16 Norwegian Sun Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

New destinations were the best part, through the panama and all the stops. The ship was very smooth. Most of the outside entertainment was superb. The food was so bad, and the deserts looked wonderful, and most often tasted like ... Read More
New destinations were the best part, through the panama and all the stops. The ship was very smooth. Most of the outside entertainment was superb. The food was so bad, and the deserts looked wonderful, and most often tasted like rubber. Even the chocolate was altered, (maybe brown food dye?) Every meat entree was too tough to chew. The spinach pie was paper and no cheese, ? STINGY ON ALL CHEESE. Encourage waste. We reported it and it did not improve. Orange juice stated out GREAT then when they put it on the PAY FOR IT, it got very watered down. Then you could not get a grapefruit without begging. We were locked out of the room many times. The entire lock had to be replaced. The tv was governed too low, except for the commercials. Toilet and water was not working one night. My note on door to not knock was ignored. At the wonderful sound of the strings, they were interrupted by commercial on the ship to buy lottery tickets, as preempted every theater show. (very tacky) Sheer chaos ensued at every stop to disembark. One elevator would not stop on floor 9,...??? Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
I chose this cruise because of the Panama canal and Mexico. This was the absolute worse cruise I have ever been on. Construction was going on the whole time while the cruise was going. Painting, jackhammers, fumes and flying debris. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the Panama canal and Mexico. This was the absolute worse cruise I have ever been on. Construction was going on the whole time while the cruise was going. Painting, jackhammers, fumes and flying debris. Some of the treadmills were out of order and the jogging track was closed most of the time due to construction. Most of the areas on the ship were closed off for sanding and it was very dangerous. The children's pool was closed the entire time. While I was having breakfast outside, soot was flying around and landing in my food which forced me to go inside (Not what I wanted coming from the snow in NYC). The boys that were playing basketball were covered in black soot and thy're eyes were puffy when they came back in. I had a constant cough the entire time and it's still with me as I have no idea what they were using to clean with. I will never take another Norwegian cruise as long as I live Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We thought the destinations looked terrific on this cruise and it would have been wonderful, were it not for the construction work beautifying the ship throughout the two week cruise. Jackhammers, sanding, drilling, dust, strong chemical ... Read More
We thought the destinations looked terrific on this cruise and it would have been wonderful, were it not for the construction work beautifying the ship throughout the two week cruise. Jackhammers, sanding, drilling, dust, strong chemical smells meant that a gloom descended over us, however hard we tried to make the best of things. Fantastic locations and days off the ship were great, and it was a huge relief to get away from the irritation of being around building work! However, I couldn't snorkel in Ensenada, as my throat was so irritated by the dust and my mild asthma was very aggravated, resulting in a horrible panicked feeling. We only found out when we boarded the ship that it was headed to be refurbished in Victoria, Canada, at the end of our cruise, as pallet after pallet of chemicals, paints were loaded at Miami. This meant that much of Deck 12 was covered by these materials, but we thought it wouldn't affect us. How wrong we were - major work lifting decking mats, sanding, filling, levelling decks, priming them, then covering them with self-levelling rubber compound was carried out on Decks 6 and 12, then work was carried out on Deck 11. The final straw for me was the Smoke Stack being worked on, with hammering and insulation materials being ejected from the stack, which billowed around us on the Aft Deck 11 and 12, on tables, food and drinks. Sea days lying around the pool on Deck 11, were spent with sanding going on overhead, with a fine mist of mouldy old paint in the air. Quite a few people felt seriously ill and saw the doctor, while a large number of people had headaches, sore eyes, sinus sensitivity and coughs. NCL should have been honest about their plans, and only after calling a meeting with the Captain, have offered 25% of the price paid, to be used against a cruise if actually started within the next 11 months. I'm unwilling to give more of my hard-earned money to NCL, as their handling of this has been awful and it certainly spoilt much of the holiday. The general staff were good, but I've given service a 'terrible' rating, as the true test of customer service is when things go wrong, and no service was given in relation to our complaints. Healthwise, I'm still coughing now I'm at home - we're very disappointed in NCL as the cruise could and should have been fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was a bucket list trip for us, almost a year in preparation, lots of planning and anticipation. It was also a trip for my 60th birthday, and bittersweet since I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 1 and when I got back home ... Read More
This was a bucket list trip for us, almost a year in preparation, lots of planning and anticipation. It was also a trip for my 60th birthday, and bittersweet since I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 1 and when I got back home from my relaxing trip I would begin my treatments. Well, it was anything but relaxing...heavy construction onboard closed half the pool deck, part of deck 6, yes the lifeboat access deck, the Champs bar, las ramblas tapas bar, the sports bar was closed all day until 5:30 because of construction above it. There was horrible noise and grinding and drilling going on all day. The particulate matter from scraping up the decking went in our food and drinks. It was terrible. Customer service could do nothing, the captain walked out of a meeting after a few minutes claiming the home office said the work had to be done and there was nothing he could do. People were getting stuff in their eyes, people with asthma and other breathing issues were getting sick. The crew did their best and were cheerful and smiling. The ports were good, although I think Corinto Nicaragua needs a lot of improvements before ships come there. We are waiting now for a better offer from NCL, they offered us a 25% of our cruise fare towards another cruise taken within a year. This isn't enough! We paid full price and were not informed of the construction until we sailed. We had no access to a lot of the ship amenities on a very long voyage. This was a disgraceful lack of care by NCL and was obviously just a way to take a ship thru the Canal and make the unwitting passengers pay for the repositioning! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Terrible! I will never book another cruise on Norwegian! Outdoor decks 12 & 6 were under renovation. Closed off areas, grinding, pounding, dust & rock wool flying everywhere & toxic fumes due to new epoxy flooring being ... Read More
Terrible! I will never book another cruise on Norwegian! Outdoor decks 12 & 6 were under renovation. Closed off areas, grinding, pounding, dust & rock wool flying everywhere & toxic fumes due to new epoxy flooring being installed. Champs Bar closed for the duration. Kiddie pool, shuffleboard & golf activities inaccessible part of the trip. Walking/jogging deck closed. Some Muster stations inaccessible. Smoke stack twice blew soot & chunks of ash over the aft deck during breakfast...into our food! Unable to sleep 5 nights in a row due to grinding somewhere outside our room. Numerous complaints to guest services who finally sent someone to our room to listen. Only then, did it stop. Pool was full of dust, rock wool, & ash which was never completely cleaned. We had to clean our own tables because they were always covered in dust & the staff was indifferent. After our stop in Nicaragua, one of our co-travelers started cleaning the pool seating deck because it was filthy. She didn’t want to sit in construction dust & was fed up. Finally, the staff got the hint & finished the cleaning. We saved for a year & paid full price for this cruise which was on our bucket-list. We were not told about the construction until we were on it & were stuck. A total sham by NCL! Since approximately 17% of the ship was unavailable, I expect a 17% refund. Instead, NCL offered us 25% off another cruise which has to be used within a year. Why woulld I do that, & who has the money, or vacation time? It’s an unacceptable offer! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This was a trip of a lifetime. Any positives such as the comfortable rooms, good dining service, decent shore excursions and delicious food was FAR outweighed by the massive construction project that was undertaken during the cruise. ... Read More
This was a trip of a lifetime. Any positives such as the comfortable rooms, good dining service, decent shore excursions and delicious food was FAR outweighed by the massive construction project that was undertaken during the cruise. Major parts of several decks were closed. The fumes from the chemicals they were using were breathtaking (in a bad way). The constant noise from sanders and grinders was agonizing. We took our children with us and they closed the kids pool for the construction. How can you think to close a kids pool on a Caribbean/Mexican cruise during spring break?? We asked to have one of the other hot tubs designated as a family one so the kids could use it and this was not approved. We had to be careful where to eat because of the sanding particles flying everywhere. Restaurants were closed, bars closed, pool closed and decks closed. No one was advised of this beforehand. It was a memorable cruise, however for all the wrong reasons. Our cabin stewards, restaurant servers and shore excursion staff were awesome. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We were looking forward to the cruise from Miami to Los Angeles as a luxurious couple of weeks visiting some exotic ports in Central America as well as going through the Panama Canal. Boarding was relatively quick and easy, taking less ... Read More
We were looking forward to the cruise from Miami to Los Angeles as a luxurious couple of weeks visiting some exotic ports in Central America as well as going through the Panama Canal. Boarding was relatively quick and easy, taking less than an hour. We ate in the buffet while the rooms were being prepared and then wandered around looking at the facilities that seemed quite good. We could get into the cabins at around 2pm and the room was large with a decent size window. The cabin was near the end of a dead-end corridor so that it was very quiet for most of the time although there was sometime a little scraping noise from the restaurant above. The emergency evacuation drill was straightforward, but then I encountered the first problem with bar staff who had no idea how to serve people in the order they arrived. It was like I was invisible as they ignored me and served people who had just arrived. This was a problem with most of the bars throughout the cruise. The only bar which had bartenders that were efficient was at the back of Deck 11. I would say that the bartenders in the Dazzles Bar were particularly surly. Surliness seemed to be a trait of many of the staff on the Norwegian Sun. We spent quite a bit of time playing trivia and other indoor activities because it was near impossible to get a deckchair around the main pool. It seemed as if people dropped towels and other objects on the deckchairs to reserve them early in the morning and they seemed to be empty for a lot of the day. It would be better if the ship policed its policy that deck chairs were not to be reserved. But, like many other things on the cruise, the staff didn’t seem to care. We did a couple of shore excursions through the ship and thought they were expensive and not worth the money. You were crammed onto a completely full bus and couldn’t really hear the guide when we went walking. There always seemed to be a lot of time wasted before we got onto the bus. It was also annoying to have to sign a disclaimer before the bus tour commenced. I would have liked to have been able to read the disclaimer before deciding to do the excursion. We did a day tour from Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala to the Mayan ruins at Tikal. This was the highlight of the cruise. I had wanted to go to Tikal since first going to Mexico in 1984 and I was not disappointed. The excursion was expensive, but it included a one-hour charter flight to Flores, then an hour bus ride to the ruins. We had about 2 hours in the ruins before returning to Flores for lunch and the return flight. I can’t recommend this excursion enough. We met some people on board who had arranged a private tour in Costa Rica which they let us join and we had a fantastic time. The highlights were the crocodiles and the monkeys. The driver pulled off the road and the guide got out, clapped his hands and yelled “Hey Monkey” and the monkeys came. We did a cruise with the crocodiles which was amazing, and later on walked across a bridge and looked down at about 30 crocodiles milling about. The food in the buffet was always plentiful and tasty although it was sometimes difficult to get a seat. The freestyle dining in the main dining room was also very good and we never had to wait long for a table. Now for the negatives. The ship was basically a construction zone as NCL was sanding and resurfacing some of the decks. We weren’t told before departure that they would be working on the ship. They didn’t tell us in advance what would be closed for the day. It was not unusual for half the pool deck to be closed which exacerbated the chronic shortage of deckchairs. We were exposed to lots of particulates in the air from the deck sanding and potential toxic chemicals from the coating put on the deck. There was also a lot of jackhammering and the funnel was cleaned which caused a lot of white stuff to go all over the deck and the passengers sunbathing. Some also went into the outside restaurant which they eventually closed. A lot of the crew seemed to be reflecting the unhappiness of the passengers and some were surly and not helpful. It didn’t help that there were lots of contractors roaming the corridors wearing NCL identification but who were extremely unpleasant. The captain addressed a meeting of several hundred concerned (and angry) passengers where he said that it wasn't his fault and he couldn't do anything about the issues. His first question was from an irate passenger and the captain stormed out to boos. I don't believe that we ever saw him again. This was an absolutely pitiful response from the person supposedly in charge of the ship. It seemed that the Guest Relations staff spent a lot of time writing complaints from passengers. Worst of all, NCL compromised our safety by closing half the muster stations and lifeboats for over 3 days without having a backup evacuation plan. This seems criminally negligent to me and I believe that they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The mandatory evacuation drill became a farce. I asked Guest Relations what the backup plan was, and they said that the closed deck that contained the lifeboats would “probably” be opened. My sister asked and was told that in the event of an emergency the Captain would allocate new muster stations and inform us (no double while he was trying to stop the boat from sinking). Some friends asked and were told to just go to the lifeboats on the other side of the ship that were still open. What a joke. A couple of days before the end of the cruise the Cruise Director, Jasper, told me that my next cruise should be on Carnival. I can assure him that I would probably be happy with any cruise line that does not put my health and safety at risk for the sake of saving money. Their response to date had been inadequate and woeful. It was only after the US media started highlighting the problems with the cruise that NCL offered to credit part of the cruise cost paid against a future cruise. That assumes that I would ever trust NCL again. Don’t waste your money with NCL. Find a reputable cruise line that respects their passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
It was my partners bucket list to see the panama canal. We saved for our once in a lifetime cruise. We will never return to america as we usually cruise the mediterranean. We have used ncl before but never have we had anything like this ... Read More
It was my partners bucket list to see the panama canal. We saved for our once in a lifetime cruise. We will never return to america as we usually cruise the mediterranean. We have used ncl before but never have we had anything like this ship. refurbishment was going on from day one even though the ship was going into dry dock after the end of our cruise. Hazardous dust and fumes were on the ship the whole time during our cruise and the noise from the grinding was atrocious. Everyone on board was coughing and had sore eyes, some went to the medical centre only to be told they would have to pay. I can also say i was disappointed in some of the staff they seem to have lost interest in the clientele they would walk across you in the garden cafe or expect you to move, i have not seen this kind of thing on any other cruises i have done. Perhaps some of them were having to leave due to the dry dock i don't know. (no excuse really when you pay the monies we paid for this cruise) fitness was a nonsence as the running/walking track was not in use. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Just spent a small fortune on a long ago planned trip of a lifetime through the Panama Canal. The ship was undergoing major work during the trip with many areas closed for the entire duration with some rolling closures. The deck areas ... Read More
Just spent a small fortune on a long ago planned trip of a lifetime through the Panama Canal. The ship was undergoing major work during the trip with many areas closed for the entire duration with some rolling closures. The deck areas and casual dining that were open were overcrowded as a result. Often ended up in my room eating. NCL did not advise us in advance nor discount our fares. We paid a huge amount and got a subpar product. The worst of this was that NCL knew that this was happening and the passengers felt tricked into paying for the canal fee so the ship could get over to Victoria to dry dock and complete the work. NCL says the ship was refurbished in 2016 so you wouldn't have expected this. The passengers organized meetings on board and now the press have picked up on this and interviewed some passengers! How could they not have known that this would mess with people's dream trips? Never in my 30 years of travelling and cruising have I needed to follow up and demand recourse after a vacation. The response, or lack thereof, from them has been even more dissapointing. I used to defend and promote NCL to my friends and family. Not anymore! The rooms were cruise small. Shower ridiculously small. Restaurant service and room steward were so nice and helpful. I sure hope they actually get the sujper high gratuities we have to pay. Got drink package and had to pay over c$500 in mandatory gratuities. We didn't even drink that much. What a rip off. Plus you can't even get a can of pop or water with your drink package. I should have ordered a rum and coke and hold the rum so i could get a coke but there was no coke on board. Only pepsi. The shore excursions were expensive for what you got. better to book on your own for the same tour at a fraction of the cost. The ports were interesting but the things of interest in a few were far away and no real beaches at almost all so don't think it's a beachy vacay. Do not go snorkelling in Acapulco. Dirty water and no fish. Go to Antigua Guatemala. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
While service and food was great, the ship was under renovation while we were at sea. Sanding dust and paint fumes bothered the passengers. We NEVER had full use of the ship. Large sections were cordoned off. One restaurant was permanently ... Read More
While service and food was great, the ship was under renovation while we were at sea. Sanding dust and paint fumes bothered the passengers. We NEVER had full use of the ship. Large sections were cordoned off. One restaurant was permanently closed. Safety violations galore such as evacuation deck partially closed, flammable materials stored on deck, exit doors locked. Several passengers indicated that they had respiratory problems stemming from the dust which could have been toxic based on the labels of the containers. Workers wore mask on and off. Looks like NCL saved a few bucks by performing renovatios while cruising with paying passengers instead of in dry dock where the ship will be this week (Vancouver).. Had i known this in advance we would not have Chosen this particular cruise. That‘s a shame because the personnel, the food, the shows and the food were excellent. Seems like the NCL management did not give a hoot about the paying passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
#NCL We are a group of 4 couples from Prince Edward Island, Canada who each booked the March 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Sun. We made our reservations through our trusted travel agent in October 2017. In all of the hours of ... Read More
#NCL We are a group of 4 couples from Prince Edward Island, Canada who each booked the March 2018 Panama Canal cruise on the Norwegian Sun. We made our reservations through our trusted travel agent in October 2017. In all of the hours of research by the 8 travellers plus the travel agency leading up to, and after booking the cruise... we did not discover any mention that construction and renovations were going to interfere with the enjoyment of our vacation. The frequent email communications from NCL failed to disclose the renovation work scheduled to occur during our 16 day trip. We feel betrayed and cheated. We paid full price for a vacation experience promoted by @Norwegian Cruise Lines as having no missing restaurants or bars, no closed pools or walking/jogging decks. We weren't warned of potentially hazardous chemicals being applied to decks and stairs with dangerous fumes cascading onto decks and balconies occupied by very young and old passengers, all completely unaware that choking fumes were about to inundate the area. The noise of grinding, sanding and hammering day and night prevented quiet enjoyment of both public areas and private balconies. Additionally, passengers ...and service staff... were exposed daily to the potentially toxic dust from the sanding and grinding off of the old deck surface paint. While the Bolidt employees were wearing protective breathing apparatus, the winds were covering the tables, bars, decks and people with the smelly, possibly poisonous dust and fumes. While the NCL staff were inundated with concerns and complaints, all they were permitted to do was acknowledge the complaint and pass it on. The renovation work continued. Shame on the NCL management Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We choose this cruise as the ship was supposed to have been refurbished in 2016 and we thought it would be like a new ship. After we boarded we found a letter from Norwegian Cruise Line that there were going to be a few inhancements being ... Read More
We choose this cruise as the ship was supposed to have been refurbished in 2016 and we thought it would be like a new ship. After we boarded we found a letter from Norwegian Cruise Line that there were going to be a few inhancements being done during our cruise. Unfortunately that was a huge understatement as they were doing major construction with hazardous materials and chemicals that made many of us ill. We would never have put ourselves at this kind of health risk. The construction should have been preformed at dry dock where the chemicals and materials could be controlled. There was no regard to the health risks for passengers or crew members. The food was average and there seemed to be many waiters that were in training and not getting our orders correct. The service was very slow. There was a real language barrier that caused many of the service errors. The sports bar served very greasy food. I put 2 paper napkins under the fish I was served and it saturated both of them. We had a drink package and had many comments about how much we ordered. Pretty rude of the bar servers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We have just returned from the "Cruise from HELL" aboard NCL Sun. During our 15 night cruise, there was construction going on. There was insulation blowing around, paint dust blowing everywhere, the muster station doors were ... Read More
We have just returned from the "Cruise from HELL" aboard NCL Sun. During our 15 night cruise, there was construction going on. There was insulation blowing around, paint dust blowing everywhere, the muster station doors were closed off during DAYS of our cruise, the pool area was closed for a few days, sanding the decks, drilling, jack hammering etc from sun up until around midnight EVERY NIGHT. Our cruise was a complete DISASTER!! There was between 15% - 30% of the ship CLOSED on all days! A few of the specialty restaurants NEVER opened during the entire vacation. Many people have been sick with respiratory issues due to the nauseous fumes of the products they have been using while passengers are on board this cruise ship. The Sun is scheduled to be on dry dock for more renovations, but yet NCL chose to also inconvenience its passengers and put us all in danger as many of the Emergency meeting stations were not accessible while they were refinishing the deck floors on deck 6, the meeting deck. STAY AWAY from NCL! They don't care about their passengers...only saving money! This ship was quite old and dated. Many times, there was industrial fans running down the hallways as there were plumbing leaks. The crew did do the best they could during this situation. I particularly enjoyed Victor at the bar deck 11 aft. He was always smiling and trying his best. Room was OK. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Choose this cruise for the ports and Panama Canal transit. Ports were great. Gave us an opportunity to get off that wretched ship. Officers had no leadership. Captain was nowhere to be seen. The only officers on deck on disembarkation ... Read More
Choose this cruise for the ports and Panama Canal transit. Ports were great. Gave us an opportunity to get off that wretched ship. Officers had no leadership. Captain was nowhere to be seen. The only officers on deck on disembarkation were two junior chefs. We have been on 37 cruises now and this has been the worst experience we have ever had. Check Facebook group #PC Sun for more info. I get too upset when I write about it. NCL no more. Most of the full capacity clients will be seeking full refunds through NCL directly, and/or their travel agents. Three impromptu meetings onboard and NCL representatives invited and the captain showed up at the first meeting of over 500 passengers and promptly left to a chorus of boos when he blamed the head office for the construction onboard and offered no information other than it wasn't his fault....thank you Captain....so in review.... Ports of call were great. Food on board was mediocre, line staff wonderful, senior staff and officers, defensive and non committal. entertainment was mediocre at best. Musical entertainment around the ship was great. Buffet had pork loin 4 days in a row, cleaning out the freezer I guess, embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. did not do any shore excursions from the ship, but did private tours in most ports at a fraction of the cost. After this cruise, I do not think I will give them any more business. So I guess , NO , I would not recommend Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
Do not book this ship unless you are looking for a terrible experience. It started with a 3 hour delay leaving the Port of Miami and then being charged tax on all drinks because we were still in Port. Purchased the internet package ... Read More
Do not book this ship unless you are looking for a terrible experience. It started with a 3 hour delay leaving the Port of Miami and then being charged tax on all drinks because we were still in Port. Purchased the internet package ($24.99 per day) only to find out that we could not stream and MBL playoff games. We were told that they were working on the connection and we would be able to stream, never happened. We had a AFT cabin and shook violently for 2 hours, every time we went into Port. We were offered 2 other cabins, the 1st was right next to the elevator, you could hear the dinging of the elevator. And the 2nd, had just re-carpeted and the smell was unbearable. Housekeeping had dirty dish trays and laundry bags outside our cabin everyday. Made coffee in the cabin, after 2 days, I had to place the coffee pot on the corner of the cabinet, with the coffee grinds on top. The cabin stewart took the grids and put the dirty coffee pot back on the burner. Got sucked into a massage on the pool deck and was told 15 mins for $20.00, then when she came back with my card, she said she made a mistake and the price was $25.00. Are you kidding me. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our 69th cruise, but our first AND LAST on NCL! First, they transposed two numbers of our room, and had our credit card registered to another passenger. It took about 45 minutes in line at the embarkation desk to get it straight. ... Read More
This was our 69th cruise, but our first AND LAST on NCL! First, they transposed two numbers of our room, and had our credit card registered to another passenger. It took about 45 minutes in line at the embarkation desk to get it straight. NCL wouldn't even have noticed if I hadn't questioned the clerk about which credit card they had on file. The service and food in the dining rooms were ridiculously poor. The trivia games were a joke, and the ship needs major refurbishing. The excursions were so disappointing and expensive. The air conditioning on our bus in Acapulco was not working well, and it was scorching hot! We all begged the tour guide to take us back to the ship, but he refused and forced us to go to a "mall" consisting of one over-priced shop. In Cartagena, we were in the last carriage and couldn't hear a word on our ear pieces. Then, when we got off the carriage, we looked around and couldn't find a soul from our group! He hadn't told us when or where to meet the bus, and we were frantic! After searching up and down the crowded sidewalk, we finally saw someone we recognized. For the first time ever, I was anxious to get off a ship and go home! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Norwegian Sun Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 3.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 3.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.7
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 3.5 4.1
Value For Money 3.5 3.8
Rates 4.0 4.1

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