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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very ... Read More
First p&O cruise , we have always gone with tui (Thomson) before but wanted to see what it was like going from Southampton, we got there earlier than are allocated time and must say went through the embarkation procedure very smoothly, I had read previous reviews about the ship some good some bad , although some areas looked a bit tired overall the ship was fine, the cabin was no better than what we have had on Thomson ships. We found the afternoon tea was very limited (the same things on all the food areas ) Our breakfasts and evening meals were taken in the baytree restaurant and we found them excellent a good choice at every sitting, our waiters were very friendly and attentive (jam and dominic) table 109. Did not think the entertainment was that brilliant some acts were good (but not the shows like we have seen on Thomson) Our cabin steward was very good cabin always spotless. Went to Madiera for the first stop and on the cable car and toboggan ( this was a great experience , our last stop was in Lisbon and we went on the amphibious duck what a great laugh that was our guide Gonzales was brilliant. Would go again but did find drinks quite expensive you can get a drinks package but at £39.95 each a day and you must both have it think its a bit much. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs ... Read More
Not impressed with the food. Had breakfast in the main restaurant. Bacon was very fatty. toast was cold, and hard. Also not very much choice of daily dinner choices in the main restaurant. Four items were always on the menu. Had eggs benedict one morning in the buffet restaurant, the muffin was very hard and dry. Had to pay extra in The Beach House for our evening meal to get food that you usually get on a cruise ship. Attitude of some of the staff where not what you normally get a on a cruise. Bit rude, and not very helpful. Not very much going on at the day at sea. Was looking forward to hear one of the guest speakers. Which we have experienced on previous P & O cruises. That did not happen. The entertainment was very good. We were very disappointed. Will not be cruising with P & O again Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them ... Read More
Family getaway over the Easter hols. Boarding was OK and smooth. Cabin was ok (inside twin with 2 bunks) but too small for four people. Service for food and drink was painfully slow, no fault of the staff, just not enough of them for the amount of passengers, of which there were far too many; one couldn't move in any of the swimming pools! We ate in the buffett restaurant, Saffron and cinnamon restaurants and the poolside grill. All food was OK but nothing really stood out, not even on the formal nights; A cheese board consists of 2 tiny bits of cheese and a couple of jacobs crackers! The ship is generally clean and tidy and in a good state of repair. P&O are the Ryannair of the ocean...EVERYTHING is extra! P&O need to stop being so greedy and bring the luxury back to cruising or they wont be around for much longer. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I would of given 4 stars as an overall rating as everything else except the cabin was very good . Embarkation was speedy as was disembarkation. The food was great in the dining room and the buffet . The waiters were all polite and helpful. ... Read More
I would of given 4 stars as an overall rating as everything else except the cabin was very good . Embarkation was speedy as was disembarkation. The food was great in the dining room and the buffet . The waiters were all polite and helpful. The excursion from Zeebrugge was excellent. I learnt more about Belgium from our guide than I ever knew before ! We went to a small village, a castle come Manor House and finished at a chocolate factory. We were disappointed that the ship couldn’t stop at Peter Port yet again. I feel it’s time to find another port in northern France that would make it easier to disembark passengers safely. I’ve suggested on previous questionnaires that a dedicated cinema would be great with films on at times you can watch them!! Nobody has paid attention yet ! All in all apart from the cabin we had a great time and have booked a 2 week cruise to the Baltic’s next year. Excellent value. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over ... Read More
Had good responses from people using P & O. Having had Cruises with Royal Caribbean & Cunard, we thought we would see how they compared. Firstly, the boarding chaos was never explained by any P & O official. (It took over one hour & 30 mins TO check in). You were left in your car outside the dock for 45 mins WITH NO EXPLANATION before being herded into a chaotic receiving hall where we were given Numbers & told to take a seat (There were none) until your number was called. Cabin & Steward was excellent, & kept spotless during the voyage. Dining was very good in the Saffron Restaurant & waiters were brilliant. We also used the Self-service dining areas which were pleasant & fairly spacious & well staffed; However, the buffet area was quite small & crowded. There are activities but they are fairly low key & mostly appealing to children. One activity in the main Atrium was a display of how to make a Bed in under 2. 30 secs?! This actual drew a sizeable crowd, I think primarily because of disbelief that this could be a judged an 'activity.' People on holiday actually took part! The trips/excursions were a shambles. Oporto was called off because of rough seas, with the Captain sounding less than sympathetic! Spending an extra day in Lisbon. Then two full days at sea?! Until Our visit to Guernsey!! Where to begin... 21/2 hours queue to get a ticket to get into the 'Actual' queue for the Tender. 3hrs.20 mins set foot on Guernsey! Then, a 3-hour queue to come back. You couldn't invent it! The Ventura left 2 Hours later than the original 'back to the boat' They have no concept of how to organize any large gathering & Officers are nowhere to be seen. Finally, 2 hours to disembark! I shall leave the tale of Two ships there. Good Cabins & Good food vs laughable organization skills. I leave you with final Bon-Mot. An Illusionist was booked for the Area theater but couldn't be found? Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never ... Read More
Embarkation. A bit chaotic, to say the least. We were due to check in at 15:30 but were still queuing to park the car at that time. Apparently there were issues with the airbridge connecting the ship to the terminal, although we were never told officially. We eventually boarded at around 17:00, just in time to get to the emergency drill. Ship & cabin. It was our fifth time on the Ventura and the ship & cabin were spotless. She's a good ship with plenty of room and public spaces. Dining. Definitely gone downhill. First night's meal in the MDR was what I'd expect to be served in prison. It got better but not as good as it used to be. The food at the Sindhu was excellent, however, and well worth the £20 surcharge. The buffet is a bit of a bunfight; too much pushing and shoving in the queues and not enough seating. Entertainment. Singing and dancing is not our cup of tea but there’s plenty of it if you like that sort of thing. The comedian/magician was a bit amateurish and bordering on racist and didn’t get many laughs. The quizzes are good, though, and there’s a good atmosphere in the pub/bar (The Exchange). The Great British Sailaway was jingoistic and cringe-worthy. Ports. Vigo is not the most exciting port in Europe but we had a nice walk to the top of the hill and had a couple of drinks, getting back on board just before the heavens opened. Lisbon is a great city. We walked to the castle and had a good stroll around the squares. Sadly Porto had to be cancelled due to the rough seas. The captain was apologetic but one or two people were heard moaning. They’d have moaned even more if the ship had run into difficulties getting into port. Guernsey is a tender port and we decided to skip breakfast and get on an early tender. Luckily there was not much of a wait. A different story coming back, though. Some choppy seas slowed the tendering process down and we waited for 45 minutes to get back to our ship; a lot quicker than some people from what I heard. Disembarkation. A total shambles. We elected to self-disembark but so did half the ship apparently. They were totally unprepared and the queues were ridiculous. Took over an hour to get off of the ship. Nobody seemed to be organising anything and the crew just seemed to be helpless observers. Overall a good cruise but P&O are not what they used to be. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our first cruise with P&O and we had both good and bad experiences. We would try P&O again but I think the experience we had this time was not the best. Positives Ship was excellent, really good condition. We loved ... Read More
This was our first cruise with P&O and we had both good and bad experiences. We would try P&O again but I think the experience we had this time was not the best. Positives Ship was excellent, really good condition. We loved the Metropolis and Tamarind bars. Evening dining was good considering the number of people they have to serve. Service was efficient but not particularly friendly. Cabins were good, well appointed and clean. Entertainment was of good quality (although sometimes not for us). Decent drinks prices. Negatives Both Embarkation and disembarkation were delayed. We missed Oporto so had our excursion cancelled. Evening and daytime entertainment were swapped around, cancelled and delayed (to be fair this was partly due to weather conditions). The Retreat & Oasis pool were unavailable for the whole cruise even though other pools were in use. As a couple of adults this was a disappointment. Buffet wasn't great... Dried food and plastic desserts. Bars were often crowded and loud and we had difficulty getting a seat. Theatre shows in the evening were also very busy. Outstanding We thought the on board comedy magician was naughty but great fun! Our room steward and our table waiters were also excellent, friendly and efficient. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days ... Read More
We have taken over 35 cruises and this was the worst ever. We ate in the main dining room on a table of 8 at the 8.30 sitting. Waiters were friendly but rushed off their feet. Food was ok but lacked any sparkle. Gone are the days when you would have lobster or a nice steak on the black tie nights- pretty standard fare. The evening shows were generally good with the runaround kids and the magic show being by far the best. Watched a few films during sea days- good choice. Waited over an hour to park the car at portside and a further one hour 20 mins to board ( we later found out that there were delays in disembarkation causing delays in boarding) no communication- it was a shambles Once on board we settled into our cabin - a superior delux balcony with a bath- which combined with our cabin stewardess was excellent. Visited the buffet once - pretty standard food with no imagination. We had coffee and some lovely cakes ( at a cost of £2.50 a cup) at the Costa bar. Service there was always polite although my wife was told that she couldn't have a cake or sandwich if she didn't buy a coffee , despite no signs advising us of this fact being present. Not handled by well by waitress - Very rude. First port was Vigo - took a Santiago de Castella on your own tour ie coach picked you up at port dropped you off and collected you £40 per person - what a rip off. 50 passengers at £40 gave P&O £2000 to hire a coach for 5 hours Next port was Lisbon. P&O provided a shuttle bus at £4 each way. We walked into the center square - took us around 20 minutes in a leasurely stroll and had a coffee / custard tart - lovely. Our call at Porto was cancelled due to "high swell" so we stayed in Lisbon for a further half day. Leaving for our next port at Guernsey early afternoon. Woken early on the Thursday morning by the noisy motors lowering the tender boats to go into St Peter Port. P&O kindly provided us with a detailed sheet on the tendering process and pointed out that there was an early morning rush to get off ( what a surprise) and if guests waited until 11.30 any wait would be small. We duly arrived at 11.30 to catch the tender to be met with chaos. Very upset Passengers who had been waiting, staff who didn't have a clue what was going on and no communication / apology from the bridge. Only 3 tender boats running although someone said they were trying to increase the number. We waited for 3 hours to get to the tender (2.30) and in the end didn't go as the last tender back was 5pm. Spoke to several passengers who said they had waited hours to return to the ship. Next problem was due to the late return of the tenders we left Guernsey late and hence returned to Southampton late. We always walk off early with our own cases. But instead of 7.15 ( when everything is quiet ) it was past 8 when all the lifts were full. Gangway was on same deck as breakfast que it was chaos , again angry passengers fed up of being pushed around by staff, and staff who just had no idea of how to communicate or organise - it was shameful. Finally got off the ship and picked up the car with no problem. P&O need to do a lot better - it's a very competitive cruise market with lots of choice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been ... Read More
This was the first cruise for our daughter and son in law with two children age nine and six. We as grandparents have been on Ventura before. Our daughter was impressed with how smart the ship was and we, since our last trip. have been with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity and agree the ship is not a let down. The family chose an extra large balcony cabin on Deck 9 (D728) and that was great for four people. We had a regular balcony on the same deck (D734) and we faced aft. We gained an extra large balcony, mostly shaded, but when ship was at sea the noise from the wake was loud. We had some moderately rough weather and did feel movement and vibration but nothing outrageous. Cabin service was good, our steward cleared the fridge for our bottles and made regular deliveries of ice and lemon. Breakfasts were delivered on time and accurately when we asked. We mostly ate in the main dining room and food was generally very good, only two or three dishes would have been sent back if we were paying by the dish!! The first formal night, with Captain's reception offering a choice of drinks (not just cheap fizz!!) and a special menu, was as as good as any gala night at sea in seven cruises. The disappointment came when the second black tie event did not have any extras and we chose uninspiring dishes from a rather ordinary menu. Our grandchildren appreciated the children's buffet but our daughter and son in law did not enjoy the atmosphere in the main buffet. Following our experience on the American lines the buffet choice is very limited with three counters of the same offering where as others have much greater variety, including free ice cream. Tables were cleared promptly and it felt clean. Entertainment around the ship was varied and generally of good quality. The entertainment manager took a low profile and we appreciated how this avoided a "holiday camp" atmosphere. Astonishing, the new magic and illusion show is brilliant and definitely as good as anything we have seen. The other acts in the main theatre, however, were aimed at the older age group which was a shame on what was intended to be a family cruise during the school holidays with more passengers under 50 that we have ever seen before. The company production of Burt Bacharach songs was well done, but the other four nights we had two shows from a Rock and Roll Band and two shows from a Tina Turner tribute act (All these dating back to the 1950/60s!!). We were not enthusiastic and our children did not even bother after the first night. There were disruptions from weather and other factors which were handled exceptionally poorly. We had an hour long queue in the car to drop off luggage- never known that before. Then, as ship was late in port and there were gangway problems, everyone was boarding at least an hour late. We were however well informed at this stage and seating was available. In Lisbon we were told the weather was too bad to get into Porto so we were staying another day in Lisbon. That second day we left at 11:30 in the morning and this was very limiting as we knew from the first day nothing was fully open before 10am. We reached Guernsey which we knew was a tendered port but the waits to get off ship were horrendous. It was suggested we join the queue late but it took from 10:45 to 1pm to get ashore. We were watching the queue to get back on the ship from about 3 pm and it was never shorter than an estimated two hours. We joined the last tender and got back to the ship 1h15 after it was due to leave. We spent more time waiting than exploring St Peter Port. We did hear there was an extra tender boat for hire but if this could not be used then there should have been a booking system,even a ballot for the popular times. The port arrangements at Vigo and Lisbon were fine both within walking distance of town. Returning to Southampton there was a delay notified the day before but we still had to vacate cabins by 8am and breakfast finished at 9am. We could not get ashore until ten to eleven but Anthony from the ents staff kept us informed as we waited in a restaurant. Our grandchildren really loved the children's clubs and children's entertainer Josh was excellent, but we would have enjoyed more enrichment for the adults to enjoy the free time. We found the drinks very good value and a meal at Sindhu was excellent. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We have done 15 previous cruises with a variety of lines but felt if the opportunity arose we should try P&O as departing from Southampton was very convenient. This opportunity came with a short break we were planning to Lisbon and ... Read More
We have done 15 previous cruises with a variety of lines but felt if the opportunity arose we should try P&O as departing from Southampton was very convenient. This opportunity came with a short break we were planning to Lisbon and Porto and we discovered that Ventura was doing a 7 day cruise with these two ports on the itinerary plus Vigo and Guernsey and it would work out roughly about the same cost as a land based trip We had ‘parking’ included in our fare and arrived at the port at 12.30 pm, only to be held in a queue gazing at the ship for 45 mins until we could start the drop off process for the car and our luggage. Apparently this was due to the late clearing of the ship from the previous cruise. When we made it into the cruise terminal an hour or so later it was heaving with people; it appeared no-one had actually been boarded yet. The culprit of this delay turned out to be a malfunctioning air bridge and eventually after much time spent trying to fix the problem unsuccessfully, boarding commenced via the key side gangplank. Fortuitously, we had been given a blue card which meant that we were amongst the first to board. We found the layout of the Ventura very familiar to other similar class ships we had sailed on and so were very comfortable with our surroundings, we were also pleased to find that although now quite old by cruise industry standards, and a bit dated, she was in good conditional overall. We had booked an ocean view cabin, figuring that we wouldn’t have much use of a balcony crossing the bay of Biscay in April (good call as it turned out) but had to settle for an ‘obstructed view’, this also turned out better than we had hoped as the obstruction was a white life raft container which only blocked half the window vertically so we had an uninterrupted view from the other half. Our steward dropped by to introduce himself and to remind about muster drill at 4.30 pm and to ‘remember to take our life jackets’ (slightly disappointing as other lines no longer require you to take along your life jacket, sensibly deciding that passengers trailing straps caused greater H&S hazards). Our steward was efficient, pleasant and unobtrusive, so full marks there. We headed to the Waterside buffet for something to eat, expecting it to be busy but it was surprisingly quiet. Our first meal was a little uninspiring – limited choice and quite bland, but our expectations of buffet food are never high. We followed this up with coffee and cake at the Costa outlet – whats this? Only ‘one treat’ supplied with each drink purchased!!! We tried not to make comparisons with the International Café on Princess ships where you can gorge yourself on as much as you can eat 24/7 and so many tempting choices. At 4.20 we thought we should get ourselves prepared for muster drill and set off to try and get a seat at our muster station. We did this very easily – there was no-one about apart from a few passengers wandering aimlessly with their life jackets and a bored looking ‘Muster’ crew member perched on a window ledge studying his phone. 4.30 came and went and only one or two people appeared for the drill so we waited, and then just before 5.00 pm it was announced that due to the late boarding of many of the passengers, muster drill had been put back until 5.30 pm grrrrr.. We were on flexible dining and headed off to eat at about 7.00 pm and as we were happy to share we were seated quite quickly with some pleasant table mates. Bread rolls were offered and these were of the soggy dough variety. My husband and I both ordered prawn cocktail for starters and both vowed never to order it again – it was vile. We then both had steak which was passable. My desert was a mango and passion fruit pavlova; its presentation caused much interest around the table and could best be described as a ‘deconstructed pavlova’ – seems someone has been watching too much Master Chef! Next day was sea day. Breakfast in the buffet – what can I say, standard canteen fare and if you chose hot food it was cold by the time you came to eat it. On the plus side though there was no problem finding seating if you headed to the back of the ship. We passed the day exploring the ship and taking part in some trivia and were thrilled that we were able to watch the Grand National live in the Exchange bar. We liked the ambiance of the Exchange bar and took part in several rounds of trivia there and played on a few on the limited slot machines. It was also ‘formal night’ and it appeared that my husband had brought the wrong colour suit. We were firmly told that unless it was a dark coloured suit we wouldn’t be allowed in certain venues so we opted to eat in The Beach House and had a very good meal there – well worth the additional cost. We were somewhat miffed however to see other gentlemen passengers in formal attire that was anything but ‘dark’. We ate at The Beach house again on the next formal night and also tried ‘Sindhu’ which we felt was ‘nice’ but more style than substance. Entertainment was hit and miss. We very much enjoyed the Tina Turner Tribute act. There was a singer scheduled in the Havanna club one evening just after the ‘family disco’ finished. The small kids were so ‘hyped up’ by then that they continued to run around on the dance floor whilst this poor girl was trying to perform and behind us a group of single mums chattered away oblivious to her performance – we felt so embarrassed for her. Later in the cruise we got chatting to a couple who were first time cruisers; the wife was a retired nursery nurse at Butlins and even she was horrified that the children on the cruise were allowed so much freedom; she said even in Butlins they weren’t allowed in the venues after 9.00 pm, and their experience this time made them question whether they would cruise again. The weather was too chilly to use the pool decks much and the entertainment team seemed to struggle to come up with indoor activities to fill the void; who would guess that ‘how to make a bed properly’ had so much potential to be a spectator sport! Our first port was Vigo. We realised that being Sunday there would be very little open so we were not disappointed. So after a pleasant stroll around the town and up to the fort we returned to the ship. Hubby fancied a burger so we headed up to deck 15. I took one look at the offering and headed back into the buffet for a cheese roll! Hubby bravely went for burger, hot dog and chips and even he (who will eat most fast food) had to admit that the pre-cooked items wrapped in paper, was not an experience he wished to repeat. We then hit Lisbon, which for us was the highlight of the trip and we were not at all disappointed. We enjoyed the best weather of the trip which for the most part was very disappointing. The Captain had already announced that we would be missing Porto due to the weather and sea conditions but the bonus was that we were to overnight in Lisbon allowing us a few additional hours ashore next morning. Our final stop was Guernsey, a tender port, and we received a notification in our cabin the day before that ‘demand for tenders was expected to be very busy up until about 11.30 am but after that we would probably be able to breeze on to a tender as we wished’. It appeared that most of the ship had headed this advice and as we headed for the departure lounge at about 11.20 we found a queue which snaked from one side of the atrium through the art gallery and up to other side of the atrium before even reaching the point where the tender tickets were being issued. We had a trip booked for 1.30 pm and had planned to have a few hours exploring St Peter Port and a spot of lunch before the tour. We started to panic at about 12.15 when we were still queuing for tickets and mentioned that we were booked on a tour so were fast tracked through – even then we didn’t make it onto shore until 1.20. Guernsey was delightful – we were on a mini bus tour of the island with a final stop for ‘gin tasting’ – the samples were very generous and having missed lunch we quickly got quite light headed. We were taken back to port for 4.30 pm (last tender was supposed to be 5.00 pm) and found that the queue to get back on the ship was already snaking half way round the port! So another hour or so queuing was awaiting us. We eventually made it back to the ship for 6.00 pm. Nobody could explain exactly what caused the delay, there were suggestions of adverse sea conditions, insufficient numbers of tenders being used and an unexpected arrival of a ferry which stopped the tender process. Someone in the queue worked out that they had queued for 5 hours to get on and off for an 8 hour port stop! The Captain’s evening update included the phrase ‘I understand some of you had a ‘bit of a wait’ for the tender!’ You can’t help but wonder how other lines with the much larger ships manage apparently to operate their tender process much more smoothly and surely P&O have sufficient previous experience to avoid such chaos. We were so hungry when we got back on ship that we hot footed it to the buffet and as they had just opened for evening service we had a surprisingly good turkey carvery. So our last night and the Captain announced that we would be docking back in Southampton during the early hours when most of us would probably still be asleep. Our disembarkation information told us that we had to vacate our cabins by 8.00 am and that we would be due to leave the ship by 10.00 am. Later that evening, the Captain announced that there was a chance of plan and that due to orders from port maritime officers in Southampton, we now couldn’t dock until 7.00 am – no mention that this might cause a knock on effect on the disembarkation process. We took breakfast in the restaurant after clearing our cabin at 8.00 am and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast (don’t order the ‘healthy poached eggs on wholemeal toast’ option – the healthy toast appeared to be very small rounds of something akin to polystyrene). Leisurely chatting with our tablemates we were ‘thrown out’ as they needed to clear the dining room. We then waited at our disembarkation point – The Havanna Club, and being at the back of the ship, we were the last to be called, some 75 mins later than the scheduled time. Never have we been more pleased to get off a ship! Our overall impression of our P&O cruise was mixed, some good, some bad. We enjoyed the port stops and met some nice people, and the crew were lovely. The queuing to get on and off the ship was frustrating and so bad that it was almost entertaining - it certainly sparked the pioneer spirit amongst the passengers. We agreed that it wasn’t one of our best cruising experiences and had it been our first time, I am not sure whether we would be tempted to cruise again. Read Less
Ventura Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 3.0 0.0

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