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I wish I could just get an answer.  I'm not new to cruising and I've cruised several different lines with Royal Caribbean being my favorite.  The problem is, I just took a Navigator of the Seas cruise and it's been about 10 years since I've cruised.  Have things dramatically changed on RCCL or am I remembering a different experience.  The customer service was at best, sub par.  I filled out a survey and had no response from the survey, post cruise.  I called customer service, couldn't get an answer.  After much insisting and listening to scripted answers I was transferred to corporate customer service only to find the same results.  The question was easy, "Has the service dramatically changed on RCCL over the past ten years?"  You see, I plan on taking my mother and family on a cruise in March for her 80th birthday, but based on what I just experienced, it will not be on RCCL.  This is so disappointing.  My daughter is an 11 time RCCL cruiser.  She was appalled when I experienced my cruise on Navigator of the Seas.  I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).  The Windjammer manager challenging me on why I wasn't eating in the paid restaurants?  The bar servers being rude.  Where did the service go?  Where were the waiters who knew you and became a part of your dining experience?  The nicest people on the ship were the guys playing guitar singing, wash your hands.  Please help me understand why the complaint department answers with canned and scripted answers and never really gives a solution other than "it is documented and periodically we review surveys." HELP

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They are like any other big corporation now..they don't REALLY care about the survey you filled out or your comment card or your phone calls.

 

What they DO care about is that you spent as much $$$ as possible while on board, and on the private island, and on your pre-cruise planner and and and....

 

Welcome to the new cruising.....

 

Cruising is not what it used to be at all, and some will say its so much cheaper now than back then,  to justify the drop in service and the up charges for everything and the lack of recognition and perks for loyalty and repeat guests.....

 

All that being said, It may have been just a one off experience of the things that bothered you as I don't recall that happening on any of my cruises with Royal so far.

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58 minutes ago, Cheryllacy said:

I wish I could just get an answer.  I'm not new to cruising and I've cruised several different lines with Royal Caribbean being my favorite.  The problem is, I just took a Navigator of the Seas cruise and it's been about 10 years since I've cruised.  Have things dramatically changed on RCCL or am I remembering a different experience.  The customer service was at best, sub par.  I filled out a survey and had no response from the survey, post cruise.  I called customer service, couldn't get an answer.  After much insisting and listening to scripted answers I was transferred to corporate customer service only to find the same results.  The question was easy, "Has the service dramatically changed on RCCL over the past ten years?"  You see, I plan on taking my mother and family on a cruise in March for her 80th birthday, but based on what I just experienced, it will not be on RCCL.  This is so disappointing.  My daughter is an 11 time RCCL cruiser.  She was appalled when I experienced my cruise on Navigator of the Seas.  I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).  The Windjammer manager challenging me on why I wasn't eating in the paid restaurants?  The bar servers being rude.  Where did the service go?  Where were the waiters who knew you and became a part of your dining experience?  The nicest people on the ship were the guys playing guitar singing, wash your hands.  Please help me understand why the complaint department answers with canned and scripted answers and never really gives a solution other than "it is documented and periodically we review surveys." HELP

I say it has to do with expectations, I had gone 10 years also without taking a cruise (Any type of real vacation truthfully), my last cruise vacation was in 2002 on Adventure OTS not long after she had been built and at the time one of the largest cruise ships in the world, fast forward to 2012 and I book Allure OTS not long after she was built and again one of the largest cruise ships in the world. I had no pre-conceived ideas of what the cruise should be like, a lot had changed in 10 years and I had no idea what to expect with just the overall size of Allure. I had an amazing time and have sailed on her 2 additional times, Oasis once, Harmony once and multiple other RCCL ships since 2012.

I have seen many, many glowing reviews for Navigator OTS since she has been re-done, I personally have not sailed her since she was AMPED, I have to fly for every cruise I go on, so I prefer a minimum of a 7 day cruise. I might hazard a guess that when Navigator was redone she was redone to attract new cruisers by offering the shorter cruises and the whole new AMPED philosophy.

Maybe this is not what you like and from your comments not what your expectations were, I can say that on my last 17 cruises since 2012 (All on RCCL) I have never experienced anything close to what you say you experienced. I have seen crew that are tired, over worked and other personal issues but they have always been pleasant and provided me with what I requested.

My suggestion would be to try a different ship, maybe larger, possibly smaller.

For what it worth, I have never received any feedback on my post cruise survey either, and I have let them hear about it on different items.

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2 hours ago, Cheryllacy said:

I wish I could just get an answer.  I'm not new to cruising and I've cruised several different lines with Royal Caribbean being my favorite.  The problem is, I just took a Navigator of the Seas cruise and it's been about 10 years since I've cruised.  Have things dramatically changed on RCCL or am I remembering a different experience.  The customer service was at best, sub par.  I filled out a survey and had no response from the survey, post cruise.  I called customer service, couldn't get an answer.  After much insisting and listening to scripted answers I was transferred to corporate customer service only to find the same results.  The question was easy, "Has the service dramatically changed on RCCL over the past ten years?"  You see, I plan on taking my mother and family on a cruise in March for her 80th birthday, but based on what I just experienced, it will not be on RCCL.  This is so disappointing.  My daughter is an 11 time RCCL cruiser.  She was appalled when I experienced my cruise on Navigator of the Seas.  I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).  The Windjammer manager challenging me on why I wasn't eating in the paid restaurants?  The bar servers being rude.  Where did the service go?  Where were the waiters who knew you and became a part of your dining experience?  The nicest people on the ship were the guys playing guitar singing, wash your hands.  Please help me understand why the complaint department answers with canned and scripted answers and never really gives a solution other than "it is documented and periodically we review surveys." HELP

I am sorry for your poor experience. To answer your question yes Royal is a Very different company from 10 years ago. They are extremely focused on making money and have cut service drastically because of this.. The "free" food is much of a lesser quality. Food managers and waiters are forced to push the restaurants and drink packages on people. Now that's all the bad.. The good is their entertainment and activities onboard can't be beat. But I have been on Carnival, NCL, and Celebrity and honestly its all the same. The had to cut service to try and increase profits. That just might have turned you off which is your right. I wish some things were the same from 20, 15, 10 years ago on cruises but they just aren't so you have to modify your expectations or pick a different kind of vacation. Sorry about that I know its not what you want to hear. 

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19 hours ago, Cheryllacy said:

I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).

Was this in the Schooner Bar or the stowaway piano player? 

19 hours ago, Cheryllacy said:

The Windjammer manager challenging me on why I wasn't eating in the paid restaurants? 

This sounds like perhaps he/she was simply asking why you hadn't tried a specialty restaurant. Obviously they are trying to drum up business for that, but hard to believe they were giving you any kind of a hard time for dining at the Windjammer.

19 hours ago, Cheryllacy said:

The bar servers being rude. 

Can you be more specific?

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51 minutes ago, Matt said:

This sounds like perhaps he/she was simply asking why you hadn't tried a specialty restaurant. Obviously they are trying to drum up business for that, but hard to believe they were giving you any kind of a hard time for dining at the Windjammer.

It is a typical sales tactic to ask the client why they are have not purchased a dining pkg to overcome their objections.  If price is the reason, they may offer you a discount such as a BOGO deal.  Some may not respond well to this.  I just view it as the employee is just doing their job by offering everything that is available to enhance your cruise vacation. 

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11 minutes ago, Rose City Cruiser said:

It is a typical sales tactic to ask the client why they are have not purchased a dining pkg to overcome their objections.  If price is the reason, they may offer you a discount such as a BOGO deal.  Some may not respond well to this.  I just view it as the employee is just doing their job by offering everything that is available to enhance your cruise vacation. 

And if your answer to the question is simply "I prefer to stick with the traditional options I have already paid for" they will drop it and wish you an enjoyable meal.

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First I'm sorry you had a poor experience.  I would agree with an earlier comment that a 3 or 4 day cruise can be a different experience than a 7 day cruise.  Also we have found the date of the cruise can make a difference.  Going at Spring break vs a time when more kids are in school comes to mind.  I'm not saying one over the other is good or bad but individual cruises can take on a personality so to speak.  Maybe this will help if you plan another cruise.

I'm in the service industry so maybe I view the "sales" deals a little different.  I think wait staff are professionals that are working hard to be promoted from say Windjammer thru MDR to a specialty restaurant.  I know we have had waiters that were with us in the MDR who later were with us in a specialty.  Anyway I think in addition to working hard at my venue I also have to cover shortages such as busy days in the MDR, and I have to make sales pitches to guest throughout the ship.  So with that in mind I try to smile and engage them with a little friendly conversation.  I can end it any time with a statement that I'm not interested.  On our last cruise we were approached by a waiter with the sales pitch for a dining package.  During the cruise we decided to splurge on a dinner at a specialty restaurant and sure enough the guy turned out to be our waiter.  Not only did he recognize us but he made sure everything was fabulous.

We've never received a response on the company survey either.  My guess is RCL has a variety of sources it uses to gauge how effective they are being.  I think they are very good at recognizing trends based on the ships and services they bring to the market.  

Finally I would offer that certainly cruising has changed in the last 10 years.  All entertainment is constantly looking at their product.  I think back to the all you can eat buffet that you used to see in Vegas. Those have largely been replaced as consumers have spoken with the pocket book saying they is what I like now.  We cruise because the whole package seems to be a good value for us.  Meals are not 5 star but are usually very good.  Our room moves us each  evening to a new location so I don't have to repack.  We get to see great locations while being pampered by some very hardworking folks.  Ok enough of my owns sales pitch.  I hope you try another cruise again and you have the time of your life.

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The ONLY time I have ever very received any kind of follow-up to a survey was when we were Star Class and had a disappointment with our suite.  They contacted us 3 different times to follow up on that one but other than that, we have never gotten any kind of follow-up.

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6 hours ago, Matt said:

Was this in the Schooner Bar or the stowaway piano player? 

This sounds like perhaps he/she was simply asking why you hadn't tried a specialty restaurant. Obviously they are trying to drum up business for that, but hard to believe they were giving you any kind of a hard time for dining at the Windjammer.

Can you be more specific?

Schooner Bar.  

I was also surprised about being put on the spot regarding the paid restaurants.  I answered the question but was met with "why not" a few times.  My answer was, "because I don't want to" after the second time.

I am just so disappointed.  But, with all that said, I am happy that you are asking for details.

I want to take my family on a cruise in March to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday.  I'm just really nervous about RCCL again.  Funny, it was always my word of mouth recommendation.  Maybe I expected the same level of service that I received ten years ago.  Also, the last cruise was Liberty of the Seas 2nd voyage.  Perhaps everyone was just over accommodating.  But, really, that's how I always remembered RCCL.  That cruise was hit with norovirus but that happens and I didn't complain at all!!  So, you see, I'm not a complainer.  I'm just disappointed.

 

 

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Reality is that these cost-driven approaches will continue at Royal Caribbean's cost points.   This is unfortunate, but reality.   Alternatives ARE OFFERED - but at higher price points, which may be triple or more than RCL's daily rate.  This has become a case of a consumer making his/her own informed decision.

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39 minutes ago, Cheryllacy said:

Schooner Bar.  

I was also surprised about being put on the spot regarding the paid restaurants.  I answered the question but was met with "why not" a few times.  My answer was, "because I don't want to" after the second time.

I am just so disappointed.  But, with all that said, I am happy that you are asking for details.

I want to take my family on a cruise in March to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday.  I'm just really nervous about RCCL again.  Funny, it was always my word of mouth recommendation.  Maybe I expected the same level of service that I received ten years ago.  Also, the last cruise was Liberty of the Seas 2nd voyage.  Perhaps everyone was just over accommodating.  But, really, that's how I always remembered RCCL.  That cruise was hit with norovirus but that happens and I didn't complain at all!!  So, you see, I'm not a complainer.  I'm just disappointed.

 

 

It just really is a different company from 12 years ago.. If your talking about 2nd Voyage on Liberty that was actually 12 years ago not 10 lol.. Once they introduced Oasis class everything changed.. Some for the better like entertainment and some for the worse like over worked staff and forcing staff to push drink and dining packages.. Its all about Money.. They try to keep the price for cruises as low as possible and because of that certain things suffer.. I am not saying this is right or wrong its just the way it is. 

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The world has changed a great deal in 10 years as we all know! That said...

Navigator OTS was one of our best cruises! We went on a Christmas cruise that wasn’t great, felt like everything was a training test! We have gone on several other cruise lines and keep coming back RCCL! Sorry you had a bad time. Give them another chance before you quit all together!

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3 hours ago, Cheryllacy said:

 

I want to take my family on a cruise in March to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday.  I'm just really nervous about RCCL again.  Funny, it was always my word of mouth recommendation.  Maybe I expected the same level of service that I received ten years ago.  Also, the last cruise was Liberty of the Seas 2nd voyage.  Perhaps everyone was just over accommodating.  But, really, that's how I always remembered RCCL.  That cruise was hit with norovirus but that happens and I didn't complain at all!!  So, you see, I'm not a complainer.  I'm just disappointed.

I would suggest you try again but a 7 night cruise. I think if you keep an open mind, you will really enjoy it and it will be closer to what you expect.  If your family has a wide range of ages, I strongly suggest an Oasis class ship.  

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I am the first one to say I think the "value" has decreased over time with more and more costs being added, some optional extras, some charging for what was once "free". Saying this I do not believe I have seen a decrease in the level of service I have received from staff and still feel like I get an excellent customer experience. Once or twice I guess I have had a "average to poor interaction with a grew member but those are outnumbered 1000 to 1 to the good to exceptional service I have received in recent years.

 

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I think that sometimes people place this image that no cruise line nor vacation could ever live up to.  I have friends and family that have done all inclusive on land and also cruises, both being the same cost.  They all have said that the cruises won in activities, food and service.  I feel the same way.  To me it is the best of both worlds IF you picked the ship that matches your desires/needs.  

My husband and I cruise yearly and we like to try out different ships with each cruise, if we can.  I have never had a bad cruise yet.  I think I have been approached maybe 1x for specialty dinners on each cruise.  My pet peeve is formal night pictures, every 5-10 feet being asked to take a picture.  If I want to, I will get in line, but otherwise please let me keep on walking.

I have not been on Navigator, but I know that sometimes the Schooner bar has a poor layout where the tables are positioned close to the piano.  It may be that as low as you were speaking he was getting feed back on his microphone.  I love hanging out in Schooners, but it does have its flaws due to its popularity.  In essence, everybody thinks they are talking a low voice and for the table over to hear each other at their own table they start talking in a louder lower voice, and so on and so forth.   If you need any further proof just go to any popular trivia game...if you don't know the answer just be quiet and listen to everybody trying to whisper, than decide which one you will go with.

For all you know that piano player may have had complaints from earlier shows and knows that the table you were seated was a problem area no matter how low your voices were going to be.  Again, not your problem per se, RCL should just remove that table if this is the case.

As far as comment cards.  I would never expect a response.  I work in mgmt. for a national retailer.  We tell customers that if they go online and fill out the survey they will receive a $25 gift certificate for 5 mins of their time.  All of these customers get the gift certificate, but I know of nobody that has ever been contacted (I have even read Yelps where people mention corporate did not contact them).  

You may ask than why do they do it?  Why waste my time if they don't contact me?  1.  They are looking for future trends from customers.  IE selections offered...more specialty, less specialty,, overnight stay in Coco Cay, etc.             2.  It is a way to look at the staff on each ship from a customer point of view.  For my company, if the customer fills out the survey, they place in the name of that salesperson.  The company in turn has a company avg., and a company goal.  If the store falls below that avg and their goal for the month, the mgrs. are written up, same with any sales person that is below the score.  2 write ups and you are placed on probation.  3rd and you are gone.  They download these surveys weekly to each store, and each dept is required to post it.   Just my opinion.

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I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).

 

Rightfully so.  People were there to hear him.  you were being VERY disrespectful to him and everyone that was there to see him.  However low you think your conversation was, it was louder than the music, otherwise you could not hear each other.  There are plenty of places to have conversations that do not have a performance going on.  No one that was not with your group went there to hear your conversation, even if you think it was low. 

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12 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).

 

Rightfully so.  People were there to hear him.  you were being VERY disrespectful to him and everyone that was there to see him.  However low you think your conversation was, it was louder than the music, otherwise you could not hear each other.  There are plenty of places to have conversations that do not have a performance going on.  No one that was not with your group went there to hear your conversation, even if you think it was low. 

I see what you are saying in that some guests went to the bar specifically to hear the piano player, but he is in the middle of a bar. It's not like a theater where there is an expectation that everyone be quiet to watch the show. It's unrealistic to expect everyone be quiet in a bar atmosphere - to some passengers, he's just the muzak in the background while they visit with friends and enjoy their drink. 

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42 minutes ago, MrMarc said:

I mean, the piano player asking us to move if we were going to have conversation while he was playing (our conversation was really very low).

 

Rightfully so.  People were there to hear him.  you were being VERY disrespectful to him and everyone that was there to see him.  However low you think your conversation was, it was louder than the music, otherwise you could not hear each other.  There are plenty of places to have conversations that do not have a performance going on.  No one that was not with your group went there to hear your conversation, even if you think it was low. 

I have to disagree that holding a conversation in a bar is disrespectful to a piano player or those who want to listen. The bar is a public area and it was inappropriate for the crew member to ask a paying customer to move away from the space they were already occupying when the piano player arrived.

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On 6/4/2019 at 1:59 PM, Cheryllacy said:

 I plan on taking my mother and family on a cruise in March for her 80th birthday

First...I am sorry you had such a disappointing experience. 

Being a new cruiser (first one was October 2015), I had no personal, preconceived notions about what cruising used to be like...my thoughts of cruising were formed from watching "The Love Boat" when I was younger 🤣 and hearing from friends/family who had cruised.  I knew I NEVER needed to go on any kind of cruise...NOT MY CUPPA T.  My brother and his wife cruise A LOT, alone AND with their kids and have been on several different lines.  Based on his recommendations and his knowing how I like to travel/vacation, he strongly steered us to RC for the general atmosphere, service, itineraries, price.  I love it now.  We have found that we enjoyed the longer cruises better than the shorter one.  Shorter cruises are generally cheaper and therefore have more people on them that are just there for a quick getaway, dare I say partying.  The longer ones seemed to have less ... of that.  More people who are there to relax and enjoy the ship and ports.  not just the drinks.  We felt better taken care of and paid more attention to on the longer ones.  If that makes sense?

Also, March is the PRIME spring break cruise time.  I would suggest strongly that if you are taking your 80 yo mom on a cruise in March, that you consider a LONGER cruise on a NOT brand new ship.  After spending lots of time reading here on the blogs, apparently March/spring break cruises are full of people, cheaply cruising and drinking lots. Just do a search at the top for spring break cruise and you'll be able to read threads about it. 

If I am completely out in left field about what I'm saying, I hope someone who has more cruising experience than I do will correct me. 

I hope you try RC again and that you and your family have a great time.

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4 minutes ago, JennyB said:

We have found that we enjoyed the longer cruises better than the shorter one.

For my husband and I we also feel the same way, especially on the larger ships.  

Unless you cruise a lot, than you feel like you are squeezing everything into a very small time frame.  A constant MUST DO list:

MUST find the peek a boo bridge, MUST do the Bumper cars/Ice Skating/ Mini Golf/Rock Wall/I Fly/ Flow Rider/Water Slides, etc. MUST find the Bionic Bar.  MUST see the Broadway style shows.  MUST do the 70s, Silent White Night, Love and Marriage, Quest, etc.  MUST have a Kummelwreck.  MUST do the Galley Tour or Bridge Tour.  MUST do swimming with dolphins, sting rays, sea lions or pigs.  

Squish all of that together even on a 5 night and what you MUST DO is take a few days off to recuperate from your vacation.

We have done the 4 night, 5 night, 6 night and 10 night. This one is 8 nights (felt the 10 night was too long for us).  Our 8 night is not port intensive so for us we don't feel the need to compress everything the ship has to offer compared to the next cruise behind us.  We are doing Adventure.  They do an 8 night turn 6 night.  

@Cheryllacy  I agree and disagree with @JennyB regarding March.  March is spring break for schools and colleges, so it will be packed.  However, I have never sailed on RCL without them saying the ship is fully booked.  Thus, you are still going to have the crowds, maybe just older and less kids. Perk when it isn't spring break is that the Solarium seems to be emptier since it is adults only.

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37 minutes ago, JennyB said:

First...I am sorry you had such a disappointing experience. 

Being a new cruiser (first one was October 2015), I had no personal, preconceived notions about what cruising used to be like...my thoughts of cruising were formed from watching "The Love Boat" when I was younger 🤣 and hearing from friends/family who had cruised.  I knew I NEVER needed to go on any kind of cruise...NOT MY CUPPA T.  My brother and his wife cruise A LOT, alone AND with their kids and have been on several different lines.  Based on his recommendations and his knowing how I like to travel/vacation, he strongly steered us to RC for the general atmosphere, service, itineraries, price.  I love it now.  We have found that we enjoyed the longer cruises better than the shorter one.  Shorter cruises are generally cheaper and therefore have more people on them that are just there for a quick getaway, dare I say partying.  The longer ones seemed to have less ... of that.  More people who are there to relax and enjoy the ship and ports.  not just the drinks.  We felt better taken care of and paid more attention to on the longer ones.  If that makes sense?

Also, March is the PRIME spring break cruise time.  I would suggest strongly that if you are taking your 80 yo mom on a cruise in March, that you consider a LONGER cruise on a NOT brand new ship.  After spending lots of time reading here on the blogs, apparently March/spring break cruises are full of people, cheaply cruising and drinking lots. Just do a search at the top for spring break cruise and you'll be able to read threads about it. 

If I am completely out in left field about what I'm saying, I hope someone who has more cruising experience than I do will correct me. 

I hope you try RC again and that you and your family have a great time.

I think you are right on, the Wife works at a school, so we are forced to take vacation when school is out, but I flat refuse to try and take a cruise on Spring Break, mostly because we have to fly anywhere to cruise and the airlines know when Spring Break is and jack the prices up.

We do normally go in June as soon as school is out, this year is July for the group cruise, generally in June we find more kids, but thankfully kids don't bother us, so no worries. We do normally take a cruise for Fall break, it seems not as many families try and cruise in October so we are usually good.

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