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If you seek a carefree atmosphere, variety of complimentary dining options and hopping nightlife, you'll find that on Carnival Sunshine. What you'll also get are unique features found on only a few ships in the fleet. From its Cuban-style Havana Bar to a thrilling pair of water slides dubbed the Speedway Splash, the 3,006-passenger ship takes the meaning of "Fun Ship" to a whole new level. Here are five Carnival Sunshine tips to help you make the best of your time onboard.
1. Make the Most of Serenity
Carnival Sunshine's Serenity -- the line's dedicated adults-only sun deck -- is one of the largest on any Carnival ship. Sunbathers 18 and over get their own three decks, tucked away at the front of the ship, with padded loungers, hot tubs, cabanas, a bar and a peaceful waterfall feature that flows into a plunge pool. The best part: Unlike other cruise lines' adults-only retreats, Carnival's doesn't bear a cover charge. For the ultimate in peace and quiet, head farther up and as close to the front end as you can get; areas near the Lido Deck tend to catch noise from the main pool.
2. Wash Down the Premium Cuts with Free Wine
Carnivores and seafood-lovers should head to the ship's steakhouse, Fahrenheit 555, where servers wheel out your chosen cut or sea creature beforehand for a pre-meal introduction and explanation. While it's not free to eat there (there's a $35 fee per person, including children), if you dine on the first day of the cruise you get a bottle of wine thrown in at no charge. Make reservations, as it books up fast.
3. Escape the Breakfast Crowds
The ship's main eatery, the Lido Marketplace, can get busy during its breakfast service. Those in the know, however, can dodge the buffet scrum by heading to the Havana Bar. Two main entrances lead to an abundance of seating and cooking stations where you can order up your morning eggs just the way you like them -- and get to enjoy them with plenty of elbowroom. Another morning alternative is the BlueIguana Cantina, which offers made-to-order breakfast burritos with savory fillings like chicken sausage, ham and hash browns.
4. Save the Water Park for a Port Day
There's no time for long lines at Carnival Sunshine's water park, which has the fleet's only Speedway Splash -- a set of dueling water slides that actually records racers' times and displays them on a scoreboard -- as well as one of the longest Twister water slides. If you're already planning to spend a port day onboard, wait until then to hit the water park. You'll save yourself minutes standing and waiting in the beating sun -- and you might even get to ride your favorite slide more than once.
5. Eat at Bonsai Sushi
One of our favorite sushi restaurants at sea happens to be on Carnival Sunshine, and it's definitely not to be missed. The a la carte menu at Bonsai Sushi serves up a handful of reasonably priced starters, sushi and sashimi (ranging from $1.50 to $5) -- as well as a splurge-worthy "Ship for Two" at $22 that includes soup, salad, California roll and sushi. Bear in mind: Because of the restaurant's popularity, it tends to fill up fast. If you need a sushi fix but want to steer clear of the crowds, go during its sea day hours.