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Cruise Ratings
Sail Date: October 2013

Vision of the Seas gleamed after its dry dock in Cadiz. Having never sailed on her, I had no frame of comparison before and after. The understated décor in maroon, purple, and brown is juxtaposed with a full neon spectrum of ... Read More

Vision of the Seas gleamed after its dry dock in Cadiz. Having never sailed on her, I had no frame of comparison before and after. The understated décor in maroon, purple, and brown is juxtaposed with a full neon spectrum of color circling each deck of the Centrum. The artwork leans toward shapeless abstractions. Ironically, it's a ship that seems to lack a clear vision for its identity, but there's also much to recommend.

It’s an easy ship to learn, with large new touch screens in the corridors to help you get from Point A to B, and even view daily Compass activities.

An initial sewerage odor in the aft stair tower dissipated after a day or so.

I heard the average passenger age for this 13-night westbound transatlantic crossing was 67, with about 180 Americans among roughtly 1,600 passengers of many other nationalities.

Lisbon: Loved it. This was my first visit, and I stayed in the Chiado, a few blocks from the river Tagus. It was walkable (hilly) and picturesque, with friendly people. Not all the locals speak English, but with a few key Portuguese phrases and a lot of smiling and pointing, I got by just fine.

Cabin: My balcony cabin (7038) had plenty of closet space and shelves, including a narrow shelving unit in a pristine, brand-new bathroom (unfortunately, they didn’t replace the clingy shower curtains with doors).

Gadget junkies may find the two 110v and two 220v outlets at the vanity problematic. I packed an international adapter and a 3-outlet power strip so I could keep stuff running and charged – and blow-dry my hair simultaneously.

This cabin had a full-length sofa, a comfortable bed with fresh linens, and was so homey I spent many afternoons reading there. TV reception was spotty in mid-ocean.

Crew and Officers: I requested an ice bucket from Marites, my friendly cabin stewardess, with a trade-off on towel animals so as not to create extra work for her. But she did both anyway and took great care of me. The officers were out and about a lot, and crew were friendly and pleasant, particularly R and Schooner bar staff.

Food: In the main dining room, I quickly learned to taste before adding salt. Lobster was never served, but available for $29.95. Escargots were nightly appetizers. I had no luck with beef or pork – always tough and dry. But seafood and pasta dishes were consistently well-prepared. Bread and rolls were always a highlight -- delicious, warm, and with real butter. But I would have liked more whole grains. I enjoyed every dessert I tried.

The Solarium had a new no-charge Park Café featuring fruit, paninis, and quesadillas, great light lunch or afternoon snacks.

The Windjammer buffet had many dinner-style entrees at lunch. With food stations scattered, no trays, and no partner to stake out a table from which to make multiple trips, I found it challenging to assemble a simple burger and fries meal. I found meat and a bun (and fries) at one station, had to go elsewhere for tomatoes, lettuce, etc., then to a 3rd station for condiments, and a 4th station for a drink – juggling a plate and utensils.

Room Service: I ordered breakfast in most days and it always arrived on time, but options are limited. I miss the lox with bagels. An acquaintance in a junior suite told me her fruit plate always had strawberries, but mine never did. Are strawberries following lobsters, only offered to those willing to pay a premium?

Again, the pastries were always fresh and delicious. Too bad those skills can’t translate to the grill stations.

Alternative Restaurants: I believe the 3 specialty restaurants were all new. The weakest link was Izumi, the sushi restaurant. The food was so-so, and the staff kind of clingy. To be fair, it was only their second night in business so they probably hadn't hit their groove, and the place was deserted.

Giovanni’s Table was also dead and they let us walk in on a moment’s whim. The antipasti and pasta were delicious, and the lamb chops were meatier than I’d gotten in the dining room.

Chops was elegant perfection. My companion had buttery-tender filet mignon. My beef short ribs were savory. The large sides, served family-style, created a feast we could barely dent.

Noise: Passengers on Deck 8 complained to the officers at a Q&A session of being disturbed by carts around the pools and buffet on Deck 9 in the wee hours, and blamed the carts' hard wheels. The officers seemed to take serious note of the suggestion to switch to pneumatic tires, so maybe that problem will be corrected. My cabin on Deck 7 was quiet.

Entertainment: This was my 39th cruise, and I attended a few shows with the usual assortment of comedians, singers, dancers, jugglers. Now they’ve got acrobats swinging around the Centrum at odd moments. Live entertainment is not one of my cruise essentials; the ship itself is my destination. One improvement was that all shows for late seating were at 7 p.m., rather than after dinner, so everyone could get a good night’s sleep and still have plenty of time to socialize.

A movie screen above the pool was a dry dock addition, and seemed more an annoyance than an attraction. There were no “movie nights” featuring newer movies you might want to see. Every time I walked by during the day, they seemed to be reshowing "The Wizard of Oz" or some tennis match.

The Centrum has a new R Bar, a stage with room for a 5- or 6-piece band, a large dance floor, and lots of seats. It’s a great place for drinks, live music, and dancing between 6-8:30 p.m., when most ships are particularly dead. But too many nights, the Centrum give way at 8 p.m. to dance lessons for a handful of passengers, forcing the rest of us to watch or flee. Unfortunately, the escape route to the Schooner Bar was also cut off because it got commandeered simultaneously for trivia contests.

Suggestion to RCI: Keep activities with limited appeal and participation OUT of the main public spaces between 6-8:30 p.m.

The Centrum has a new grand marble staircase where I almost broke my neck twice. There’s an “invisible” step on the landing I kept missing. If they don’t mark the edge with colored tape, beware.

Chair Hogs: We had 9 days at sea, and by 9 a.m. at the pool and in the Solarium, maybe 20% of the lounge chairs would be occupied, and the rest covered with towels and personal junk. RCI says they’ll free up vacant chairs after 30 minutes, but I never saw it happen.

Ports: We docked at St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and St. Croix. My favorite was St. Kitts. But this is a ship review.

I love a westbound crossing with many relaxing sea days that keep getting longer, so I arrive home without jet lag. I met some wonderful fellow passengers and had five singularly delightful dinner companions (American, British, and German). I hope to see more of Lisbon soon but, sadly, RCI has no westbound crossings from there in 2014.

Vision of the Seas is on the endangered species list of ships that still feel like ships (acrobats swinging from the Centrum rafters notwithstanding). It’s not so overloaded with gimmicks and passengers that it has the vibe of a land-based mall or an amusement park, where people typically ignore each other. The crew and officers set a gracious tone. If you're looking for a more classic cruise experience, this is a ship where you'll find it.

 

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Sail Date: April 2012
We sailed on the Vision of the Seas April 29 Lisbon to Oslo itinerary. The unusual combination of ports intrigued us did an unbelievably low price. Having already done five Med itineraries as well as Northern Europe/Baltic this ... Read More
We sailed on the Vision of the Seas April 29 Lisbon to Oslo itinerary. The unusual combination of ports intrigued us did an unbelievably low price. Having already done five Med itineraries as well as Northern Europe/Baltic this combination of ports seemed like something different. And it was! Lisbon was a great city to depart from, interesting and full of character. Our other stops included Vigo and Gijon Spain, Portland UK, Zebrugge Belgium and Amsterdam- each one offering something different and unique. In Vigo- we joined a great group of Russians (thank you Kosko from the Roll Call for putting together the transportation at a price substantially below what the cruise ship was offering) on an excursion to Santiago de Compostela. Based on the recommendation of a roll call member we watched the movie "The Way" before we went. It really put things into perspective especially seeing all of the people taking photos in front of the church after having completed the walk. Gijon was a charming city-we just took the complementary shuttle into the center of town and just enjoyed walking around as well as sharing a few pitchers of sangria at an outdoor cafe. (the only really nice weather day) Portland UK is the quintessential English port town- we just explored ourselves. Our friends went to Salisbury and Stonehenge (we had already been before) Zebrugge was great- again Kosko put together a transfer with his Russian friends for 10E pp to Brugge. Brugge is an absolutely stunning medieval town full of lovely sites to visit. Amsterdam was a personal highlight for me. I had always wanted to get to the Keukenhof Gardens for see the bulb gardens and to see the tulip fields. It was glorious- luckily the winter was colder than normal so we hit the bulbs in their prime on May 05th. Now about the ship- we primarily choose our cruises based on itinerary and price. It was our fourth RCCL and we've been on similar Vision class ships before. The inside cabin was exactly the same layout as we had on the Grandeur and the Splendor. It was very clean and well maintained but of course a little bit dated. The food and service were terrific. Having sailed on NCL last year and being completely disappointed in both the food and service, I was concerned that RCCL would be the same. Not so! Entertainment good but the cruise director, while nice, did not seem to have the engaging personality that one comes to expect on a cruise. Very interesting mix of people from all over the world on board made the voyage memorable. The only down side was the weather. Most days were cloudy, breezy and cool. But, given that the forecast had called for 80% chance of rain most days we lucked out. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2012
We boarded Royal Caribbean Vision of The Seas in Lisbon for an 8 day cruise up the western coast of Europe on April 29, 2012. We had arrived in Lisbon several days early and really enjoyed the city. Our ports were Vigo and Gijon in Spain; ... Read More
We boarded Royal Caribbean Vision of The Seas in Lisbon for an 8 day cruise up the western coast of Europe on April 29, 2012. We had arrived in Lisbon several days early and really enjoyed the city. Our ports were Vigo and Gijon in Spain; Portland, UK; Zeebrugge, Belgium; Amsterdam; then ending in Oslo. We enjoyed all the ports and recommend them. Our suite was 8538. The furniture was worn and nicked. Actually, the whole ship needs new furniture. It is tired. The staff and people were all very nice that we came in contact with. Our cabin attendant was excellent. The food in the buffet upstairs was not good, unless you are a fan of powdered eggs. The line for a real egg omelet was usually pretty long. Lunch at the buffet was just OK. There wasn't much variety. Dinner and lunch in the formal dining room was much better. I loved the salad bar option in the formal dining room. Actually, we did love all the ports. But Oslo was a mixed bag. We stayed there 2 nights after we got off the ship. Oslo is beautiful, but EXPENSIVE. We had a bowl of fish soup at the cheapest restaurant we could find that cost $20.00 each. A beer at a moderate place costs $15.00 to $17.00. If you are going to Oslo, take out a second mortgage on your house before you go so you can afford a good meal. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
First off we would like to say overall we enjoyed this cruise even though there were a few problems. The worst issues were the embarkment and disembarkment. As stated previously, this is a transportation mode for Brazilians. Many of the ... Read More
First off we would like to say overall we enjoyed this cruise even though there were a few problems. The worst issues were the embarkment and disembarkment. As stated previously, this is a transportation mode for Brazilians. Many of the cabins were purchased for storage for the Brazilians. Our cabin attendant told us one cabin held 27 pieces of luggage. When we arrived at the port a filled large semi trailer was backed in the area where you hand over your luggage, unloading everything from flat screened TVs to large cargo type containers. After waiting for someone to take our luggage we headed to boarding. The 2 RCCL employees we first encountered had no clue where priority boarding was or other questions we had. We climbed the stairs, asked 2 more people before we found one that could answer our questions. The general boarding line moved more quickly than the priority line did. What a mess, the worst boarding experience we have ever had. Once on the ship things went a lot better. Food in the Windjammer was adequate at the beginning but soon turned toward the majority of peoples tastes which were not ours. We knew we would be the minority so that the way it should be. We did not go hungry. Surprisingly the ship was fairly quiet. We heard horror stories of parties all night and smoking in unapproved areas but, did not find any of that at all. The ports were what you would expect,not real nice and you had to be very careful. Our friends used their ATM card for exhanging money in Salvadore and realized when they got home $1500.00 was stolen out of their account. Luckily the bank will cover. The ship was very clean and staff very nice and friendly. Our cabin attendant Christian was great as with our head waiter Collin and waiter Lokman. The food as I stated above the food was geared more toward the Portuguese and the more we cruise the less choices we find on the menu. I guess everyone is making cuts these days. The ship shape area was very small. Only 8 treadmills for 2300 people. Once in there was enough for us. Disembarkation in Santos moved a lot smoother than we thought but the excursion of Santos to Guarulhos airport through RCCL was a horrible experience. I would not recommend this to anyone. It is better to get a day rate hotel at the airport such as the Marriott and purchase a transfer through the ship which is offered after the 4th or 5th day of sailing for $32.00 us. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
We flew into Lisbon from Gatwick with Easyjet late on Sunday 17th. April. Stayed overnight at the Novotel for a comfortable nights sleep and a very good breakfast. Taxi to the Vision of the Seas around 11.30am. on the 18th..

Quick ... Read More

We flew into Lisbon from Gatwick with Easyjet late on Sunday 17th. April. Stayed overnight at the Novotel for a comfortable nights sleep and a very good breakfast. Taxi to the Vision of the Seas around 11.30am. on the 18th..

Quick and easy embarkation and on board for Windjammer lunch by noon. Stateroom (or cabin as per the direction signs) available promptly as promised at 1.30pm.. The JS on Deck 8 was as spacious as expected with very generous cupboard and drawer space. Whilst very clean, light and airy the JS shows its age. Nothing to detract from its amenities but wear shows up on the chair and settee coverings. The curtains appeared to have been changed but not the pelmet.

My wife's suitcase showed up at 3pm. Cages of luggage came up to deck 8 throughout the afternoon and early evening but not mine. At 9pm. I went to Guest Relations to enquire for my suitcase - yes, I was told, it is on our list of those being held by security on Deck 1. "Why was I not told?" I asked - "you could have left a message on the JS phone." There was no answer to that.

Down on Deck 1 a security man was holding a clip board and looking at around twenty suitcases. "Your case must go through our scanner." "Fine" I said "there is nothing in there that shouldn't be, lets do it." "No these others have to be done first." "You've had the case for six hours." I protested. Very reluctantly he put the case in the scanner. I told the scanner operator "you are looking at a half full 200ml bottle of medication." She agreed and told me I could take the case. I offered to open up the suitcase - not necessary. Again I asked the question "Why didn't I get a message, there is a telephone just behind you?" Again no answer. The unique dimension of Gold Anchor Service. Hold your bag for six hours and make no attempt to tell you. There is not much point in advising Guest Relations if they don't tell you either.

Vision OTS has generous indoor and outdoor seating. The public rooms are all well appointed and sparking clean. With eight lifts there is only a few moments to wait for one.

The cruisers on board were from many countries, including from the Far East, mainly older rather than younger. Crown and Anchor members appeared to be from America or the UK.

The entertainers, especially the musicians, were very good. Any background music was pleasantly restrained.

We used the dining froom for breakfast to avoid the Windjammer crush but otherwise frequented the Windjammer mainly because we don't like long drawn out meals in the dining room.

It has to be said, sadly, that RCI's food is not what it was. Plenty of variety for salads. Chicken, pork, ham and turkey meats were enjoyable. The beef tough and mostly carved the wrong way which made it even tougher. The lamb appeared to be mutton. There was extensive use of commercial catering products. Gravy, for example, for whatever meat appeared to be based on a demi glace reconstituted. However full marks for whoever makes the soup. One day I asked the young chef what kind of fish was on offer - he didn't know what it was - neither did I.

The dining room waiters and cabin stewards unfailingly helpful, friendly and smiling.

We were surprised one day to find a Crown and Anchor crystal block containing a representation of an RCI ship. It must have weighed at least a kilo. We are constrained by air travel weight limits and my wife's disability so we sent it back with a note of appreciation but no thank you.

We are on the Mariner OTS out of Rome later this month and I sincerely hope that by then the promised Gold Anchor Service will apply to baggage handling.

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Sail Date: April 2011
We booked this cruise at the last minute based on price and itinerary. We have done several European cruises and have hit the usual spots, so this was perfect for us since all the ports are rarely visited by any cruise lines. We always ... Read More
We booked this cruise at the last minute based on price and itinerary. We have done several European cruises and have hit the usual spots, so this was perfect for us since all the ports are rarely visited by any cruise lines. We always book a balcony, but this time we opted for a Grand Suite. It is still one room, but is twice the size of a regular balcony.

We also booked the next cruise (back to back) from Southampton to Copenhagen (4 days).

We stayed 2 nights in Lisbon at the Tivoli Lisboa, which turned out to be a great choice. This nicest part was the lovely secluded pool and gardens behind the hotel...a real oasis!!

The Vision of the Seas is an older boat, and so lacks the megaship things like multiple pay restaurants, ice rinks etc. However, it is well maintained and as long as you don't crave all the extras then it does the trick. There is just the main dining room (2 levels) and the buffet for dining. We chose anytime dining which is served on the top starboard side of the dining room. They are very accommodating and will try to get you the same table, and waiter each night. We found the service and quality of food pretty good. Special thanks to Savio, Arthur and Vijay who really added to our dinner experience. Also Effey the head waiter was great and efficient. Oddly enough there were a couple of nights where the menu was sort of dull, and yet the buffet (Windjammer) had much better options (e.g. lamb shank)...not sure why that was?

Being in a suite we had access to the "Diamond Lounge" event from 5:30 to 8:30 each night in the Viking Crown Lounge (on larger ships I believe they have a concierge lounge which offers a complete open bar and appetizers). This was great since you get the best seat in the house, free wine/beer, and a chance to meet other cruisers. Since the ship was only about 2/3 full there was lots of room and great service. The bartender Gilberto Smith was the best, and Isabella the waitress was perfect...we miss them both! The free wine was great since drinks are verrrry expensive on the ship, and RCL will not let you bring ANY wine on board (unlike most other cruise lines). RCL should lighten up on the wine at least and allow you to bring a couple of bottles on board - or lower their prices. We did buy a wine package before we sailed that worked out to about $35 per bottle (Platinum package).

As I mentioned, this cruise was pretty cheap. However there were several instances where it was obvious that RCL was doing their best to boost revenues any way they could. One instance was charging passengers for transfers from the ports (which are mostly industrial)....there was no choice, so a lot of people were upset about that. I realize that these sorts of cruises are a great deal overall, but maybe RCL should think about raising the base cost a bit to avoid leaving staff and customers in an awkward situation.

The last 4 days from Southampton to Copenhagen was sold out, and a lot of the crew from Brazil seemed to leave. Needless to say, things did not go smoothly at all, and I felt really sorry for waiters and bartenders who felt the wrath of the new cruisers. If this had been the only cruise we did I doubt we would have ever gone on RCL again. Hopefully they have worked out the kinks by now.

Entertainment was predictable. We really enjoy listening to live music in the lounges, by the pool etc. They had a great Reggae band but they had a hard time with the weather by the pool...it was usually chilly once the ship left port. The other music was a bit of a letdown - there HAVE to be lots of really talented musicians out there????

Overall we had a great time, and although the problems on the last 4 days were unfortunate they did not spoil our vacation by any means.

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Sail Date: April 2011
My husband and I along with another couple traveled from Lisbon to Southampton in April. The itinerary was lovely (Bilbao, Spain - WOW)and the ship was in pretty good condition. We are Emerald with the Crown and Anchor Society and were ... Read More
My husband and I along with another couple traveled from Lisbon to Southampton in April. The itinerary was lovely (Bilbao, Spain - WOW)and the ship was in pretty good condition. We are Emerald with the Crown and Anchor Society and were truly disappointed by the service issues on this boat. The staff were not typical of RCCL. Most problems were related to the main dining room.

One afternoon at lunch they forgot to take our order! We were seated at 1:20 and enjoyed salad while chatting... We finally asked for menus, gave our orders and then a group of staff returned to say the kitchen was closed. Ooops! Dinner service was slow. Items were mixed up, requests were overlooked. The food was not good. Malt Vinegar was served as a salad dressing? Wait staff (including head waiter) did not understand food allergy issue - not usually a big problem.

Other small issues: Water for room took 48 hours and a telephone call for delivery. Twice our laundry was not delivered on time (2 more telephone calls). Cafe Lattitudes had soymilk but it was frozen. Disembarkment was a mess - as a result our tour left 30 minutes late. Each item was a small issue but our disappointment was cumulative.

We also took along another couple who were new to cruising. Fortunately, they got a great price and did not have any comparison. It was embarassing for us but we told them this experience was an exception. A final note - All Four of Us Arrived Home with the Flu! We do not know others who are sick and our only contact with the other couple was dinner every night. We strongly suspect that we got sick from the boat!

As a side note, on board entertainment and activities were truly boring. Nothing new on this ship! Lots of elevator music - very, very dated. Fortunately, this was not a high priority for us.

I hope those cruising on Vision in the near future got a good price and/or have low expectations! So sad... This cruise was definately not up to RCCL standards!

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Sail Date: November 2010
Where to begin: from start to finish, our 14 day trans-atlantic voyage last fall on RC's "Vision of the Seas" was not very visionary!!! There was neither signage nor RC personnel stationed outside the terminal pierside in Lisbon on the ... Read More
Where to begin: from start to finish, our 14 day trans-atlantic voyage last fall on RC's "Vision of the Seas" was not very visionary!!! There was neither signage nor RC personnel stationed outside the terminal pierside in Lisbon on the early afternoon of 30 Nov 2010 which contributed mightily to the confusion of the Portuguese-speaking masses milling around in the rain, even though there were quite obviously 2 RC ships tied at opposite ends of the long pier.

Once on board it quickly became apparent that this RC voyage should have been advertised as an expeditious/low cost ferry boat service for 2,000-odd Brazilian expatriots heading home to the New World for the holidays/or emigrating Portuguese leaving behind the financial chaos on the Iberian peninsula (with all their worldly possessions). (Our female cabin steward noted that many of the extended Portuguese-speaking families under her care had rented a couple cabins, one for all their steamer trunks/luggage/worldly possessions, and one to crash in. Think: 10 bags per person!)

Although the Vision had been in dry dock in Lisbon for an "Extreme Makeover" for approx 2 weeks prior to our 30 Nov departure, it would appear that the RC administative staff must have "pencil-whipped" everyones' passport/visa paperwork prior to sailing. Half way to Brazil, we were notified by the "my time dining" head waiter on deck 5 that our dining options were being severely constrained since half of his kitchen and wait staff were confined to their staterooms by on board Brazilian customs/immigration officials for "paperwork irregularities". In fact, 125 crewmembers were summarily escorted off the ship at our first port of call, Recife, and promptly deported! Likewise, we'd typically depart for breakfast mid-morning, and alert our overworked cabin steward that she could make up our room, but it was rarely made up before mid-afternoon.

Unfortunately, two elderly, fellow passengers were severely injured dockside in the rundown port of Recife, in a freak accident adjacent to the ship, on the afternoon of 9 December 2010 (a "tort lawyer's wet dream"). A strong/rogue gust of wind had rushed down the length of the pier a few minutes before our return to the ship and dislodged a pair of 15' high, heavy, steel warehouse doors right off their track. The huge doors fell halfway across the width of the 30' pier, crushing the pair. We left them behind in a 3rd World intensive care facility. (It could have been any one of us!)

From this point on, following the forced departure/DEPORTATION of the English speaking Broadway-style singers and dancers in Recife as well, the evening's entertainment in the main Masquerade Theater was always in the Portuguese language ONLY. (The 200-odd English speaking passengers had to be content with a movie after the show.)

For whatever reason, the enrichment/destination lecturer was a Brazilian engineer whose 3 offerings were limited to all things pertaining to Ancient Egypt! I'd imagined presentations on Portuguese explorers, the flora and fauna of the Amazon, Brazilian history etc, but it wasn't meant to be. (I'm guessing the lecturer had just come off an RC Eastern Med cruise and simply needed a free ride home!)

Until I personally drafted a letter to the cruise director following our departure from Salvador, a "live" port lecture had never been offered on this cruise. I believed that the English-speaking minority on board deserved some "straight talk" on what to expect ashore in Rio, whose poorer suburbs had just been cleared by a joint police/army armored task force. The very next day a Rio native was drafted from the Purser's office for a Q & A presentation in a minor ship's lounge. (From dawn to dusk, beginning with the Brazilian cruise director's Portuguese language ONLY morning presentation on the ship's closed circuit TV, the English speaking passengers were pretty much ignored/left to fend for themselves!)

The final straw: our scheduled 0730 disembarkation from the ship in Santos on 14 December 2010, was delayed 2 full hours by Brazilian customs (or RC screwups), which impacted our scheduled tour of Sao Paulo w/lunch! All in all, it was the proverbial cruise from hell!!!

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