Best Binoculars for Cruise Holidays 4

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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 £2,000 – 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 bulky and heavy. Suitable if you need good strong binoculars to keep on your boat. Weight: 978 grams. £199 + 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. £169 + 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 (665 grams). Great all-around binoculars with Nikon’s best optics. Perfect for cruise and any other use. £199 + free delivery


  1. Hello. I am a binocular novice. I am buying a flat with a balcony on the Thames in Battersea and I want to look at the many boats and birds on the river. I have tried a friends mini binocular but I preferred the real sized ones. Cannot be heavier than 900 grams or they will be hard to keep lifted. I think I prefer to spend under £150 as this is a new hobby.

    Miss Kirchner
    1. Have a look at the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD Binoculars, they would be prefect for your requirements:×42-pro-hd-binoculars-platinum/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. Good afternoon
    We’re looking at river cruises and would like to take binoculars with us. Would you recommend the same as for ship cruises?
    Thanks for your help

    Ann Jamieson
    1. Hi Ann, yes, best binoculars for a river cruise these would be the same recommendations as for cruise ships above.

      Adam Murray, Procular

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