News Archive - October 2002

| Tuesday, 01 Oct. 2002

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10-25-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Pacific Princess sails Sunday on her final voyage for Princess Cruises, a 16-night transatlantic crossing from New York to Rome. The 20,636-ton 640-passenger vessel became famous as the "Love Boat" in the popular television series. Built in 1971 as the Sea Venture for Flagship Cruises of Norway, Pacific Princess joined the Princess fleet in 1975. She will be transferred to new owners in Italy.

*** Carnival's newest ship, Carnival Conquest was handed over today at Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy. Following inaugural events at Trieste, the new vessel will sail for the US on Sunday. The 110,000-ton, 2,974-passenger Carnival Conquest is the largest ship in Carnival's fleet. "Family-friendly" amenities on board include an expansive teen recreation center housing a high-tech game room and teen dance club/coffee bar, along with new hands-on science and geography activities, a computer lab, and the largest play area in the Carnival fleet. Beginning Dec. 1, 2002, Carnival Conquest will depart the Port of New Orleans every Sunday on week-long voyages to Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Playa del Carmen/Cozumel.

*** Vancouver's 2002 cruise ship season ended last Sunday when Radiance of the Seas sailed from Vancouver for Honolulu. Radiance had been sailing Pacific Northwest mini-cruises from Seattle in October following her Alaska season. Holland America Line's Amsterdam will be the first cruise ship to arrive in Vancouver in 2003. Amsterdam arrives April 25 to sail two sampler cruises before commencing her Alaska season from Seattle, May 3.

*** Brilliance of the Seas missed calling at St. John last Sunday due to a minor electrical problem with the port propulsion motor. The motor was shut down for repairs on Saturday and Brilliance continued at reduced speed. Repairs were completed Wednesday and the ship continued the cruise as scheduled. Brilliance of the Seas entered service last July. She has an azipod propulsion system and gas turbine engines.

*** Holland America's shore excursions can now be booked and confirmed online for all cruises. Previously passengers could request their shore excursions but could not receive confirmation. With the new system, passengers with a booking number can book and pay for shore excursions using a credit card and receive confirmed tour departure times as early as 60 days prior to sailing and no later than 10 days prior. Passengers who previously requested tours are encouraged to turn their requests into confirmed bookings with the new system. Go to www.hollandamerica.com, click on "Shore Excursions" and fill out the online request form found at the "Book Shore Excursions" line.

*** Windstar Cruises is extending its early booking program through December 31, 2002. Savings of from $200 to $500 per person on 174 cruises in 2003 are now available through Windstar's "Early Booking Savings" and "Advanced Savings Advantage Program". For reservations contact a travel agent or call Windstar at 1-800-258-7245. Visit Windstar Cruises online at www/windstarcruises.com.

*** The QE2 has a wide selection of theme crossings for 2003. The six-day sailings east and westbound between New York and Southampton feature special entertainment ranging from Jazz, Big Band and musical theatre to British Comedy and Filmmaking. For a complete list of Cunard's themed crossings for 2003 see CruiseMates' Theme Cruises page. Back to Top

10-25-02 Princess Loves Carnival: Will Merge! It's official: Princess loves Carnival! In a sweeping reversal of fortune for Royal Caribbean who had been Princess's betrothed for over a year now, at practically the last minute Princess has changed its mind and decided that the Carnival offer is a "much sweeter" deal and has left Royal Caribbean standing at the altar.

The Carnival/Princess merger amounts to a $5.4 billion takeover that allows P&O Princess to remain listed on the London Stock exchange as a separate company. This style of merger, known as a dual-listed company, or DLC, is a new twist on company mergers, the invention of which probably played a big part in getting clearance for the Carnival deal - and in winning the heart of the Love Boat company. Originally, Carnival wanted to buy Princess Cruises outright in exchange for cash and Carnival shares, (meaning Princess would no longer be a separately listed corporation) but it wasn't until Carnival proposed the dual merger deal, very much like the deal Royal Caribbean had agreed to with Princess but at a much richer price, that Princess agreed to go with the Carnival offer instead.

Carnival sweetened the deal during very recent negotiations (in the last two weeks) to increase its offer to Princess shareholders by an addition 300 million pounds ($450 million). That was the icing on the cake that convinced Princess chief executive Peter Ratcliffe to accept the Carnival offer despite the $62.5 million penalty that Princess will have to pay to Royal Caribbean for backing out on the deal they had originally agreed on.

Under the proposed deal, which is not expected to be voted on by P&O Princess shareholders until the first quarter of 2003, the merged company's shares would be 74 percent Carnival's and 26 percent P&O Princess's. Back to Top

10-22-02 Radisson Sets 2003 Bermuda Schedule Radisson Seven Seas Cruises said its all-suite Seven Seas Navigator will become "the first luxury ship to dedicate an extended program of cruises to Bermuda" with its 2003 schedule, and also the first to provide three shipboard overnights at the destination over the weekend (Friday through Sunday). The heart of the schedule includes 11 seven-night roundtrip cruises from New York to Bermuda, with four departures in May, three in June, one in August and three in September, priced from $2,695 per person double. Other Bermuda sailings include two from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, one roundtrip to Bermuda from Ft. Lauderdale, one from Ft. Lauderdale to Hamilton, and one from Hamilton to Palm Beach. Several of the latter cruises include visits to other East Coast ports. Back to Top

10-21-02 New European River Cruise Line Formed Former Viking River Cruises president Rudi Schreiner has formed his own river cruise company, called Amadeus Waterways. He said the company's first vessel, the new 146-passenger Amadeus Symphony, will begin operations in 2003, focusing mainly on the English-speaking market. In addition to a single-seating dining room, a lounge for lectures and entertainment, and a smaller lounge/bar, the vessel will have a sun deck with a pool, walking track and Lido bar; a beauty salon; souvenir shop; fitness center with massage; and an on-board physician. Schreiner plans four itineraries for 2003, including a seven-night Holland/Belgium trip, Rhine/Moselle cruise including Munich, seven-night Danube itinerary with two nights in Prague, and a 14-night Grand Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Their web site, www.amadeuswaterways.com is currently under construction. For more details, contact your travel agent. Back to Top

10-21-02 Silversea Lowers Fares Silversea Cruises makes it possible for more people to cruise on a luxury ship. The company has announced that it has extended its Simplicity Pricing program to include 50 voyages scheduled between January 3 through June 10, 2003. Simplicity Pricing is savings program that allows guests to save up to 50% off the cruise-only fares of Vista and Veranda staterooms. Silversea's 2003 voyages that are now available for savings include the Caribbean, South America, South Pacific, Australia/New Zealand, Mediterranean, and Africa. For reservations, contact your travel agent. For additional information go to www.silversea.com. Back to Top

10-18-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Song of Flower will once again retire for the winter season. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has canceled Song of Flower's first South America cruises due to low bookings. The vessel will be out of service from November 3 2002 to April 14, 2003 when she returns to service in the Mediterranean. Radisson Seven Seas is issuing full refunds to all passengers booked on Song of Flower's 12 South America cruises and providing a Future Cruise Credit of $1,000 per person. Alternative South America cruises are available on segments of Radisson Navigator's circumnavigation of South America which departs December 27, 2002.

*** Princess and Holland America are steering ships away from Indonesia in the wake of last weekend's attack in Bali. Regal Princess will call at Kuala Lumpur and Penang, Malaysia in place of Bali and Semarang on the November 26 Bangkok to Sydney cruise. Volendam will add a sea day October 28 and call at Broome, Western Australia on October 29 in place of Bali on the Singapore to Sydney leg of her circle-Pacifc cruise. Prinsendam will call in Kuala Lumpur on November 5 and 6, in place of Surabaya and Lombok, Indonesia, then sail to Broome on her Singapore to Sydney cruise.

*** Royal Olympic Cruises' Olympia Voyager struck an underwater object off the Greek island of Patmos, October 9, while maneuvering to avoid colliding with another ship. Passengers were transferred to the 11,563-ton Aegean I to continue their cruise. Olympia Voyager is undergoing repairs for minor hull damage in Piraeus. She will be ready to sail the November 7 transatlantic crossing and begin the winter season of cruises from Ft. Lauderdale and Houston. Olympia Countess has taken over Olympia Voyager's seven-night cruise prior to the November 7 sailing. Passengers may cancel their cruise or sail on Olympic Countess and receive a 25 percent discount on any future Royal Olympic cruise. Aegean I has been chartered to take over the Olympia Countess's three and four-night sailings to November 7.

*** The Regatta of newly formed Oceana Cruises, will sail her maiden voyage on July 5, 2003. The 14-night cruise between Barcelona and Dover will be followed by 14-night Northern European cruises. Regatta returns to the Mediterranean in the fall for 10-night Mediterranean sailings before positioning to Sydney via Africa and Southeast Asia. A series of New Zealand Australia/New Zealand cruises between Sydney and Auckland follows in the Winter. Regatta will return to Europe for the summer of 2004. The second vessel will be named Nautica and enter service in the winter of 2003-2004. A third as yet unnamed ship is also planned.

The new vessels are the former R1, R2 and R5 of Renaissance Cruises. Many upgrades and changes are planned notably in the area of cuisine. Oceana Cruises wants food to equal that of Radisson, Crystal, Silversea and Seabourn. Dining will be casual with open seating, a Tapas bar is being added and buffet breakfast and lunch will be available. All bedding onboard will be upgraded and teak will be added to all verandahs and the pool deck. The observation lounge will convert to a jazz and blues club in the evening. An on board enrichment series, computer school at sea, Internet cafe and newly equipped gym will be some of the entertainment on board.

*** Celebrity Cruises has been honored for building the world's first smokeless gas turbine-powered cruise ships. The award was presented at the Shipbuilding, Machinery and Marine Technology International Trade Fair in Hamburg, Germany. Celebrity's Millennium was the winner in the Innovation in Shipbuilding - Passenger Ship category. Millennium's smokeless gas-turbine engines burn a cleaner fuel than traditional diesel, and significantly reduce air emissions by more than 90 percent. They also provide a smooth ride for passengers. Sister ships Infinity, Summit and Constellation employ the same engines and propulsion system. The engines were designed and built by GE Marine Engines.

*** Coast Guard investigators in Alaska now suspect that 40,000 gallons of waste water might have been dumped into Juneau harbor from Ryndam on August 17 instead of the 250 gallons originally reported. It is believed that the substance was being transferred to the Ryndam's number six port side holding tank when the tank overflowed. Holland America is cooperating fully with the investigation. Ryndam features a high-tech system which purifies waste water to near-drinking level potency. Holland America is conducting its own study to determine if any employees were at fault in the incident.

*** Norwegian Sun is the first ship to provide passengers with remote wireless Internet access. The program will expand to the rest of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet by year's end. Wireless access is available 24 hours a day, regardless of the ship's location. Passengers who bring laptops can get a wireless network card to access the Internet and their email in designated locations throughout the ship. Installing the Wi Fi software requires no laptop reconfiguration and takes up no hard drive space once the guest leaves the ship. The Wi Fi network card costs $10 per day and passengers can choose per-minute charges or packages in 33-, 100- and 250-minute increments for as low as 40 cents per minute. Laptop rentals are also available at the ship's Internet Cafe for $35 per day. NCL was also the first cruise line to have an Internet cafe. That was aboard the Norwegian Sky when she debuted in 1999.

*** The new Carnival Conquest will offer golfers a chance to play The White Witch at the Ritz Carlton Resort in Montego Bay, the Cozumel Country Club and Sunrise Family Golf Center on Grand Cayman. A golf professional will accompany golfers on the excursions and will be on board conducting golf clinics and private lessons in the ship's netted and covered "driving range". Lessons are complemented by state-of-the-art "V1" teaching computers that provide split-screen, side-by-side comparisons to top tour professionals. A take-home video re-cap of the lesson, including voice-over analysis by the shipboard professional, are available. Carnival Conquest launches year-round, seven-night cruises from New Orleans December 1. For more on Carnival's fleet-wide golf program visit www.carnivalgolf.com. Back to Top

10-13-02 New Cruise Line Formed Cruise industry veterans Frank Del Rio and Joe Watters, former heads of Renaissance Cruises and Crystal Cruises respectively, have teamed up to form a new cruise line, Oceana Cruises. The company has signed an agreement for a long-term charter agreement with purchase options for up to three R-class ships formerly operated by Renaissance Cruises. Oceana Cruises will be headquartered in Miami with Watters heading up the west coast office in Los Angeles. Del Rio said that the vessels will feature a much higher level of food and service than was offered aboard them in the past. According to industry sources, the first ship will be named Regatta and will sail on Baltic itineraries. starting July, 2003. For additional information, please contact Oceana Cruises in Miami at (305) 789-9390. Back to Top

10-11-02 Weekend Cruise News *** Carnival Conquest will be christened on November 19 in New Orleans, her year-round home port for Western Caribbean sailings. Former U.S. representative from Louisiana, Corrine "Lindy" Clairborne Boggs, will serve as godmother. The 110,000-ton Carnival Conquest will be the largest vessel in Carnvial's 18-vessel fleet. Seven-day cruises begin Dec. 1 from New Orleans, calling at Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Many formal and casual dining options are available on board in venues inspired by Impressionist painters. The two-level formal restaurants are called Renoir and Monet while Restaurant Cezanne is the casual eatery. The decor of The Point supper club depicts works by Georges-Pierre Seurat. Carnival's relationship with Miami Beach's Joe's Stone Crab restaurant continues with the world famous crab claws featured at The Point. Also available are the patisserie, a 24-hour pizzeria, a New York-style deli and Asian and American specialty venues.

*** Four original oil paintings by the Impressionist painters Renoir, Matisse, Monet and Van Gough will be shown in Norwegian Dawn's Le Bistro restaurant. The paintings are on loan from the private collection of Star Cruises chairman, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay. Modern art will also be featured aboard the new ship, which enters service in December. Norwegian Dawn's art collection includes works by Andy Worhol and Romero Britto since the vessel will be based in their home cities, New York and Miami. The 2,240-passenger Norwegian Dawn is a sister ship of Norwegian Star. Both were purpose built for Freestyle Cruising with its varied dining options, expanded entertainment facilities and increased staffing. They feature ten restaurants on board. Dawn will sail alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries round-trip from Miami starting December 21.

*** Silversea has 11 Wine Series cruises planned for 2003. Enjoy lectures, tastings and guided excursions to wineries, cellars and vineyards conducted by top experts and wine makers. Each cruise is hosted by a select winery and wine makers. The Wine Series is available on the following sailings:

  • Silver Cloud: May 15, 2003, 7 nights, Rome- Barcelona; Aug 7, 2003, 10 nights, Rouen-Lisbon
  • Silver Shadow: Jun 2, 2003, 8 nights, Cannes-Valletta; Jul 2, 2003, 9 nights, Istanbul-Marseille; Jul 16, 2003, 7 nights, Barcelona-Rome; Jul 23, 2003, six nights, Rome-Cannes; Jul 29, 2003, 7 nights, Cannes-Barcelona; Aug 24, 2003, 8 nights, Cannes-Barcelona; Sep 8, 2003, 7 nights, Lisbon-Barcelona; Sep 22, 2003, 7 nights, Rome-Marseille
  • Silver Whisper: May 10, 2003, 11 nights, Barcelona-Amsterdam

 

*** Windstar Cruises features new itineraries in the Caribbean in 2003 including two combinable seven-day itineraries between St. Thomas and Barbados aboard the 14,745-ton 308-passenger Wind Surf. On seven-day sailings from Barbados to St. Thomas Wind Surf calls at Bequia, Mayreau, Dominica, St. Barts, and Virgin Gorda. From St. Thomas to Barbados will call at Isla Culebra, Puerto Rico; St. Martin, Iles des Saintes, St. Lucia, and Grenada. At the new port of Isla Culebra, Wind Surf calls at "Isla Chiquita" (small island), where a deluxe beach barbecue is held on Flamingo Beach, recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Western Hemisphere. For 2003 Windstar offers discounts ranging from 35-63% off brochure fares with cruise-only rates starting at $1,663 per person, based on double occupancy, including port charges and taxes. To receive brochures or for more information contact 1-877-827-7245 or visit Windstar Cruises online at www.windstarcruises.com.

*** Carnival has announced new cruises for Carnival Victory from Charleston, SC, and Norfolk, VA in 2003. The 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory will sail two five-day Bahamas cruises from Charleston on June 2 and Oct. 20, 2003 featuring a day-long call at Freeport and a full day and evening in Nassau. Fares begin at $599 per person based on double occupancy. From Norfolk, Carnival Victory will operate a pair of two-day weekend getaway cruises June 14 and Oct. 17, 2003 and six-day cruises, June 8, Oct. 5 and Oct. 11, 2003, which call at Nassau and Freeport. Per-person fares start at $299 for the two-day cruises and $699 for the six-day sailings.

*** The Yucatan Express is a new cruise-ferry service to either Cancun or Merida, Mexico from Tampa aboard the Scotia Prince. The eight-deck vessel carries 1,100 passengers and 200 cars. Entertainment on board includes a casino and duty-free shopping. The new service is operated by Scotia Prince Cruises which has operated sailings between Nova Scotia and Maine for 33 years. Commencing November 22, Scotia Prince sails one-night cruises between Tampa and either Morelos (for Cancun) or Progeso (for Merida). A number of vacation options are available. Fares start at $79 for passengers and $298 for vehicles. Seven-night cruise/hotel packages start at $229. For more information visit www.yucatanexpress.com. Back to Top

10-10-02 Diamond Princess Delayed P&O Princess, parent company of Princess Cruises, said that sailings of the new Diamond Princess have been cancelled through February 28, 2004. As previously reported, the ship recently suffered heavy damage when it caught fire at Mitsubishi Industries' shipyard in Nagasaki, Japan. The ship was originally supposed to be delivered to Princess next spring, and the line had scheduled it for a series of seven-day Alaska sailings out of Seattle during the summer of 2003, followed by seven-day Mexico cruises out of Los Angeles in the fall and winter of 2003. "It will take the yard several weeks to complete the examination of the ship and to determine the full extent of the damage and agree on a final delivery date," the company said. Back to Top

10-8-02 Uniworld Adds New Riverboats Uniworld, which operates a fleet of riverboats in Europe, will add two new vessels in 2003. The River Countess and River Duchess boast an Internet center, spa and fitness center. Cabins are 154 sq. ft and have TV with satellite channels and videos, direct-dial telephone, hair dryers and complimentary robes. River Countess sails on a seven-night cruise from Budapest to the Black Sea Riviera plus a 21-night cruise between Amsterdam and Constanta from the North Sea to the Black Sea. River Duchess sails from Budapest to Nuremburg on a 12-day voyage that includes a three-day stay in Prague. All Uniworld cruises are English-speaking; fares include round-trip airfare from the U.S. and sightseeing. For reservations and additional information, call Uniworld or visit www.uniworld.com. Back to Top

10-5-02 Princess Ready to Talk to CARNIVAL Since the United States Federal Trade Commission announced today that it would not oppose either the DLC combination with Royal Caribbean or Carnival's takeover proposal, Princess Cruises has surprised the cruise world by announcing that the more recent (February 2002) Carnival DLC (Dual listed Corporation - listed in both Britain and US stock markets) offer looks more attractive than the original Royal Caribbean DLC offer. Unlike Carnival's first takover proposal of Princess of a certain amount of cash and shares in Carnival Corp, A DLC with Carnival would allow British shareholders of P&O to retain their shares rather than to sell them during less than ideal market conditions. Bottom line, it looks like rough waters ahead for Royal Caribbean. Back to Top

10-4-02
Weekend Cruise News
*** No word yet from P&O Princess regarding the future of Diamond Princess following a devastating fire earlier this week. The 1,000 people working on board the ship, under construction in Nagasaki, Japan, are all accounted for with no injuries reported. The fire started in a stateroom on deck three where wiring and plumbing work were underway. Reports from Japan indicate 60 percent of the staterooms have been damaged. Diamond Princess was scheduled to commence seven-night Alaska cruises from Seattle on June 15, 2003. Sister-ship Sapphire Princess, under construction at the same shipyard, was not damaged in the fire.

*** For the third week in a row, a hurricane has disrupted cruise travel in the Western Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Lili has forced cruise lines to re-direct vessels away from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Eastern Caribbean ports have replaced Western calls on numerous sailings this week. As Lili blew into Louisiana, Carnival's Celebration and Holiday had to cut short their weekly cruises. Both vessels are departing today, from Galveston and New Orleans respectively, on three-night cruises. The port call in Cozumel has been cancelled. Celebration and Holiday normally sail four-night cruises on Thursdays to Cozumel. Cruise lines are posting updates on itinerary changes on their web sites.

*** Royal Caribbean will take delivery of Mariner of the Seas eight weeks early on October 31, 2003. Mariner will be the line's fifth 142,000-ton Voyager-class vessel and was originally scheduled to sail round-trip from San Juan January 17, 2004 calling at St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Lucia and Barbados. Sister-ship Navigator of the Seas will also be delivered early. The vessel is scheduled for delivery November 18, 2002 instead of January 2003. The early deliveries allow the vessels to sail their inaugural voyages over the popular Holiday season.

*** Crystal has launched a new web site dedicated to its third ship, Crystal Serenity. The site offers a virtual tour of the new vessel, the largest in the Crystal fleet at 68,000-tons and carrying 1,080 passengers. Crystal Serenity will sail the world cruise for Crystal in 2004. As the line expands, watch for more seven-night Crystal cruises in 2004. Visit the new site at www.crystal-serenity.com.

*** San Francisco will be the home port for Celebrity's Mercury on new California Coast and Mexican Riviera cruises in 2003. Following Mercury's 2003 Alaska season, the ship will reposition to San Francisco to sail seven, 10 and 11-night voyages from September 28 through November 17, 2003. The seven-night cruises call at Monterey, Catalina Island and Cabo San Lucas with Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco added on longer sailings. Mercury will then sail 10 and 11-night Mexican Riviera cruises, round-trip from San Diego from November 28, 2003 through March 1, 2004.

*** Carnival Cruise Lines' Inspiration will sail from Tampa every Sunday year-round from December 7, 2002. Carnival has announced a change of ports next May: Ports of call will be Grand Cayman, Cozumel and New Orleans through April 27, 2003, and Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize from May 4, 2003.

*** A new Adventure Art project has been added to Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean kids program. Created by RCI and Crayola, Adventure Art provides children the opportunity to exercise their creativity with crafts such as cultural masks and pottery, while learning about the art, history and culture of the regions they visit on vacation. Kids traveling to the Caribbean create a Mexican Huichol Mask, while those traveling to Europe make a Greek Theater Mask. Alaska cruisers create an Eskimo oil lamp, while South Pacific explorers design Great Barrier Reef aquatic dioramas. Each project is age-specific and supported by a selection of historical and illustrative books to help kids learn while they play.

*** Cruise ship calls at Cartagena will once again be replaced with other ports this season as the U.S. State Department advisory for Americans to avoid travel in Colombia remains in effect. Crystal Cruises announced this week that Crystal Harmony will call at Puerto Limon, Costa Rica in place of Cartagena on her Fall and Winter Panama Canal cruises. Back to Top

10-1-02

Diamond Princess Catches Fire Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess, under construction in the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries yard in Japan, caught fire yesterday Tuesday and suffered significant damage. Scheduled for delivery in May, 2003, the 113,000-ton Diamond Princess burned for 19 hours and suffered 60-70% damage, according to the ship yard. Princess has yet to announce its future plans for the vessel. Back to Top

10-1-02 New Carnival Paradise Itinerary Carnival Cruise Lines has announced that the smoke-free Paradise will sail on a new Caribbean itinerary starting Feb. 23, 2003. The Paradise will sail every Sunday from Miami on seven-day cruises alternating between the western and eastern Caribbean. On its western route, the ship will visit Belize, Isla Roatan, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Eastern Caribbean cruises will call in Nassau, St. Thomas and Casa de Campo. Per person, double occupancy fares begin at $549, including port charges. For reservations and additional information consult your travel agent or visit www.carnival.com. Back to Top

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