Woman walking with high rubber boots in the field around the Callanish Stone monuments behind her on the outer hebrides of scotland
Couple hiking around Skellig Michael with a Puffin in the grass in the foreground
Four white, brown, and black haired Shetland ponies in a green field in the Shetland Isles of Scotland
People laying on the grass to capture a close up shot of a puffin in scotland
Guests explore Fingal's Cave, by Zodiac, on the uninhabited island of Staffa, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland
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Europe Northern Europe Cruise

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland

Explore the British and Irish Isles during this 16-day Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise. Meander through English gardens; steep in Irish maritime history and folklore; and visit sacred islands, ancient abbeys and UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland.

From London cruise to Portsmouth, where King Henry VIII’s Tudor warship Mary Rose is on display, then to Fowey for a walk through the Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan. The Isles of Scilly are known for the Tresco Abbey Garden, filled with historic ruins and subtropical plants. In Ireland, explore the maritime history of Cobh; sail by Skellig Michael, a Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a 7th-century monastery still stand (and the site of Luke Skywalker’s secret hideaway planet); purchase a wooly sweater on the Aran Islands; and visit Dun Aengus, a Celtic stone fort perched on the cliff’s edge.

Scotland offers the sacred island of Iona and its 12th-century abbey, the incredible seabird colonies on Outer Hebrides, the Neolithic Callanish stones on the Isle of Lewis, the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Step into medieval St. Magnus Cathedral, possibly land on the uninhabited island of St. Kilda and Zodiac to the music-inspiring geometric basalt columns of Fingal’s Cave off Staffa Island. The Shetland Islands are the perfect finale to this 16-day British and Irish Isles cruise, with Shetland ponies, dramatic landscapes and 4,000 years of history and culture to discover. Disembark in Bergen, Norway, with two weeks of unforgettable experiences locked in your memory bank.

The 16-day Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise is aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer. This home-base is perfect for exploring the best of the United Kingdom, including well-known visitor spots and rarely visited, hard-to-reach gems. Equipped with National Geographic guides, historians, photographers and expert leaders, and built as a polar expedition vessel, the Nat Geo Explorer slices through the British and Irish Isles with speed, stability and grace, navigating easily to small, ancient islands as well as larger city ports. In addition to the main itinerary, there is also a reverse itinerary that begins in Bergen, Norway and ends in London, England.

Read on for details about this trip, or learn more about AdventureSmith’s Northern Europe cruises.



Itinerary

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland Itinerary

This 16-day British, Scottish and Irish Isles cruise embarks in London, England and disembarks in Bergen, Norway.

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland and Scotland cruise route map.
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Days 1 - 2
Arrive London, England & Embark

Fly overnight to London. Embark in the city center in time for lunch and set sail down the Thames.

Accommodations

n/a (day 1); National Geographic Explorer (day 2)

Meals

n/a (day 1); lunch and dinner (day 2)

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Day 3
Portsmouth, England

Visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and climb inside the HMS Victory. Visit the partially restored Tudor warship Mary Rose, deployed by King Henry VIII. Alternatively, join the naturalist guide for a drive to the lively estuary at Titchfield Haven to walk the trails and look for visiting birds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 4
Fowey, England

Stroll the medieval streets of Fowey (pronounced “Foy”) before visiting the Eden Project, a botanical garden with vast biomes. In the afternoon, visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, left derelict after WWI and recently restored, or choose to explore Fowey’s town center.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 5
Isles of Scilly, England

Sail the isles of Scilly and see Tresco Abbey Garden’s flourishing garden, filled with historic ruins and subtropical plants.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 6
Cobh, Ireland

Arrive in colorful Cobh, a place steeped in maritime history. Visit the fascinating Heritage Centre and walk in the footsteps of the many Irish who fled the hardships of 19th century Ireland and immigrated to America.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
Skellig Michael, Valentia Island & Dingle, Ireland

Sail by Skellig Michael, a Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a 7th-century monastery still stand. Visit Valentia Island for its dramatic cliffs and a visit to The Skellig Experience Visitor Center. Spend the afternoon discovering the picturesque seaside town of Dingle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 8
Inishmore & Aran Islands, Ireland

Visit Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Known for its religious and cultural heritage, Dun Aengus is a Celtic stone fort perched on a cliff’s edge.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 9
Exploring Northwestern Ireland

Discover northwestern Ireland: a wild and windswept region where Gaelic is still spoken. Steeped in history and folklore, the dramatic landscape of counties Sligo and Donegal inspired the works of W.B. Yeats.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Iona, Staffa & Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Visit the sacred island of Iona and its 12th-century abbey, believed to be the origin of the Book of Kells. Explore Staffa Island, famed for its geometric basalt columns and Zodiac into dramatic Fingal’s Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
St. Kilda & Callanish, Scotland

Visit the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, boasting incredible seabird colonies. Conditions permitting, make a landing at the uninhabited St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Later, see the Neolithic Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Orkney, Scotland

Discover the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stoneslab village of Skara Brae. Step into medieval St. Magnus Cathedral, crafted from local red and yellow sandstone.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 13 - 14
Exploring the Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Shetland Islands archipelago is characterized by incredible cultural traditions and dramatic landscapes. Experience this for yourself while stepping ashore at one of the many remote islands in the region.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 15
Shetlands & At Sea

Drive through a rolling landscape with Shetland ponies. Explore the ruins at Jarlshof, which reveal 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement. Sail from Shetland Island to Bergen, Norway.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

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Day 16
Disembark Bergen, Norway

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; alcoholic beverages (except premium brands); excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to ship’s crew.

Exclusions

Air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The main Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise begins in London, England (LHR) and ends in Bergen, Norway (BGO). Group flights are recommended for this cruise, and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with details for your specific departure. General recommendations are to arrive to London by mid-morning on embarkation day (day 2 of itinerary). A hospitality room at a central hotel will be available from 9:00am on day of embarkation for luggage storage and refreshments, before a transfer to the ship at noon. Disembarkation is after breakfast on day 16 of the itinerary. Plan to depart Bergen on the final day of the cruise no earlier than 10:30am. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include walking, hiking, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, wildlife observation and morning yoga and stretching.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $100,000 per person. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free 

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

 

Reverse Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland Itinerary

This 16-day Reverse British, Scottish and Irish Isles cruise embarks in in Bergen, Norway and disembarks in London, England.

Ancient Isles: England, Ireland and Scotland cruise route map.
Read More
Days 1 - 2
Arrive Bergen, Norway & Embark

Fly overnight to Bergen. Embark and sail across the North Sea enroute to Shetland.

Accommodations

n/a (day 1); National Geographic Explorer (day 2)

Meals

n/a (day 1); lunch and dinner (day 2)

Read More
Day 3
Lerwick, Shetland

Drive through a rolling landscape with Shetland ponies. Explore the ruins at Jarlshof, which reveal 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Days 4 - 5
Exploring the Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Shetland Islands archipelago is characterized by incredible cultural traditions and dramatic landscapes. Experience this for yourself while stepping ashore at one of the many remote islands in the region.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 6
Orkney, Scotland

Discover the Stone Age megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stoneslab village of Skara Brae. Step into medieval St. Magnus Cathedral, crafted from local red and yellow sandstone.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 7
St. Kilda & Callanish, Scotland

Visit the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, boasting incredible seabird colonies. Conditions permitting, make a landing at the uninhabited St. Kilda, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Later, see the Neolithic Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 8
Iona, Staffa & Inner Hebrides, Scotland

Visit the sacred island of Iona and its 12th-century abbey, believed to be the origin of the Book of Kells. Explore Staffa Island, famed for its geometric basalt columns and Zodiac into dramatic Fingal’s Cave.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 9
Exploring Northwestern Ireland

Discover northwestern Ireland: a wild and windswept region where Gaelic is still spoken. Steeped in history and folklore, the dramatic landscape of counties Sligo and Donegal inspired the works of W.B. Yeats.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 10
Inishmore & Aran Islands, Ireland

Visit Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Known for its religious and cultural heritage, Dun Aengus is a Celtic stone fort perched on a cliff’s edge.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 11
Skellig Michael, Valentia Island & Dingle, Ireland

Sail by Skellig Michael, a Celtic Christian hermitage where beehive huts and remains of a 7th-century monastery still stand. Visit Valentia Island for its dramatic cliffs and a visit to The Skellig Experience Visitor Center. Spend the afternoon discovering the picturesque seaside town of Dingle.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 12
Cobh, Ireland

Arrive in colorful Cobh, a place steeped in maritime history. Visit the fascinating Heritage Centre and walk in the footsteps of the many Irish who fled the hardships of 19th century Ireland and immigrated to America.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 13
Isles of Scilly, England

Sail the isles of Scilly and see Tresco Abbey Garden’s flourishing garden, filled with historic ruins and subtropical plants.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 14
Fowey, England

Stroll the medieval streets of Fowey (pronounced “Foy”) before visiting the Eden Project, a botanical garden with vast biomes. In the afternoon, visit the Lost Gardens of Heligan, left derelict after WWI and recently restored, or choose to explore Fowey’s town center.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 15
Portsmouth, England

Visit the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and climb inside the HMS Victory. Visit the partially restored Tudor warship Mary Rose, deployed by King Henry VIII. Alternatively, join the naturalist guide for a drive to the lively estuary at Titchfield Haven to walk the trails and look for visiting birds.

Accommodations

National Geographic Explorer

Meals

breakfast, lunch, dinner

Read More
Day 16
Disembark London, England

Disembark after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodations

n/a

Meals

breakfast

Read More
Details
Inclusions, Terms & Notes

Included

Accommodations; meals indicated; alcoholic beverages (except premium brands); excursions; services of expedition leader, naturalist staff and expert guides; use of kayaks; entrance fees; all port charges and service taxes; gratuities to ship’s crew.

Exclusions

Air transportation; extensions; personal items such as emails, laundry, voyage DVD, etc.; insurance of any kind.

Payment & Cancellation

In order to confirm this trip, a deposit of $2,500 is required per person at time of booking. The balance of the trip price is due 120 days before the departure date. Special holiday payment and cancellation terms may apply. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. Standard cancellations are subject to the following per-person penalties, based on number of days prior to departure:
180 or more days – $750 of deposit retained (may be applied to future trip by trip operator)
179 to 120 days – 100% of deposit
119 to 90 days – 25% of total trip cost
89 to 60 days – 50% of total trip cost
59 to 0 days – 100% of total trip cost

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A Traveler Information Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. Your Adventure Specialist will send you a unique link to complete this form along with a packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information upon booking confirmation.

Arrival & Departure

The Reverse Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland cruise begins in Bergen, Norway (BGO) and ends in London, England (LHR). Group flights are recommended for this cruise, and your AdventureSmith Specialist can assist with details for your specific departure. General recommendations are to arrive no later than 11:00am to Bergen on embarkation day (day 2 of itinerary). Disembarkation is after breakfast on day 16 of the itinerary. Plan to depart London on the final day of the cruise no earlier than 12:00pm. If you would like assistance with international flights, please visit our Booking Flights resource page.

Activities

Whether you are looking for light activity options or more challenging outdoor pursuits, the ship’s crew can tailor most excursions to suit your skill level. Adventure activities may include walking, hiking, kayaking, inflatable boat/skiff excursions, photography, wildlife observation and morning yoga and stretching.

Room Configuration

In addition to listed Solo cabin rates, select double-occupancy cabins may be available for single occupancy with a single supplement fee. If you would like to share accommodations with another guest of the same gender, we will be happy to try to accommodate you in select cabin categories. This program allows you to pay the per person double-occupancy rate whether or not a roommate is found. Contact AdventureSmith for further details and availability.

Families & Children

Children under the age of 18 are eligible for $500 off the double occupancy rate. Skilled staff members trained with National Geographic Education organize activities that inspire curiosity in young people of all ages. Programming for kids may include activities like photo workshops, journaling, scavenger hunts, Zodiac-driving lessons, hands-on nature and science programming and kid-friendly menu options.

Travel Insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance is mandatory for this trip, with a minimum recommended coverage of $100,000 per person. Trip cancellation insurance is optional but highly recommended. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 15 or 21 days of booking (depending on plan) for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions; refer to plan details. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free 

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, national park regulation or at the captain’s discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of small ship cruising unique.

Rates & Dates

Cruise Rates & Dates

See Deals section for details on flexible booking policies.

May 29 - Jun 13, 2021
National Geographic Explorer • 16 days
arrows going opposite directions
From $16590USD
Per Person
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Jun 12 - Jun 27, 2021
National Geographic Explorer • 16 days
From $16590USD
Per Person
Read More
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Accommodation

Learn About the Small Ship on Your Itinerary 

Expedition Ship
National Geographic Explorer

The National Geographic Explorer is a state-of-the-art expedition ship accommodating 148 guests in 81 outside cabins. She is fully stabilized, enabling her to navigate polar passages while providing comfort.

Deal

Current Deals on This Trip

Add to Wishlist
Offer expires December 31st, 2020
Flexible Cancellation Available Close To Departure on 2020 & 2021 National Geographic Expeditions

Book or re-book 2020 & 2021 travel aboard the National Geographic fleet of ships with confidence using these risk-free, flexible policy details.

Book with the confidence that comes from experience.

100+ combined years of experience, 7 continents explored, decades of expedition cruising around the world & here to help you find & book your dream trip.

Extend Your Trip

Additional Travel Options Before or After Your Cruise

In conjunction with this cruise, the following pre-cruise option is available for a seamless land-and-sea group travel experience with National Geographic guides and fellow passengers. Contact AdvntureSmith Explorations for pricing and further details.

Scotland Highlands Extension is a 4-day pre-cruise exploration of the Scottish Highlands, which visits Inverness, Scotland, and tours Culloden, the site of the last battle fought on British soil: the bloody Battle of Culloden in 1746. Visit Cawdor Castle; drive through the magnificent Cairngorm Mountains to Stirling Castle and visit Rosslyn Chapel, built in 1446 by Sir William St Clair, and known as a place of pilgrimage for the Knights Templar where undisturbed vaults are believed to contain fantastic holy relics like early gospels, the Ark of the Covenant, the Stone of Destiny and even the mummified head of Christ. Then travel to Edinburgh to see some of the city’s main landmarks including Princes Street and the UNESCO Georgian New Town.

Norway’s Fjords Extension is a 5-day pre-cruise or 6-day post-cruise journey between Oslo and Bergen, Norway. Explore the legendary Norwegian coastline that connects Oslo and Bergen with thrilling rides via railway, boat, ferry and motor coach. The rich landscapes of southern Norway, including Sognefjord—the longest and deepest fjord in Norway are must-do on any exploration of the fjordlands. Along the way enjoy hotel stays set on the shores of magnificent fjords, offering relaxing activities like hiking, kayaking or canoeing in the fjord.

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7 Day Cruise
Classic England River Thames Cruise

On this 7-day barge cruise in England, explore London, castles, gardens, churches, rural villages and the charming English countryside aboard the intimate and stylish 8-guest Magna Carta, with biking and walking options along the way.

Special Offer
From $4890USD
Apr May Jul Aug Sep Oct
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17 Day Cruise
Norway's Fjords & Arctic Svalbard

Join National Geographic expert leaders aboard the 126-guest National Geographic Endurance to see the Arctic's unparallelled beauty, exploring where polar bears prowl and walruses haul out on rocky shores.

Special Offer
From $19420USD
Apr May Jun
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12 Day Cruise
From the Highlands to the High Arctic

Cruise from Edinburgh, Scotland to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen aboard the 114-guest Sea Spirit on this epic adventure with stops at the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen and Fair Isle, which feature over 345 bird species, deep-green hills, bright blue sea and colorful communities.

Special Offer
From $4895USD
May Jun
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Sail aboard the 148-guest National Geographic Explorer to nine different countries that dot the shores of the Baltic Sea for a whirlwind exploratory cruise through the history and cultures of these varied places.

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Classic Ireland River Cruise

On this 7-day Ireland barge cruise aboard 10-guest Shannon Princess, enjoy Irish music, falconry, castles, pubs, the world's oldest licensed whiskey distillery, artisan craft villages and the welcoming people of The Emerald Isle.

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From $4590USD
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Ancient Isles: England, Ireland & Scotland

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