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First but not Last Cruise ~ Carnival Legend

Author: ColoradoSweetheart
Date of Trip: March 2008

First and NOT THE LAST Cruise ~ Carnival Legend

A little us background. We’re 43, first cruise, from Denver. DH is a supervisor at a packaging company and I am Unit Coordinator on a Cancer Floor at a local hospital. I had a patient that was in her 20’s told to go home and do what she wanted because she had less than 3 months to live … she came back and died next day … so I decided to book my dream vacation and not wait anymore.

Review of Vacation 2/29 ~ 3/10/2008

February 29, 2008

Finished with hair appt and stuff around 1 and went to Wal Mart and Walgreens to pick up last minute stuff. Robert was sleeping as he had worked all night and had his own last minute stuff he did that morning. So when I got home I stuffed everything in the suitcases … a suit bag for my gowns, his shirts, a large suitcase with clothes and a small suitcase with toiletries (things in baggies everywhere) and 2 carry on’s … his carrying papers, reservations stuff and mine with our zunes, chargers, camera bag, blah blah blah. He woke up around 6 and I sent him to get dog food so poor Buster would not starve during the week; we had a friend of ours house sit so we didn’t have to worry about him. Randy (who also house sat) came around 9 to pick us up and get us and our many bags to the airport, our plane was to leave at 12:25 a.m.

So we waited at the airport and 1/2 hour prior to departure, just before we boarded I took my Xanax (Gotta fly Air Xanax) and before we knew it we were off. Robert was still exhausted and I had the aisle seat (last row in plane) and he the middle and luckily nobody had window seat so he curled up and slept. I dozed off and on thanks to my Zune, Xanax and neck pillow. It was nearly a 4 hour flight from Denver to Tampa … and our parting words to all our friends and co workers was that may they have a cold, snowy week!!!

March 1, 2008

We landed at a little before 6 a.m. on Saturday. We had reservations at Holiday Inn Express Suites Rocky Point, and although we requested early check in, knew that it wouldn’t be ready THIS early.

After we collected our luggage and rental car we headed out … this was our first time in Florida so we were enjoying the scenery and frankly just each other. I work 12 hour days, he 12 hour nights and we had both been doing a TON of overtime so hadn’t seen much of one another. We drove to Clearwater and Robert saw that the Yankees and Phillies were playing that afternoon … spring training, well Robert is a die hard Yankee fan. So found out when tickets were going on sale and he went up to wait. I napped in the car. He came back a short time later with 1st base front row tickets, he was THRILLED. We drove to HIEX and were able to check in, which we did … unloaded our luggage and enjoyed the continental breakfast they provide. Then headed back to the Phillies stadium.

It was warm and sunny and I did not put on sunblock … so needless to say got a bit red, but no biggie, by the 4th inning I went up and bought some sunscreen … and then the fans starting walking in front of our seats (one lady actually slid into the guys seat next to us like a slide) to get autographs, darn near stepping on 1,000 worth of camera gear, and my husband and the father of one of these kids started verbally exchanging words … but in the end we left 7th inning and headed back to our hotel where we unpacked, showered, changed and chilled.

That night was the Cruise Critic get together, so we mosied down and met up with Jodie and her husband Tom and finally after nearly a year of corresponding Don & Karyn. The get together didn’t last long as they all headed their ways for dinner and we ordered pizza … a medium which looked extra large and dripped grease … but it was good … okay at this point Weight Watchers went totally OUT THE WINDOW!!! Anxiously we went to bed because I could not wait for the next morning … could not wait for our first cruise.

March 2, 2008 ~ Embarkation Day!!!

After over a year of planning, plotting, dreaming and waiting the big day was here!!!!

We had the continental breakfast from HIEX (which, by the way, was very good) … went up and dragged our bags downstairs and waited for our van to take us.

I will be the first to admit that I had butterflies waiting for my first view of the ship … and my mouth probably hit the floor when I saw it, I was very excited.

Unloaded and headed in … getting thru security and getting the sign and sail card was relatively painless. I had printed out everything and even 2 copies of my funpass but forgot the funpass, but no big deal, and got it and then sat and waited … and stared at the ship with my mouth open some more.

Finally they started boarding … it, too, was painless. Don and Karyn were ahead of us and Robert being the jokester got behind her and gave her little horns, which did show up on her picture. We were on the ship and enjoying lunch by noon.

It seemed like seconds and we were on the ship. Again, my jaw dropped. Wasn’t sure what to expect as I had ready so many different reviews of the Legend. I didn’t think the urns were “dark” at all, I loved them. I was just amazed at the size of the ship and walked around like a kid at Christmas. Couldn’t get to our rooms (We had 6145 Balcony) so we joined Don & Karyn at the Unicorn.

Here’s where it got tricky and I didn’t realize it would have this affect … Robert was listening to his Zune while we were conversing, which I thought was rude. Love him, but it was rude. Well later I found out why. (Will get to that). And I”m only mentioning this so anyone else with this problem will know you are not alone and there are others onboard. I enjoyed Don & Karyn’s company, great people. After lunch … and I thought the food was good … nothing’s “perfect” but if I didn’t have to prep, cook or clean up, then it’s good, we headed to our cabin. Again, like a kid at Christmas opening a gift. I was amazed, because for some reason I thought that it would be smaller, but was pleasantly surprised. We were also very glad we got a balcony … yep we’re gonna be balcony snobs, can already tell you this. LOL!!!

2 of our bags were there, so we unpacked those and the other 2 trickled in over the next few hours. We met our steward, Leonardo and he was so nice and funny. He was also tipped extra multiple times throughout the week. Very much deserved.

Muster Drill didn’t seem to be a big deal … we were in the shade, which probably made it easier and yeah it was a bit lengthy but very important in case of emergency. Never once thought it annoying.

Afterwards took our life vest back to the cabin and up top we went … for sailaway. We had 8:15 dinner seating so we were able to enjoy going under the Tampa Skyway bridge at sunset. OH MY GOD, Spectacular … Just spectacular. One of the many things I will never forget. Going under the bridge (looking like it barely cleared) was amazing. I guess there was a 5 foot clearance but it sure didn’t look like it.

 We changed as our clothes had arrived and headed to dinner, which also, was pretty amazing. It’s just nice to be pampered. We did have a booth for 2 and since we work so much opposite shifts it was nice to have time together and alone.

Robert had the sweet and sour shrimp as an appetizer and prime rib (bloody) and I had the shrimp cocktail and steak with peppercorn sauce. He had the custard with fruit for dinner and I had the chocolate glateau, and we both had the warm chocolate melting cake. I thought the warm melting chocolate cake was good (I had it twice on the cruise) but Robert thought it was way too rich. The chocolate gluteau was great, too. We did prop open our balcony door every night with the chair (forgot bungee) and slept soundly to the crashing waves and I also can’t begin to tell you how comfortable that bed was (no backache) and the pillows and comforter were snuggly soft, told Robert I WILL be ordering that set …. Maybe not the bed, but definitely the bedding set.

March 3 ~ First Day At Sea

Needless to say I was up early to see the sunrise and take many photographs of it, even Robert got up early and we sat on the balcony and enjoyed every single moment together. There’s nothing quite like moments together alone on a balcony with the world passing you by and not a care in the world … no job, phones, internet, telephones, kids, drama, work … nothing. It was great.

We showered and headed up for breakfast. We did the Unicorn Cafe every morning. We did want to get to Truffles one morning but never made it. DH loves eggs benedict … but we enjoyed the Unicorn, the food was good, hot and the view, well that view would make ANY food taste good. Again, anything I don’t have to prep, cook and clean is good food for me.

I am, however, having a heck of a time at home looking out the back window and seeing GRASS and TREES and not gorgeous blue water passing by. Hmmm, wonder what we can do about that.

We really spent a lot of time exploring the ship, checking everything out … hanging out on our balcony and just relaxing.

Met up for lunch and sat with Don & Karyn and this is when Robert apologized. The “drinks being pushed in your face” from the moment you embark got to him … I assumed that after nearly 3 years of sobriety he could handle it, but it really bothered him. So he explained to Don & Karyn and me that was why he put in his Zune to tune out the waiters and he admitted having difficulty with that. I was proud of his honesty and now fully understood what was going on. He discovered the AA meetings onboard and attended one that day … and the next 2 … after the first meeting (5 people) it dwindled to 2 and then none, but by then he was okay again. I’m personally thankful they do have the Friends of Bill W. onboard.

We goofed off the afternoon … relaxation was our main goal.

We did play miniature golf and it was fun … also took a nap (it was a regular thing daily and something we never get to do at home)!!!

Getting ready for the first formal dinner was fun!!!! I have never seen him in a tux and he has never seen me glammed up … after 18 years … so that was great. I felt like a princess putting on my formal gown, my makeup, my hair and those God Forsaken heels (I hate shoes) and then he got dressed and OH MY GOD … nothing like seeing someone in new eyes after all these years. He looked great!!!!

We headed downstairs and took tons of photo’s … I had planned at least $300 on formal photo’s, because where else can you get formal settings and pictures for 21.00 for a 8×10? I had huge difficulty in throwing away the ones we chose not to get … even though they weren’t “perfect” I hate tossing pictures. We had fun with that.

Met up with Don & Karyn yet again in line and chit chatted. Then to our booth. We ended up in a booth for 2, which was fine as we hadn’t seen one another much and looked forward to some alone time to reconnect.

Oh yeah we did have the prime rib and the lobster. Don’t know how people eat more than 1 lobster if they do the prime rib, I was stuffed by the time it even rolled around. But it was very good. Robert loves his beef rare and tender and he had absolutely no complaints. I like mine medium well (which sometimes ends up tough) and mine was cooked to perfection and very tender. No complaints here from ANY of the food at any time.

After dinner we headed to Follies to watch a show, saw JAZZ HOT and it was good. The two female performers are amazing. Wonder why they don’t have a record label anywhere, voices that reach right into your soul. Very Excellent. By then my shoes were off and we headed back to our room. Robert told me that he thought I looked so beautiful. That really capped off the night and I’ll leave it at that!!!! ;-)!!!!

Just a note: Never saw any chair hogs or had problem with that; never really smelled smoke either (and I am sensitive to that odor). The pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers as well as the grill for sandwiches are to die for as is the 24 hour ice cream …. even with the Spring Breakers, it wasn’t wild, no kids running everywhere either. People were genuinely nice and I wish I could say I had ONE but I have absolutely NO complaints on this ship, the crew, the food, the passengers, nothing. It also never felt like there were that many passengers, the only time I encountered “crowds” was during the busiest lunch time, so we just altered ours to either a bit earlier or later than “norm” and it was fine. Even when it was a busy time, the lines moved fairly quickly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grand Cayman What an awesome morning. I awoke during the night to find just out our balcony in the near distance ~ another ship all lit up and then looking to my left I could see another in the distance. What a beautiful site, so beautiful I kept waking up to see them and where they were … woke Robert up, too … no wonder I need a vacation to recover (catch up on sleep). Again, I felt like a kid at Christmas as this was the first time to tender as well. We got up early and I took pictures (of course) because one of the most amazing things I wanted to see this whole trip was the sunrises and the sunsets.

We headed up to the Unicorn for breakfast … and again, the food was good, it was decent … hot and fresh although the menu didn’t vary much for breakfast, who cares, you’re on vacation.

Headed down to tender out to the Island. We were a bit confused as we had never done this, all I knew about it was what I learned on http://www.cruisecritic.com/ over the last year. And very thankful for that. Tendering wasn’t difficult at all, the lines were long though and I tend to get impatient and hot easily. Bad trait!!!! We got on the tender and shortly thereafter were off to see the wizard.

We had not booked any excursions for Grand Cayman, were just going to play the first one by ear and see what there was. We walked up and down, checked out the shops, the shoreline … then when we got back from down the road we saw a tour for $30 per person to go around the island and said what the heck and did it. It was a nice, air-conditioned bus and the driver was friendly and informative. Had a bunch of Canadians on though and they weren’t very friendly, but oh well, not letting them ruin my vacation.

We saw the Governor’s mansion, the resorts, the beaches. Stopped for a while at the beach and Robert bought is “Panama Jack Vacation Hat”. Which I think is quite debonair!!! LOL!!!

When we got back I was still searching for trinkets for the kids and by then I was hot, thirsty, getting hungry and then what usually follows ~ getting crabby. So we headed back to the tender to go back to the ship. Put our stuff in the cabin and went up to the Unicorn for something cold to drink and a light lunch. Then nap time. We opened up the doors to the balcony, and rested … which led to a nap (which would become routine) … between the waves and the oh so comfortable bedding, napping was an easy easy think to start doing.

We woke up around sixish and started getting ready for dinner … As usual, no complaints with dinner, great wait staff. The only annoying thing with our eating (late) was across the aisle was a table of about 9 20’ish spring break females … oh the drama each night. LOL!!!

After dinner we wandered the ship, we were always amazed at everything. Took in a late piece of pizza on the top deck … very romantic … and then caught this hilarious comedian. We were rolling.

Our night ended with the door open, listening to the waves as we drifted off to the best sleep we’ve had in forever.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cozumel Woke up early, enjoying the sunrise … and early breakfast. And we were at a pier; so easy on – easy off. (Kinda like clap on clap off????).

We had booked through Carnival a 3 hour jungle hike and had really looked forward to it … but the night before we got our envelope with our excursion tickets for Roatan and a letter stating that the jungle hike had been cancelled. We were really bummed and had spent some time the night before and that morning looking but nothing popped at us. So we left the ship and roamed around.

Had some great open air shopping, we did enjoy looking around. Saw Senor Frog, Carlos & Charlies (but we’re not drinkers / partyers so didn’t care if we went in or not) … Robert was thrilled buying Cuban Cigars. Just one at first, then three. I don’t like cigarette smoke but cigar and pipe smoke smells good for some reason.

After wandering a bit we saw a bus tour of Hell, Turtle Farm, Governor’s Mansion and Paradise Beach, and it was marked 1/2 price from 20.00 per person to 10.00 so we said what the heck and hopped on.

The tourism part is fun but only for a short while, I highly recommend having excursions booked or planning something at all stops … just my worldly advice from first cruise!!! LOL!!!

We enjoyed this trip … Stopped at Tortuga Factory where Robert ordered 2 1.75 liter bottles of rum for some friends that asked him to bring it back … we didn’t go to the Turtle Farm, did stop at hell but they kicked us both out … guess we are heavenly bound after all!!!!

Got back and wandered the pier back to the ship; I wanted to see the late runners to the ship … I only saw one though … Robert went to his AA meeting and I watched and there was this girl in a wheelchair QUITE intoxicated that everytime 3 men would help her up and out she’d slither to the ground.

This night we had reservations at the Golden Fleece specialty restaurant. We him-hawed back and forth if we were going or not and decided what the heck. Let me tell you it was the best 80.00 (30.00 per person and we added an additional 20.00) we EVER spent.

Eat very slowly as there is a lot of food over the 2 1/2 hours you spend there. Robert ordered: Trio of Escargot Tossed Garden Salad Surf & Turf (very very good) Fresh Fruits I ordered: Sushi Caesar Salad Surf & Turf Cheese Plate (HUGE and very good)

Did not take pictures there as I didn’t know if I should … the ambiance didn’t seem the type to be snapping photo’s but next time, I WILL!!! We literally rolled out of there. Holy Heck!!!

After dinner caught a show and also later a comedian. Had a great time. Stayed in the formal clothes until after the shows and then late, we grabbed some pizza and headed up top. Nothing quite like eating pizza watching the stars and the ocean.

Thursday, March 6, 2008 Belize

This is the day that gave me the most queasy stomach and it wasn’t sea sickness.

We had booked the cave tubing / zip lining excursion months ago with Major Tom and even though I am afraid of heights and can’t swim, I really WANTED to do this; but as the time drew closer I got sicker thinking about it. So this stop wasn’t my favorite already. This was another tender and because we booked thru Major Tom and not Carnival weren’t sure how to tender but they told us where to go and we were out on the 2nd tender. By then I had told Robert I wasn’t going. I wanted to, but chickened out, no other words for it.

I waited with him until he had to leave and then started going thru the shops. There really isn’t much in Belize … a lot of shops. I was told if I left the “gated” area it was very dangerous. Okay, there goes that. So I shopped and went to the Wet Lizard and had Conch Fritters (really wanted to try them) and 2 rum punches (Don had given me a coupon to buy one get one free). So I enjoyed my Conch … and my opinion on that is it’s good, very chewy, but good. It came with a lettuce and tomato shredded mixture and French fries and a chipotle mayonnaise (or at least that’s what it tasted like and tartar sauce). The first rum punch didn’t taste like rum at all and the 2nd one had a ton of it in the bottom of the drink. I enjoyed the view (overlooking the pier/ocean) during lunch but it was hot and I was truly getting bored. They were very pushy to get tourists in and that’s the worst way to get me to buy anything. Mid afternoon I tendered back to the ship, had a snack, cold drink, put my purchases in our cabin … wandered the ship … then tendered back to wait for Robert to get back. The last tender was 4 p.m. and at 3:30 still no sign, I started to worry as this was NOT booked thru Carnival. 3:45 and no sign, I really started to panic then. About then they got back and we got back to the ship in time. Close call. He really didn’t have time to shop but he had given me his list and I got the stuff while he was gone. He said they had a great time and the delay was some Woman’s walk that blocked the ONLY road. Thank God they did return in time. He also said they were told the speed limit is 55 and if you blow past the check points, they don’t stop you they just shoot you … NICE!!! (DON ~ is this true; did they really say that???) I could easily never return there, just didn’t do anything for either of us.

We got back to the ship and he was starved, so we went to the Unicorn and ate and then went to take a nap before dinner. Well around 7 I woke up and asked him if he was getting up and he mumbled about not caring if we went to dinner or not … and I was still sleepy so I put the PRIVACY sign on the door and we were both out until early morning of Friday. We were that tired.

So really don’t have much else to say about that day … Belize and Sleep!!!

Friday, March 7, 2008 Roatan, Honduras

I can only say we woke up starving because we had missed dinner and slept like babies, so up early while we pulled into Roatan (Beautiful from afar) and had breakfast watching the island.

Roatan is only one ship per day usually and so we were it. They were doing construction on the pier … but the island was absolutely stunning and we hadn’t even left the ship yet.

Breakfast was the usual fare and we went to get our stuff and leave the ship, we had a 10:15 tour for the Pirates, Monkeys and Birds …. We found the group (it was so early) and we asked if we join the earlier group instead and they said that was fine. I’m glad that they let us do that … because this Island is just beautiful, not touristy and not very pushy … and beautiful beaches, scenery and quiet.

Our tour guide was a 20 yr old female Mackenna that was very knowledgeable and we really enjoyed her, although she admitted she was a bit tired because she had partied last night.

We toured the Pirate area, we then saw some plants that she explained to us … one being one they make a tea with to give parents so they can go to sleep so the kids can go out. That was pretty funny; and the cashew (see pictures). Then there was a swinging bridge like in Indiana Jones that we had to cross, well myself and another lady are afraid of heights and this was a swinging bridge over water and I couldn’t do that … so she and I were escorted over the “stable” bridge. That’s when we got to go see the birds … beautiful and friendly … and took many photo’s (BIG surprise there huh??? LOL) and then onto the monkeys, OH MY GOD they were sooooo cute …. Played with a few of them, took many pics and really had a great time. After that we were left to enjoy the beach and told what the latest bus time was to return back to ship. There were a couple of little tables with jewelry and such … Robert bought a nice leather, steel bracelet and I saw a few things but just wasn’t in shopping mood, truth be told, I HATE to shop!!!

We then grabbed 2 chairs and went to the edge of the water. Robert stripped to his swim shorts and went out in the ocean and then yelled out he was going to go get some snorkel equipment and snorkel, well by then 2 ladies came around to do beach massages for $30.00 for an hour … I jumped on that and then he changed his mind and opted for it as well. So there we were … white sand, turquoise water and having a fantastic massage!!! It didn’t get much better than that. Afterwards we went and got a drink of water (bottle) and relaxed in the center area and waited for the bus. The trip back was beautiful … and they stopped a few times to let us take photo’s from the bus. By then we had decided we would definitely like to just fly into Roatan and stay a week there alone.

There is a tented area just on the pier with knick knacks and some beautiful beautiful mahogany carved pieces. The large trunk was 1200 … smallest one 32. Found a beautiful wood door that was 1800 and she got down to 800 for it but again we hadn’t come prepared to purchase something like that (and shipping was included) But next time WE WILL. It was stunning.

Back to the ship … 2nd formal night. The black gown I brought for this night, zipper was stuck and neither of us could get it to work, so I decided to wear the shorter, black sparkly cocktail dress I wore the night at The Golden Fleece and it worked out fine.

Our servers had been concerned because we had not been there for 2 nights … so we explained that we went to the Golden Fleece one night and slept thru the other and I was bummed because that menu had the tiramisu (I LOVE THAT STUFF) and Bitter and Blanc that I had heard soooo much about and wanted to try. I tried to get some and they said they would check but I ended up missing out. Oh well, sounds like a great reason to book another cruise, don’t you think? I do.

This was also midnight buffet night … I was too stuffed to even fathom eating … but I did go and take pictures at midnight and then to bed. Let me tell you by the end of the cruise I didn’t want to EVER see food again. It was all good but man it was a lot of food.

Saturday, March 8, 2008 LAST FUN DAY AT SEA (AND BOY WAS IT FUN!!!) Sometime during the night we encountered a cold front and 50 knott winds and the ship started rocking like crazy … WOW!!! I started feeling queasy … started popping the Bonine. Robert was sick, but not from that. About 2 hours after returning from Roatan he started sounding like he had bronchitis so he was already sick and I was going from nausea to semi normal to nausea again and walking, HOLY HECK!!!! What fun that day was. He slept all day … I dined alone and wandered the ship, took photo’s and bought photo’s … hung out all over the place, even my favorite hiding place, the Enchanted Forest where I sat and watched the waves and even crawled up in the porthole and watched.

Before we went to dinner, I packed (fun fun fun with rocking ship) and very sad.

Woke Robert up and we dressed and went downstairs … we did NOT take any photo’s that night, not the way we both looked and felt. We did go to dinner though … and I guess even the Drama Queens were pretty subdued (THANK YOU SEA SICKNESS) so really it was the first dinner in Truffles where we didn’t have to listen to their LOUD drama.

Robert still wasn’t feeling great so he didn’t want to go to see the Legends show, and I really did. We put the bags out in the hall and that was soooo sooooo sad to see as it was the end of the trip. Robert went to bed and I went to Follies and saw the Legends show. It was pretty good. Some good talent, some not so good talent, some bad talent. LOL!!!! But I enjoyed it. I admire ANYONE that can get up in front of THAT many people and sing (good or bad). It’s all about having a good time.

By middle of night the rocking had calmed tremendously and we managed to sleep.

Saturday, March 3 ~ Debarkation Day / Tampa
Can you believe it’s over? I can’t, nor do I want to. Our bottles of rum were 1.75 liters and we weren’t really clear on the 1 liter per person so we headed down to customs. I think he laughed at me … LOL!!! But that’s okay, better safe than sorry.

We decided to wait to be called off, so headed up and had breakfast. Robert was totally miserably sick so he just kinda sat there in Tampa, freezing.

Once they finally cleared the ship and the self debarking guests left, they started calling numbers and we were in the first group. It was a piece of cake (although sad) to get off the ship, get our luggage and get an Alamo bus to get our car.

We then headed to our hotel and rested … and slept. Next day Yankee’s Stadium and the Beach, Lunch and the airport. It was Over!!! I cried!!!

It was a wonderful first cruise and we will definitely be cruising again. THANK YOU Cruise Critic, because if I hadn’t spent a year on here beforehand I’d of had no idea about a lot of stuff. You guys rock.

JUST SOME HINTS:

I thought the hairdryer they provide was better than mine.

BRING the power strip!!!!

I thought the buffet food was pretty good … again, when I’m not prepping, cooking, cleaning it’s GOOD. Some things were better than others but I always found something.

The hamburger / hot dogs, etc were very good as was the pizza and I loved the 24 hr ice cream.

As for the layout, I get lost no matter what I do … it took me a few days to know where I was, but that’s just me. So it’s hard to say if it was a good or not so good layout. But even getting lost, I had a blast checking everything out.

I didn’t notice any smokey smells and I’m really sensitive … no huge crowds most of the time, no chair hogs … no noisy neighbors …no nosy ones either … LOL!!!

I found all the staff to be wonderful and professional.

Dinner Club is a MUST MUST MUST!!!! Next time I might do it more than once.

I really can’t come up with ONE bad thing about the cruise, or the legend. I’ll rack my brain (LOL) but I can’t. It was the most amazing ship for a first cruise.

 

 

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