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nordski

Barcelona to Greenwich 28/05/19: Excellent Itinerary, Outstanding Cruise

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This itinerary is, I believe, rather rare since it primarily functions as a repositioning cruise. It deserves serious consideration.

 

Itinerary Highlights: 

1/ You experience 4 cultures and several weather zones. 

2/ On this particular cruise, the goal of destination immersion was met with overnights offered in Lisbon, Rouen, and Greenwich.

3/ Two sea days provided a welcome change of pace.

4/ Sailing up the Thames River in the early morning rain was incredibly atmospheric.

5/ Greenwich is a very engaging final port and provides a unique disembarking experience, although it may well have created some issues for those with mobility issues.

6/ In virtually all the ports we were aware of the early links to Africa, the Far East, North America or within Europe itself.

7/ Emphasizing those links, the Azamazing Evening in Lisbon presented two very different rhythm styles: a rather martial one from Portugal and then dance beats from Africa. A fascinating juxtaposition.

 

Cruise Highlights:

1/ We thought the crew, and the service provided, was outstanding. One of our best experiences on board.

2/ Most will be familiar with the great leadership of Eric and Heike. In Eric’s case, because of a family crisis, he was working without an Assistant Cruise Director.

To us the guest entertainers, the dancers and singers, and the musicians were generally of a high standard.

3/ As usual we thought the food available at all the venues was both impressively varied and well prepared.

4/ Our fellow cruisers were some of the friendliest we have met. Save a few they were, as usual, sophisticated travellers

 

Room for Improvement:

1/ Despite the increased and appreciated attention to dietary intolerances, there were a few slips in communication as one changed venues from day to day. In a few cases, the orders registered from the previous day seemed not to have been  passed on. Always resolved satisfactorily, but at times there was a delay in service.

 

2/ On a lighter note, one day an item called a “Canadian Butter Tart” made its appearance in Windows. The only connection it shared with an authentic Canadian creation was that it had a pastry shell and a filling.

You may doubt my expertise in this area, but my wife has a Home Economics degree from a reputable Canadian University. When I described the filling to her she could only  exclaim, “No, no, no, no!”

The butter tart is a unique Canadian creation and must be respected as just part of  our amazing but underestimated contribution to world cuisine 😄

I’m offering our services to rectify this mistake. Until then, avoid this choice! 

 

In summary, one of our favourite cruises!

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It sounds like a wonderful cruise nordski...except for the Butter Tart! 

Sorry Greenwich provided an example of our British Summer for you though. 

 

By the way, I watched a new episode of Indpector Montalbano on catch up TV last night. It was fantastic. 😄

Edited by Lottie A
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I would agree with your assessment Nordski. This was the second leg of a back to back for us and both were good. 

 

We found the entertainment to be light years ahead of our experience last December on the new sister with all involved very much working as a team - even when we were one singer down on the first leg and the Assistant CD down on the second they all just stepped up and filled the gaps with a smile. 

 

We also found that smiles were much more pervasive through all the staff than last December and a much better can do attitude was everywhere. 

 

We had not sailed with Chef Michael before- we really liked his style, he was a delight to talk with and seasoning was exactly where we wanted it. We know some complaints were that it needed far more salt but I think the chef had it right, you can always add it at the table you cannot take it out. Every meal apart from one poor night at the Patio was perfect, properly cooked and served at the right temperature. The Patio on all the ships is still inconsistent and we wonder if they need to revisit which staff are used there as it is not always reaching the potential and talking to others it’s reputation is mixed. 

 

There were some new red wines- I’m not a red drinker but the other half said they were very good especially the Malbec. 

 

A few blips- Land Discoveries as usual over priced and did not deliver but we had to use OBC somewhere. 

 

Rouen wasn’t great in that the shuttle service was intermittent, it was heavy rain and there was no shelter or seating at the town pick up -  not great with a 45 minute wait. Also it was not easy to access the Tall Ships as marketing lead you to believe- so you either had a 40 minute walk from the ship or 20-30 minutes walk from the shuttle drop off. 

 

Never did get to the bottom of the late itinerary change re Rouen or why we crawled across the Channel at a snails pace but that’s not the fault of anyone onboard 

 

Our conclusion was it was a very good cruise and (accepting others may have different perspectives) Journey was a far far superior experience to Pursuit. One day though we will recheck Pursuit. 

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3 minutes ago, uktog said:

I would agree with your assessment Nordski. This was the second leg of a back to back for us and both were good. 

 

We found the entertainment to be light years ahead of our experience last December on the new sister with all involved very much working as a team - even when we were one singer down on the first leg and the Assistant CD down on the second they all just stepped up and filled the gaps with a smile. 

 

We also found that smiles were much more pervasive through all the staff than last December and a much better can do attitude was everywhere. 

 

We had not sailed with Chef Michael before- we really liked his style, he was a delight to talk with and seasoning was exactly where we wanted it. We know some complaints were that it needed far more salt but I think the chef had it right, you can always add it at the table you cannot take it out. Every meal apart from one poor night at the Patio was perfect, properly cooked and served at the right temperature. The Patio on all the ships is still inconsistent and we wonder if they need to revisit which staff are used there as it is not always reaching the potential and talking to others it’s reputation is mixed. 

 

There were some new red wines- I’m not a red drinker but the other half said they were very good especially the Malbec. 

 

A few blips- Land Discoveries as usual over priced and did not deliver but we had to use OBC somewhere. 

 

Rouen wasn’t great in that the shuttle service was intermittent, it was heavy rain and there was no shelter or seating at the town pick up -  not great with a 45 minute wait. Also it was not easy to access the Tall Ships as marketing lead you to believe- so you either had a 40 minute walk from the ship or 20-30 minutes walk from the shuttle drop off. 

 

Never did get to the bottom of the late itinerary change re Rouen or why we crawled across the Channel at a snails pace but that’s not the fault of anyone onboard 

 

Our conclusion was it was a very good cruise and (accepting others may have different perspectives) Journey was a far far superior experience to Pursuit. One day though we will recheck Pursuit. 

Just to reiterate what I posted in January, our experiences on Pursuit's Christmas/New Year and Antarctica cruises were every bit as good as on the May 28 Journey cruise just completed.  Pursuit was just fine as far as the four of us were concerned.

 

Agree with the comments re Rouen shuttle, tall ships, etc.

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49 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

It sounds like a wonderful cruise nordski...except for the Butter Tart! 

Sorry Greenwich provided an example of our British Summer for you though. 

 

By the way, I watched a new episode of Indpector Montalbano on catch up TV last night. It was fantastic. 😄

 

Thanks for the comments.

 

It might have been a bit disappointing not to experience an element of a British Summer. There were parts of the Thames where the oppressive atmosphere rather reminded me of the setting of a Dickens novel. But I'm certain that reflects a rather a limited exposure to England.

 

We met cruisers who reside in Gloucester and they introduced us to the phrase "Flaming June". Too polite to ask if this was a euphemism for rather stronger and saltier language, research tells me that is not the case. But I dare not use it in Canada. 

 

I still regret that I was napping while you were enjoying Mosaic last spring. Perhaps our cruise paths will cross again. I understand that you will have more leisure time in the future 🙂.

 

The Montalbano presence on Canadian TV is intermittent and infrequent. That is frustrating.

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1 hour ago, uktog said:

I would agree with your assessment Nordski. This was the second leg of a back to back for us and both were good. 

 

We found the entertainment to be light years ahead of our experience last December on the new sister with all involved very much working as a team - even when we were one singer down on the first leg and the Assistant CD down on the second they all just stepped up and filled the gaps with a smile. 

 

We also found that smiles were much more pervasive through all the staff than last December and a much better can do attitude was everywhere. 

 

We had not sailed with Chef Michael before- we really liked his style, he was a delight to talk with and seasoning was exactly where we wanted it. We know some complaints were that it needed far more salt but I think the chef had it right, you can always add it at the table you cannot take it out. Every meal apart from one poor night at the Patio was perfect, properly cooked and served at the right temperature. The Patio on all the ships is still inconsistent and we wonder if they need to revisit which staff are used there as it is not always reaching the potential and talking to others it’s reputation is mixed. 

 

There were some new red wines- I’m not a red drinker but the other half said they were very good especially the Malbec. 

 

A few blips- Land Discoveries as usual over priced and did not deliver but we had to use OBC somewhere. 

 

Rouen wasn’t great in that the shuttle service was intermittent, it was heavy rain and there was no shelter or seating at the town pick up -  not great with a 45 minute wait. Also it was not easy to access the Tall Ships as marketing lead you to believe- so you either had a 40 minute walk from the ship or 20-30 minutes walk from the shuttle drop off. 

 

Never did get to the bottom of the late itinerary change re Rouen or why we crawled across the Channel at a snails pace but that’s not the fault of anyone onboard 

 

Our conclusion was it was a very good cruise and (accepting others may have different perspectives) Journey was a far far superior experience to Pursuit. One day though we will recheck Pursuit. 

 

Thanks for the additional comments. 

 

It would have been preferable to have a secondary shuttle shop to provide closer access to the Tall Ships. Perhaps that wasn't practical. It was a long walk from the shuttle stop near the Cathedral. 

 

We find The Patio fairly consistent, but one of the problems with a pre-arranged meal was at that venue. However, that may have been the responsibility of the Discoveries Head Waiter who took the order and assured us that it was not a problem. 

 

I didn't mention that, as usual, Eric's presentation on the inner workings of the entertainment system is always worthwhile. We also had a dinner with the Staff Captain and it was also really instructive.

 

The Staff Captain is introducing a policy encouraging more officers to meet in this manner with cruisers. I hope everyone will eventually get a chance to take advantage.

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1 hour ago, marinaro44 said:

Just to reiterate what I posted in January, our experiences on Pursuit's Christmas/New Year and Antarctica cruises were every bit as good as on the May 28 Journey cruise just completed.  Pursuit was just fine as far as the four of us were concerned.

 

Agree with the comments re Rouen shuttle, tall ships, etc.

 

Good to hear.

 

We have a voyage on Pursuit this autumn.

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1 hour ago, marinaro44 said:

Just to reiterate what I posted in January, our experiences on Pursuit's Christmas/New Year and Antarctica cruises were every bit as good as on the May 28 Journey cruise just completed.  Pursuit was just fine as far as the four of us were concerned.

 

Agree with the comments re Rouen shuttle, tall ships, etc.

I think we have to agree to differ on this.  November/December on Pursuit caused us to reconsider whether Azamara could deliver to our expectations.  This was not a view unique to us.  However, lets move to the positive, Journey was in a different league and restored our faith that our expectations are not unrealistic and that Azamara can deliver it.

I should add, whereas our stateroom attendants (we had three different attendants across the three cruises) on Pursuit were mediocre at best), the delightful Lyric and Hosanna on Journey really were excellent  

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4 hours ago, uktog said:

I think we have to agree to differ on this.  November/December on Pursuit caused us to reconsider whether Azamara could deliver to our expectations.  This was not a view unique to us.  However, lets move to the positive, Journey was in a different league and restored our faith that our expectations are not unrealistic and that Azamara can deliver it.

I should add, whereas our stateroom attendants (we had three different attendants across the three cruises) on Pursuit were mediocre at best), the delightful Lyric and Hosanna on Journey really were excellent  

Yes, I don't doubt for a minute that you had issues on those three Pursuit cruises.  But four of us found everything to be fine on the two following cruises.  Our two room stewards were superb.  Waiters were as good and personable as ever on Azamara.  Officers, Carl and Elisabeth in particular, were visible and available.  Housekeeping management was all over our issue with cold Antarctic air chilling our suite, bringing in maintenance and the ship's joiner who taped one of the sliders to stop cold air infiltration.

 

Perhaps Elisabeth and restaurant management had sorted the absence of the Brit f&b manager who left Azamara without giving notice, leaving Elisabeth high and dry on her first cruise segments as hotel director, and things thusly changed for the better by the time we boarded.  I just think you are being unfair to Pursuit's officers and crew by hoping things will improve by some unspecified date.  Things were typical of Azamara by my standards on our 37th and 38th Azamara cruises, starting on 12 December 2018.

Edited by marinaro44

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We too had a great cruise. The food was outstanding and the best we’ve had in 20 cruises with various lines, service was also excellent in every aspect, in particular for me as a wheelchair user it was nice to have staff come and offer help in the buffet to carry a plate or reach something without having to ask, small things can make such a difference.

 

I would agree on the shuttles in Rouen, I was told by guest relations that we had been “bumped” from our original location and should have been located next to the tall ships, it was however a big oversight by the ship not to provide a shuttle with two drop off points. There were also no taxis at Rouen, like there usually are at other ports, but to compensate for the lack of an accessible vehicle the ship stepped up and organised a taxi for us to go and see the cathedral with a return two hours later, we paid €80 for this and were reimbursed which I thought was good, I did really want to see the tall ships though so that part was a bit of a let down.

 

We had issues in our cabin on the first day, a toilet seal very badly leaking, air con issue and a loud banging, also the heating pad that I’d put so much effort into getting permission for didn’t work (although it had worked in Barcelona) Rob and Heike dealt with everything, fixing the leak and the air con and providing a solution to the noise. The electricians looked at the heating pad and couldn’t work out why it came on but didn’t heat up and so Rob offered to try and find one and enquired at several different ports to no avail, the important thing is though he tried and went over and beyond what was expected as I never would have asked for that. Towards the end of the cruise the shower leaked into the wardrobe causing a terrible smell and damage to clothing, but again this was quickly fixed and we were compensated at Rob’s insistence without having to complain, great customer service. Issues can happen but it’s how they are dealt with that’s important.

 

Some ports certainly presented a challenge to get off the ship but the assistance staff were wonderful and getting off at Greenwich was ok, by then I trusted those guys would do everything they could to help and it all went smoothly.

 

Can’t wait for next time! 😀

 

 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, marinaro44 said:

Yes, I don't doubt for a minute that you had issues on those three Pursuit cruises.  But four of us found everything to be fine on the two following cruises.  Our two room stewards were superb.  Waiters were as good and personable as ever on Azamara.  Officers, Carl and Elisabeth in particular, were visible and available.  Housekeeping management was all over our issue with cold Antarctic air chilling our suite, bringing in maintenance and the ship's joiner who taped one of the sliders to stop cold air infiltration.

 

Perhaps Elisabeth and restaurant management had sorted the absence of the Brit f&b manager who left Azamara without giving notice, leaving Elisabeth high and dry on her first cruise segments as hotel director, and things thusly changed for the better by the time we boarded.  I just think you are being unfair to Pursuit's officers and crew by hoping things will improve by some unspecified date.  Things were typical of Azamara by my standards on our 37th and 38th Azamara cruises, starting on 12 December 2018.

I've written here that I too was disappointed with PR in December 2018 and January 2019. It definitely wasn't helped by the resignation of the F & B Manager, but there were other service failings too I came across.  Happily I further reported here that it is now chalk and cheese on the ship, having done three further sailings since then and six in total since she was launched. I'd sail on Pursuit again in a heartbeat. Now if only if they'd had a working rowing machine in the gym it would have been perfect! Lol 

 

Phil 

 

 

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10 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I've written here that I too was disappointed with PR in December 2018 and January 2019. It definitely wasn't helped by the resignation of the F & B Manager, but there were other service failings too I came across.  Happily I further reported here that it is now chalk and cheese on the ship, having done three further sailings since then and six in total since she was launched. I'd sail on Pursuit again in a heartbeat. Now if only if they'd had a working rowing machine in the gym it would have been perfect! Lol 

 

Phil 

 

 

That is good to hear.

I felt as I had called into question the value of the Azamara onboard product based on my Pursuit experience it was appropriate to reference in my review as Journey was also chalk and cheese away from how we were looked after on Pursuit.  I also had the opportunity to meet with officers from both ships when Journey and Pursuit docked together in May and those from Pursuit were extremely quick to raise and acknowledge the issues from late 2018.

 

Anyway, lets focus on the good news, Journey hit all the right buttons for me this time and from the comments of others here, that was consistent even when others experienced issues -again Rob is an excellent GR Manager which was not universally reported from some interfacing with the equivalent role holder on the little sister.

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Like Phil, we would also sail on Pursuit in a heartbeat . . . and have booked three cruises on Pursuit this year. ☺️

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It was a wonderful cruise. Food was good to excellent.  Our one somewhat disappointing meal was in Prime C.  Might have been just an off night.  Loved that there were really good vegetables on the main dishes in Discoveries.

 Eric and his entertainment staff were great.  White Night was so much fun!  We also had the privilege of having Lyric and Hosannah take care of us and our cabin.

The D-Day beaches and remembrances were the highlight for us.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m so glad to read the positive reviews of this cruise! Thank you to nordski for the report, and to uktog for seconding his high opinions.

As I watched the DDay coverage on television I wondered about the cruise and all of you.

I’m also happy DebbieMacG was well looked after. I know she had many pre-cruise questions esp. re. possible embark and disembark issues due to limited mobility.

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12 hours ago, Baynanno1 said:

Like Phil, we would also sail on Pursuit in a heartbeat . . . and have booked three cruises on Pursuit this year. ☺️

I am so pleased to hear that as we have our next cruise on Pursuit in October. The most recent Pursuit review listed in the Review section of CC is really disappointing, especially as the reviewer had the same cabin that we have booked and had to be moved due to a scraping, metallic noise! I am wondering if we should try and move to another cabin now or wait and see if we experience the same problem.

Lynne 🤔

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Just now, Literary Lynne said:

I am so pleased to hear that as we have our next cruise on Pursuit in October. The most recent Pursuit review listed in the Review section of CC is really disappointing, especially as the reviewer had the same cabin that we have booked and had to be moved due to a scraping, metallic noise! I am wondering if we should try and move to another cabin now or wait and see if we experience the same problem.

Lynne 🤔

Just goes to show.  I was in 6069 (having moved from two cabins on the other side where I suffered noise) and it was one of the quietest I have had and would stay in that area again. 

 

Phil 

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13 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Just goes to show.  I was in 6069 (having moved from two cabins on the other side where I suffered noise) and it was one of the quietest I have had and would stay in that area again. 

 

Phil 

We had noise in our cabin that seemed to be coming from one corner, we were told it was engine noise but it was louder than we’ve experienced before, the senior housekeeper admitted it was louder than usual. We thought it came from a server room that has been previously mentioned in a review of cabin 4035 but were told that was too far away. The problem was it was making the metal wall vibrate and thus the metal of the headboard and was making it impossible to sleep as the pillows then rested on the headboard. Hannah came up with this idea and the creation of a sound barrier totally solved the problem when sleeping. It’s basically lots of bolsters from the bed wrapped in sheets. We eventually got accustomed to the noise when just “in” the cabin. 

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8 hours ago, BBMacLaird said:

I’m so glad to read the positive reviews of this cruise! Thank you to nordski for the report, and to uktog for seconding his high opinions.

As I watched the DDay coverage on television I wondered about the cruise and all of you.

I’m also happy DebbieMacG was well looked after. I know she had many pre-cruise questions esp. re. possible embark and disembark issues due to limited mobility.

Thanks Bonnie, the team onboard were wonderful and couldn’t have been more helpful.Thanks also for your help before the cruise.

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1 hour ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Just goes to show.  I was in 6069 (having moved from two cabins on the other side where I suffered noise) and it was one of the quietest I have had and would stay in that area again. 

 

Phil 

Thanks Phil. Maybe there are lots of noise problems if you already had to move from two other cabins and Debbie had a similar problem, with that ingenious solution! We are booked in 4040, the cabin that the reivewer had to move from. Not sure that he had any problems in 6069. I think we will wait and see what we encounter on board.

Lynne 😀

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1 hour ago, DebbieMacG said:

Thanks Bonnie, the team onboard were wonderful and couldn’t have been more helpful.Thanks also for your help before the cruise.

Debbie, am I right in assuming you were unsuccessful in your upgrade bid?

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

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2 hours ago, Literary Lynne said:

Thanks Phil. Maybe there are lots of noise problems if you already had to move from two other cabins and Debbie had a similar problem, with that ingenious solution! We are booked in 4040, the cabin that the reivewer had to move from. Not sure that he had any problems in 6069. I think we will wait and see what we encounter on board.

Lynne 😀

To be honest i had more issues with noise from below on the other side, mirror image. Galley to MDR as opposed to other side above the seating area of the same. I'd go odd numbers around there and think you'll be fine. 

 

Phil 

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On 6/12/2019 at 11:15 AM, marinaro44 said:

Just to reiterate what I posted in January, our experiences on Pursuit's Christmas/New Year and Antarctica cruises were every bit as good as on the May 28 Journey cruise just completed.  Pursuit was just fine as far as the four of us were concerned.

 

Agree with the comments re Rouen shuttle, tall ships, etc.

Just off Pursuit. Fabulous cruise.

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19 hours ago, SkystheLimit said:

We also had the privilege of having Lyric and Hosannah take care of us and our cabin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these references to Lyric & Hosanna are bringing back good yet bad memories (if that makes any sense) from our shortened cruise on Journey in April.

They were doing a fantastic job as our cabin attendants when our cruise got cut short due to a death in the family back home. They were very helpful and gracious in helping us get our luggage off the ship and to a taxi so we could fly home from Charleston.

 

We were enjoying ourselves very much only to have our cruise cut from the expected 11 nights down to 3.

It may sound strange, but I have not only been grieving the loss of my Father, but also for the loss of our cruise that we had anticipated for so long.

I keep telling my wife we need book another Azamara cruise as part of the healing process.

 

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19 minutes ago, bbqoug said:

All of these references to Lyric & Hosanna are bringing back good yet bad memories (if that makes any sense) from our shortened cruise on Journey in April.

They were doing a fantastic job as our cabin attendants when our cruise got cut short due to a death in the family back home. They were very helpful and gracious in helping us get our luggage off the ship and to a taxi so we could fly home from Charleston.

 

We were enjoying ourselves very much only to have our cruise cut from the expected 11 nights down to 3.

It may sound strange, but I have not only been grieving the loss of my Father, but also for the loss of our cruise that we had anticipated for so long.

I keep telling my wife we need book another Azamara cruise as part of the healing process.

 

 

Edited by SkystheLimit

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