Best Binoculars for Cruise Holidays 6

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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 2018

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

Avalon 8×32 Mini HD – For those who like to travel light. Compact, lightweight binoculars (416 grams). 8x Magnification and very 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. $195 inc. free delivery

 

Bushnell 7×50 H2O – Full size marine binoculars. Produce brighter and sharper images even in low light. Durable, waterproof & fog-proof. Ideal if you need good strong binoculars for the cruise as well as other marine use. Weight: 978 grams. On sale for $269 inc. free delivery

 

Nikon Prostaff 8×42 – Nikon’s best seller and our favourite model at this price range. Outstanding image quality, waterproof & fog-proof. Mid-sized but light design (only 665 grams). Great all-around binoculars with Nikon’s best quality optics. Perfect for cruise and any other use. Discounted to $435 inc. free delivery

 

6 Comments

  1. 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
  2. Hi Greg
    I am going on an Alaskan cruise followed by a land section to Fairbanks.
    Have read your recommendations with interest.
    I am in my 70’s so weight is a factor…I am hoping to do a bit of travelling in the next few years.
    I am looking at the Zeiss Terra ED(309 gms)
    &
    Avalon 8×32 (416 gms)
    Am wondering which are the easiest to use..which gives the best results.
    My bird watching friend recommends 8×42 binoculars so also wondering about Nikon Prostaff(665gms)
    Regards

    sSue

    1. Hi Sue,

      If you intend to use the binoculars while on the cruise as well as hiking and traveling, then the Zeiss Terra ED 8×25 or Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars would be best. The 8x magnification is ideal for use both onboard the ship as well as for birdwatching and general viewing (wildlife, nature etc.). The Nikon and other 8×42 binoculars are just as easy to use but they are much bulkier than the compact (8×25 / 8×32) models. Their lenses are larger which means more glass and heavier binoculars. The other advantage of using the smaller versions is that you can hold and operate them single handed while freeing your other hand to hold on to the ship/boat’s rail or to assist you in climbing etc. while hiking. Between the Zeiss 8×25 and the Avalon 8×32 is a hard decision but mainly comes down to price. Both are excellent, durable, high quality binoculars with very sharp images.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. 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:

      https://procular.com.au/avalon-8×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular

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