120 days out. Do you know if there is another way to book this? Many thanks.

 

Marc's Motu picnic is independent. Here is the website to book it. It was amazing! J.

 

http://www.huahine-nautique.com/accueilpicnicA.htm

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Marc's all day 4x4 with lunch and snorkeling was the BEST thing we did in 20 days. We had Patrick for our guide-a Califorian now married to a local girl. It was an amazing day! Second favorite was the Helmet Dive in Bora Bora, and 3rd was a snorkel trip booked at the dock on Bora Bora-sharks, rays, motu, snorkeling-Magic Island I think it was called.

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Hi crsnook, thanks for the tips... I have saved them in my files...

 

We have been interested in Damien's trip - read about it on a few other posts... did you book it on the pier or is there a way to get ahold of him ahead of time? We are trying to decide whether to do this on our day at Bora Bora on the cruise or after the cruise on one of our post days there...

 

 

Thanks

Carole

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Just some hints for your trip/we found the tours expense on every island we rented a car ranging from 60 to 80 American..change your money at LAX for french polynesian francs..use credit card you get a better rate..every island accepts mastercard/visa/a few stores AMEX. Renting the car was better because you can stop when ever you want and do what ever you want. There is only one road around the islands /Raiatea/Raratonga/bora bora and Moorea. I found the better deals in at the Peeptee market for buying souviners..//Bora Bora's roads are full of pot holes you have to drive 10/20 miles an hour...we rained out one day in Bora Bora and was suppose to go on a jetski tour/atv moto i emailed Matira Jet and he never got back to me if you was confirmed/he said i should of phoned which is impossible to do on a ship. His tour was expense..Miki Miki Jet has a better tour for 2 hours and a better price..The car rental places were in front of you when you get off the tenders one or two were about 3 miles..Dont rent a scooter/up to you but is nice if you have a car and want to stop alot or go up a dirt road to see certain sites.We had a change of clothes and snacks in our backpacks and off for the day..you can only rent cars up to 4 to 6 hours that is all you need since it only takes anywhere from an hour to two hours around the islands.

Moorea ATV tours was the best going up the trails and seeing spectacular views of the island. The staff pick you up and return you to the ship/we travelled on a plantation/tasted the wild fruit/we were at the bottom of a waterfall/a fun 2.5 hours at a good price..take the 830am you are done by 11am you have 5 hours to rent a car and see the island.

The Tahitian princess a few tips if you go the Ship doctor for anything and require medicine check your bill they charged me for something I didnt recieve..recieved my money back promply after noticing it a few days later..also, some of the workout equipment is disrepair..staff states thats the normally banging noise from the elipitical trainer....there is no 24 hour buffet only soup/sandwiches/pizza/salad after 3pm. If you want a nice dinner you have to eat in the main dining room..somewhat no alternative dining as the bigger ships have 24 hour buffets or buffet choice and supper. If you see towels on a chaise lounge more then 30 minutes that means nobody is occuping that seat for the whole day..people were throwing their towels on chairs at 6am and never to return again,,alot of upset passengers, a few people just picked them up and throw them off a few discourtesy passengers for no shows.That usually happens on the "at sea days"..Balcony suite at the back of the ship was nice upgrade very private. The food was good and the staff went out their way to make it a nice holiday..If you are looking for black pearls it depends what you want to spend well worth the trip half way around the world. Long flight from Toronto to LAX and then Tahiti 24 hours in gaining and losing hours. We will return to Moorea it was one the nicest islands very clean/water crystal clear snorkling from every beach. The best cruise we have been on as far as destinations.. Dont forget rent a car have an adventure!:cool:

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If you want a nice dinner you have to eat in the main dining room..somewhat no alternative dining as the bigger ships have 24 hour buffets or buffet choice and supper.
:confused:

You can also eat at the 2 alternative restaurants which alternate nights: Sabatini's and Sterling. You can also order menu items for room service.

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Thanks for the review and now I would like to have your review about the ship

We are thinking to take the Royal Princess which is also a Renaissance cruise ship that Princess bought and we are wondering if that kind of ship will be good for our cruise in Europe

How is it on sea days, is it very crowdy ?

I think that there is no alternative dinner just traditionnal.

If it is possible give me some tips

And Merry Christmas to all

 

 

 

 

 

Hello All,

 

I'm just back from the Tahitian Princess (Nov 27 - Dec 7, 2006) and wanted to share some tips. First of all, these boards provided great advice and never steered us wrong! We had a great time. Here's some of my observations and thoughts... feel free to send me any questions and I'll be happy to answer them if I can.

 

Huahine -- Marc's Motu Picnic -- full day was even better than everyone else has stated earlier. This is by far the best tour I've ever been on in all of my 8 cruises. But book early... we got lucky we were on the waiting list and cleared the week before the cruise. I tried to book about a month before we left. Some people we talked to during the excursion had booked in April ! :eek:

 

Rarotonga -- the ship tour people were useless to us. We wanted to find somewhere to snorkel and they recommended a place (Titikaveka by the Fruits of Raratona store) but couldn't tell us how to get there or how much it would cost by taxi. (Thanks Princess tour staff -- very helpfull :mad:) I found this to be a theme as we prefer to book independently versus cruise (overpriced) tours. We finally lucked upon finding the Cook Island bus which was cheap (less than the cruise shuttle that didn't take you as far) and reliable (ran about every hour). I would highly recommend this method of transport ahead of the ship's shuttle. The snorkeling was great walking to right along the beach and past the black rocks. So much coral!

 

At sea -- not too bad although others have said it's been rough. We had it good. Not enough deck chairs for our shade loving personalities -- had to retreat to the library and our balcony to find shade to read and relax.

 

Raiatea -- took the one ship tours recommended by the boards... the Vanilla Farm and Pearl Farm tour which goes to the sister island Tahaa... which was excellent. I was torn because no snorkeling. However, we did the morning tour and on the way back the guide mentioned that he's the same guy who does the afternoon Pearl Farm/Snorkelling tour and he took us snorkeling in the afternoon for only $25 per person when the ship would have charged us $69 per person... The snorkeling was awesome by the way.

 

Bora Bora... rained the entire first half day we were there... hard driving rain... read in library. :( However, the second day was awesome. Damian.. oooo... yes... everything posted previously was true. I would recommend him. Nice guy, gentle soul, worth the money for a four hour tour with a six-person group. Only downside was that the other four people on our tour spoke French so he had to translate everything to us in English and to them in French. But his French sounded sexy so I didn't mind. :D

We also bought gifts from Baldini store near the ship which had great pearl prices for smaller gifts under the extremely pricey pearls which were more investments for yourself!

 

Moorea -- we went to the InterContinental hotel and took their water taxi to the private motu for snorkeling. It was cool. Their shuttle leaves at 10AM to go to the motu and I would recommend getting there for that first shuttle to make sure you have time to get back on the 12 or 2 pm shuttle back to mainland since the ship leaves at 4 pm that day. It was a good relaxing time. We went to the La Petite shopping center there and the Enata store just outside of there and bought almost all of our Xmas gifts. It was a great store with locally made crafts. (cotton prints, ceramic dishes, etc.) NOT crafts made in Thailand or China peddeled as local goods. Which we found very common in other ports and stores.

 

Back to Papettee -- if you spend any time here I would highly recommend getting a car. It was great to drive around and see the sights. It would have been difficult without it. Went to Le Belvedere which supposedly has great views but it was foggy the night we went so we didn't get to see too much. Also, eat at the trucks down by the warf for dinner after 6PM. Very good food, relatively inexpensive, and fun.

 

On ship specialty restaurants -- excellent -- highly recommend both of them. The dining room is hit and miss. Some things there were great and others not so good.

 

Sorry for the long posting but really wanted to share our knowledge after so many before us posted helpful hints. If you go it will be the trip of a lifetime, I'm so glad we went. We're still tired but downloading pictures and memories. Please let me know if you want any more tips... I'd be glad to share more specifics with anyone who is interested.

 

Candice & Brian

10-year Anniversary Trip

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Sorry all -- got tied up with the holidays so didn't respond to some of your questions. Here's the responses to questions I saw that weren't already answered by somebody else...

 

We have been interested in Damien's trip - read about it on a few other posts... did you book it on the pier or is there a way to get ahold of him ahead of time?

 

We booked Damien's trip right off the pier. I think we got on the pier around 8:30 or so and he left at 9AM. He had a to get six people to have the tour so we just waited around and fortunately some other people joined us so he met his number. The first day in Bora Bora it rained... and I mean pouring torential rain. It is a tropical island. :) So, I would suggest looking at how the weather is on the day you are in port and if it's good try to go then. If not, wait until you come back on your post-cruise trip. Catching good weather is the trick since it is very rainy there. Damien has a website, but it's all in French. No English. He speaks both languages. But he does have an email... I can look for it if you want.

 

 

Re: Rarotonga, where did you catch the bus, how much was it, did they accept US$? Also, did the water shuttle accept US$

 

I looked for a map at home and couldn't find it. So, here's rough directions. When you get off the ship, go to the main road right in front of you and turn left. Walk down along the main road until you see the main shopping center... there's a side road on your right that's right between a gas station and a rental car place. Walk down that road and on the right is a small shopping center with a big sandwich board out front listing the bus times. It runs about every half hour circling the island in different directions. I think it was $3 New Zealand Dollars for a round trip ticket. I don't think they accept USD. We got New Zealand dollars from an ATM that we passed on our walk. There's one right next to the visitor's center. The road for the bus is about one block before the visitor's center. If you get lost, the people in the visitor's center could tell you where the bus stop is.

 

Thanks for the review and now I would like to have your review about the ship

 

The ship was "OK". I've been on better ships. It's an older ship that has been refurbed. It has a very small pool and sun deck. It's really hard to find deck chairs in the shade. The upper deck had lots of chairs but no way to escape the scorching sun. The room where the entertainment was located was not tiered very steeply since it was only one deck so it was hard to see from the back. The public rooms were all very nicely appointed and seemed to be newer. It wasn't too crowded most of the time we were on the ship. But, I think the Tahitian Princess is the smallest of their fleet so other ships could be different.

 

Let me know if I forgot anybody's questions.

 

Candice

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crsnook,

 

I don't know how you can call the Tahitian Princess an older ship as it was only built in 2000 and I think it was only in service a year or two before Renaissance went bankrupt.

 

Princess only took it over at the beginning of 2003. In my opinion that does not make an old ship. I love the style and the size of the "R" ships and hope to cruise on them for a long time. Oceania have 3 and Princess have another 3 which leaves 2 left and I am not sure where they are at the moment.

 

It is a change to be on a small intimate ship where one does to get to know a lot of the passengers not like a monolith of 3000 people.

 

Jennie

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Thanks for the info Candice!:) What currency did the Moorea Intercontinental Hotel water taxi take? And how much was that?

 

Sorry, double post.

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Thanks for the info Candice!:) What currency did the Moorea Intercontinental Hotel water taxi take? And how much was that?

 

When we were there in March it was $1,000 xfp - about $12 USD. We added it to our hotel bill, so not sure if they take US Dollars or not.

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