Should You Take Binoculars on a Cruise – Here’s What You Should Know

While on a cruise, there are so many new and exciting views you will get to enjoy. However, having a perfect 20/20 vision might not be sufficient, and you might end up missing a once-in-a-lifetime view just because you came unprepared. If you are unsure whether to carry a pair of binoculars or not, this article will help you decide.

You should absolutely take binoculars on a cruise as they help bring the action closer. They will make it easy to watch magnificent whales and dolphins, observe the shore, enjoy the beautiful landscapes, and if you have kids, you can keep an eye on them while they swim.

Make sure to take a separate set of binoculars for yourself and anyone else you will be sharing the adventure with. This is especially true if you are going with kids; you wouldn’t want to fight over one pair when the whales show up.

The cruise ship might have a decent range of binos to choose from, but this is not guaranteed. Besides, there is a likelihood of getting a pair that is too big, too small, scratched, or damaged. In the end, you will end up wishing you had carried your own pair of binoculars.


Below is a guide on the best features to look for when purchasing your binos for that cruise you have longed to go on. It also looks into numerous tips on how to make the most out of your binos.

Features of the perfect pair of cruise binoculars

Not every binocular is suited for a cruise. There are specific features that you should look for before purchasing your gadget. Knowing exactly what to look for will enable you to pick the ideal device without second-guessing your choice.

Size and weight

You will be using the binos both onshore in ports of call and while out in the sea. Consequently, you need to pick a size that will neither be too bulky nor too small. The ideal size is 8x32. An objective lens of 32mm allows sufficient light to pass through, creating clear and crisp images even in low light conditions.

It also offers the perfect size, as anything bigger than 32mm becomes too bulky to carry around, especially when carrying your camera, a bag and whatever else while onshore. The mid-sized binos (8x32) offer impeccable image rendering at a reasonable and manageable size.

A magnification of 8x projects clear and stabilized images. While at sea, the ship encounters waves and sometimes storms; thus, you can expect some heaves, sways, and surges, plus vibrations from the engine. Consequently, you will require a pair of binos with the right magnification and possibly image-stabilization (discussed below).


Image-stabilized binos are designed to counter the shaky movement caused by ships, boats, cars, and our hands as we hold on to the devices. These binos include a mechanism that automatically compensates for any movement to render stabilized and clear images. Having such a device is vital at sea as it guarantees perfect and uninterrupted viewing.


As humans, sometimes we are bound to drop things, and in most cases, it is unintentional. Having a non-slip feature in a pair of binoculars reduces the chances of dropping and damaging the device. Look for a gadget that is ergonomically designed to prevent falls and protect it from impact, scratches, and falls.

This is especially recommended when picking binoculars for children. They will require binos that offer a steady and firm grip. A rubber-armored pair works best, and different brands incorporate different and unique features that support this feature.

Water and moisture resistant

While onshore and in the sea, binoculars will be exposed to a substantial amount of moisture and some water. It is prudent to find binos that are water/fog/moisture resistant. Top brands make devices that are O-sealed and nitrogen purged to ensure that the binos remain undamaged when exposed to wet conditions and to prevent fogging from the inside.


A high-quality pair of binoculars can be used for many years and different purposes. Investing in a device that you can use even after the cruise is over is considered ideal. Yes, there are numerous relatively cheap options in the market, but wouldn’t you want to use the binos again on your next adventure (it can be a safari, concert, hunting, birding, or hiking)?

Rubber eye contact, strong neck strap, and lightweight binos for kids

If your kids are joining you on the cruise, you should find them a device that is ideal for their size. A pair of binos that fits their interpupillary distance should be a top priority. Additionally, find a gadget that offers rubber eye contact to keep the kids’ eyes protected.

The binos should be lightweight to avoid overwhelming the kids and have a strong neck strap to carry the device around the ship easily and onshore. There are numerous kids’ binoculars in the market that come with aesthetic designs and cool carrying cases. Purchasing a pair for the kids makes them feel included and also heightens their overall experience.

Are floating binos or straps important while cruising?

No. The ship will be carrying hundreds or thousands of people on it. So, it can’t turn back so that you can pick the binoculars from the water. Be careful when handling binoculars: they are a valuable investment, and losing them is an unwanted loss.

You might consider floating binos if you want to but as multipurpose devices that you can use in other marine activities.

Are marine binoculars any good for this?

No. This is because marine binoculars’ standard size is 7x50, which makes them quite bulky and heavy. Although baggage restrictions on a ship are minimum, you should pick a device that will be comfortable to carry around and retrieve whenever needed.

What activities can you use binoculars for while on a cruise?

Going on a cruise is one of the many ways you can ignite the adventure-seeking part of you. It is spontaneous, refreshing, and you get to see and learn new things as well as meet people with whom you share a common interest. Additionally, a cruise offers the perfect ambiance to connect or reconnect with your family or friends. Below are some of the ways you can utilize binos while on the cruise;

  1. To observe marine life. For example, you never know when a once-in-a-lifetime view of a gigantic and breathtaking dolphin or whale (humpback, beluga, blue, or others) might present itself. Having a pair of binos ensures you get a clear and crisp view.
  2. While on the cruise, you will get a chance to experience onshore excursions. This is the perfect time to take out your binos and observe the local wildlife or landscape, sharpen your birding technique, or any other activity that you might fancy.
  3. If you are taking the cruise as a family, then a pair of binos is precisely what you need to keep an eye on your children. It allows you to enjoy grown-up activities while still ensuring your kids’ safety at all times. You can easily spot them as they swim with some of their newly-found friends.

Can you stargaze?

Cruise ships are surrounded by darkness, and if you think about it, this should be the ideal place for stargazing. Unfortunately, the ship is filled with bright lights, especially at night, making it nearly impossible to experience a meaningful and fulfilling stargazing experience. You might be able to see a few stars, but the view will be limited to the brightest of the stars.

Take away

Cruise ships last between a few days to several weeks. If you are planning on going on one, then having the necessary tools will heighten the experience. Yes, you should absolutely take a pair of binos with you if you want to experience everything up-close. With the right size (8x32), quality, and best features, you are guaranteed a memorable and life-changing adventure. As you pack your essentials, don’t forget to carry a pair for yourself and anyone else that will be joining in the fun!