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.
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 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.
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 $38 fee per adult or $12 fee for children 11 and under), if you dine on the first day of the cruise there's a good chance you'll get a bottle of wine thrown in at no charge. Make reservations, as it books up fast.
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 BlueIguana Cantina, which offers made-to-order breakfast burritos with savory fillings like chicken sausage, ham and hash browns.
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.
One of our favorite sushi restaurants at sea happens to be on Carnival Sunshine (and select other Carnival ships), 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 $7), $7 noodle bowls -- as well as a splurge-worthy "Ship for Two" at $22 that includes soup, salad, a Bang Bang Bonsai Sushi roll, California roll and six pieces of sushi. Bear in mind: Because of the restaurant's popularity, it tends to fill up fast.