Best Binoculars for Cruise Holidays 8

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We received several requests from customers going on cruise holidays and wanting to know which binoculars would be best to bring along. If you’re about to embark on a cruise, then a good pair of binoculars will certainly enhance your experience. The following guide will help you understand what to look for when choosing the right pair. We’ve also listed our top 3 binoculars for cruise holidays.

Best Binoculars for Cruise Holidays

Binoculars Basics

When shopping for binoculars, you will notice that two numbers accompany every model name. For example 8×42, 7×50, 10×50 etc. The first number is the magnification of the binoculars (also referred to as power or zoom). The second number is the diameter of their lenses. So 8×42 binoculars, for example, means they have 8x magnification and 42mm lenses.

Magnification and Stabilisation Issues

When choosing binoculars to take on a cruise, it is very important to know that high magnification models will prove to be completely useless! The issue with using binoculars is that every shake of your hands is also magnified as much as the image is. Since you will be standing on a moving platform (the boat), it is nearly impossible to achieve a stable image with any more than 7x or 8x magnification. This issue becomes even more relevant when the waves are high or when the boat is shaking.

We find that either 7x or 8x magnification works best while onboard. Note that 8x magnification binoculars are also considered ideal for other uses such as watching scenery, wildlife, bird watching or sports. 7x or 8x binoculars are not only easier to stabilise but also provide a wider field of view than higher magnification models.

Waterproofing for Cruise Binoculars

Good marine binoculars can cost up to $2000 – but for the purpose of cruise holidays alone you don’t need to spend that kind of money. Any medium range waterproof binoculars will do the job. The advantage of waterproofing in binoculars is that it usually comes with fog-proofing. This means that your binoculars will not fog up in varying temperatures. Good waterproofing will also prevent moisture inside your binoculars and extend their lifespan. These features are especially handy if your destinations include Alaska, Canada, Iceland, South America or similar.

Size and Weight

When it comes to the size and weight of your cruise binoculars, it really doesn’t matter. You can get whatever you want. They are usually kept on a boat and only utilised when over the water. Note that marine binoculars, normally 7×50, can be quite bulky and heavy. So if you also want to use your binoculars while touring on land, then you should consider a slightly smaller pair. Compact size waterproofed binoculars are a popular choice for those who like to travel light. Or alternatively, mid-sized binoculars if you want a good balance between size and image quality.

Our Top 3 Cruise Binoculars for 2021

** Note: All 3 binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

Bushnell 7×50 H2O – Full size marine binoculars. Produce brighter and sharper images even in low light. Unfortunately quite heavy and bulky so only suitable if you need good strong binoculars to keep on your boat. Weight: 978 grams. On sale for $295 + free delivery

Avalon 8×32 Mini HD – For those who like to travel light. Compact, lightweight binoculars (416g). 8x magnification and easy to stabilise on the cruise or on land. Extra wide 6.9 degrees view. 100% Waterproof and fog-proof. High quality optics at an affordable price. $299 + free delivery

Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 – A best seller and our favourite model at this price range. Outstanding image quality, waterproof & fog-proof. Mid-sized and comfortable design. Great all-around binoculars featuring Zeiss supreme glass. Perfect for cruise and any other use. $879 + free delivery


  1. I am travelling to Antarctica In Hsnusry and then Norway And Arctic in 2020
    I have done s fair amount of internet searching including your website. I am thinking an 8×32 compact is best.
    I have narrowed down to the following but am keen for your thoughts and prod and cons on each
    Avalon 8×32
    Bushnells Trophy 8×32
    Pentax 9×28
    Vortex diamond back 8×28
    I note you seem to recommend the Avalon although this doesn’t seem to get a wide coverage
    Look forward to hearing from you do I can proceed with my purchase

    1. Hi Graeme,

      We suggest not to get anything with less than 32mm objective lenses. (i.e. not 20mm, 25mm or 28mm). These binoculars don’t provide a bright enough image and the field of view is also normally very restrictive. Some of the models you mentioned were actually discontinued by the manufacturers or in the process of selling their last units before being discontinued. Perhaps they weren’t popular enough.. We also no longer stock Pentax so can’t recommend them. We stopped stocking them due to several quality issues with their products. Bushnell Trophy were pretty good but also discontinued lately. These days 8×32 is the new golden standard for mid-sized binoculars and they work especially well for an Antarctica cruise for the reasons mentioned in the post above. The Vortex Diamondback 8×32 and the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD are both excellent choices and very similar in specs, design and image quality. They both use the same optics. After testing hundreds of models, our personal preference as compact/mid sized binoculars for cruise holidays are still the newly released Avalon 8×32 Mini HD (Platinum) below:×32-mini-hd-binoculars-platinum/. They are surprisingly even cheaper which is a nice bonus. We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. Hi, I’m going on a cruise and want to watch my son swim, is it clear to see with. I’ve read the reviews and my heart is saying Avalon 8×32 mini HD. I had other brands before and they weren’t clear, also bulky and couldn’t take it anywhere. I want binoculars with everything you need in one. I want to use it for the beach, birds and nature. There were a few bad reviews on it however most were good. This shows sharp clear images life like? Sorry for the repeated questions.

    1. Hi Tina,

      We can certainly recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD for watching your son swim, as well as for use on beach, bird watching and nature. They are also a very comfortable size to take along wherever you go (not pocket size but still quite compact and light). Their design, ease of use , portability and most of all image quality are unbeatable for this price point. As an added bonus they are even 100% waterproof! The only better option we would suggest would be the slightly larger Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars which also provide a-bit more magnification. But if portability is very important to you then the 8×32 Mini HD would work just fine. The view is sharp and clear with both models. They are both available in black and in the new Platinum colour. You can find links to these binoculars here:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. On impulse I bought Bushnell Trophy XLT 10x42mm when I saw ithem on sale. I bought them to use on a river cruise. After reading your suggestions, I am guessing these will not be a good choice. I can easily return them. What do you think? Thanks!

    1. Hi Darci,

      These should work fine but might show some image shakiness when used on the cruise due to their slightly higher magnification. But it’s not a huge problem. For other uses they will work great. The Bushnell Trophy XLT have been discontinued by the way, so if you do choose to return them we would do it quickly.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  4. Hi,

    I’m considering a cargo cruise and would like to get a good pair of binoculars which are reasonably compact. I was thinking of either the Bushnell 8X42 H2O Porro Binoculars or the Bushnell 10 or 12X25 H2O Compact. Having read the guide, I see that 7x magnification is recommended, but can I just not zoom the to the max in the case of the 10x or 12x? I don’t want to lug something too heavy (will also have a camera) which is why I’m not considering the Bushnell 7×50 and am a bit hesitant about the 8x42s. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Greg,

      The actual magnification of binoculars cannot be adjusted, only the focus. So you can still point them at subjects either far or near and then only need to turn the focus wheel to get the perfectly sharp image for that distance. If you’ll be using your binoculars from onboard the cruise ship then we strongly recommend no more than 8x magnification. This is because of image shakiness as explained in our buyer guide above. You will also find that the difference between 8x magnification and 10x magnification is not that noticeable in terms of seeing in detail. BUT the difference in image shakiness onboard the ship is very noticable between these two.

      Regarding the 7×50 marine binoculars, they are very bulky porro prism binoculars so if you also have a camera with you and don’t want that much size and weight then these might be an overkill. We would probably go with the compact 8x binoculars, in specific the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD which are waterproof, fog-proof and have a very nice image. Details below:×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular

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