The Best Binoculars for an Alaska Cruise: How to Choose - Cotton Camera Carrying Systems

The Best Binoculars for an Alaska Cruise: How to Choose

An Alaska cruise offers some of the most breathtaking and diverse natural scenery in the world, from towering glaciers and majestic fjords to abundant wildlife and pristine forests. To fully appreciate and experience these wonders, a good pair of binoculars is essential. This guide will help you understand the features to look for when choosing the best binoculars for your Alaska cruise, ensuring you don’t miss a single detail of this incredible journey.

Key Features to Look For

Magnification and Objective Lens Diameter

The two main specifications to consider in binoculars are magnification and objective lens diameter, typically noted as 8x42 or 10x50.

  • Magnification: A magnification of 8x to 10x is ideal for an Alaska cruise. This range offers a good balance between zooming in on distant objects and maintaining a steady image, which is crucial on a moving ship.
  • Objective Lens Diameter: The second number, such as 42 in 8x42, indicates the diameter of the objective lenses in millimeters. Larger diameters (42mm to 50mm) gather more light, providing clearer and brighter images, especially in low-light conditions typical of early mornings and late evenings in Alaska.

Waterproof and Fog-Proof

Alaska’s weather can be unpredictable, with frequent rain, mist, and varying temperatures. Binoculars that are both waterproof and fog-proof are essential to withstand these conditions. Look for features such as:

  • O-ring Seals: To keep water and moisture out.
  • Nitrogen or Argon Purging: To prevent internal fogging caused by rapid temperature changes.

Image Stabilization

Considering the motion of the ship, binoculars with image stabilization can be extremely helpful. This technology reduces the shaking effect, allowing you to enjoy a steady view of wildlife and landscapes even while the ship is moving.

Field of View

A wide field of view is beneficial for scanning large areas, which is particularly useful when searching for wildlife like whales, bears, and seabirds. A field of view of at least 300 feet at 1,000 yards is recommended for an Alaska cruise.

Eye Relief

Eye relief is the distance from the eyepiece to your eye while still seeing the full field of view. This is particularly important for eyeglass wearers. Look for binoculars with an eye relief of at least 15mm to ensure comfort during extended use.

Durability and Build Quality

Given the rugged environment of Alaska, your binoculars should be durable and robust. Features to consider include:

  • Rubber Armor Coating: For shock resistance and a secure grip.
  • High-Quality Construction Materials: Such as magnesium or polycarbonate bodies that offer strength without being too heavy.

Lens Coating

Quality lens coatings improve light transmission and reduce glare, leading to brighter and clearer images. Fully multi-coated lenses are the best option, ensuring each lens surface has multiple layers of anti-reflective coating.


Size and Weight

While larger binoculars often provide better image quality, they can be cumbersome to carry and use for extended periods. Consider a balance between performance and portability. Compact binoculars (around 25mm to 30mm objective lens diameter) can be a good compromise for ease of use and carrying convenience.


Carrying Your Binoculars on a Cruise Ship

Enhancing your Alaska cruise experience isn't just about choosing the right binoculars; it's also about how you carry them. Our binocular slings provide a practical solution for keeping your binoculars easily accessible and comfortably carried throughout your journey. Designed to distribute the weight evenly across your shoulders, the slings reduce strain during long hours of use. Their quick-release mechanism allows for rapid access to your binoculars, ensuring you never miss a moment of the stunning Alaskan scenery and wildlife. Pairing your binoculars with our binocular slings will make your cruise more enjoyable and hassle-free, allowing you to focus on capturing the beauty around you.


Choosing the right binoculars for an Alaska cruise involves balancing several key features to enhance your viewing experience. Look for binoculars with 8x to 10x magnification, a wide field of view, waterproof and fog-proof construction, image stabilization, and high-quality lens coatings. Durability and comfort are also crucial, ensuring your binoculars can handle the rugged Alaskan environment while providing clear and stable views of its stunning landscapes and wildlife. With the right pair of binoculars, you’ll be well-equipped to capture every moment of your unforgettable Alaska cruise adventure.