6 Best Binoculars for Alaska Cruise in 2023

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For me, a cruise to Alaska was life-changing. I know that this sounds overly sentimental, but I sincerely found the untouched wilderness, the rugged people, and the wildlife to be unforgettable. If you have the opportunity to go on an Alaska cruise, I urge you to do so.

I came back from my Alaska cruise with a newfound appreciation for nature and a desire to learn more about the world around me.

But before you book your passage, you need to make sure that you’re prepared for the trip. One of the most important things that you’ll need is a good pair of binoculars. Alaska is a land of vast expanses and there is a lot to see. Depending on what exactly you will be doing on the cruise, I suggest you choose binoculars that will be durable, will be resistant to the elements and will offer solid magnification properties.

In this article, we will look at the best binoculars for an Alaska cruise and what to look for when choosing a pair of binoculars for your trip. Whether you will be going whale watching, bird watching, stargazing, or just want to be able to see the breathtaking scenery, we will help you find the perfect pair of binoculars for your needs.

• Bushnell H20 Roof Prism

• Vortex Viper HD

• Barska Encounter Jumbo Binocular

• Vortex Diamondback HD

• Barska X-Trail

• Nikon Action Extreme Waterproof Binoculars

Bushnell H20 Roof Prism

Bushnell H20 Roof Prism

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As one of the best-rated binoculars on Optics Planet, there is a lot to love about Bushnell H20 Roof Prism binoculars. I mean, everything you need in a pair of binoculars is there – it is budget-friendly, completely shock-resistant, nitrogen purged, and 100% waterproof. So, you can take them anywhere – whether you are wandering through a dense, foggy, and wet forest or you are on a small boat in the ocean, these binoculars will not disappoint you.

In terms of specifications, the Bushnell H20 Roof Prism binoculars boast 10x magnification power and 42 mm objective lenses. They also have BaK-4 roof prisms that offer superior light transmission and edge-to-edge clarity. In layman’s terms, these features will get you visually close to your subject and you will be able to see even the smallest details.

All things considered, for a pair that costs less than $150, the Bushnell H20 Roof Prism binoculars offer a lot in terms of features, durability, and performance. If you are looking for an affordable pair of binoculars that can withstand anything, these are the ones for you.

Vortex Viper HD

Vortex Viper HD

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If you are planning on doing some hunting on your Alaska Cruise, then you need a pair of binoculars that were specifically designed for that purpose – like the Vortex Viper HD.

The Vortex Viper HD is one of the most popular hunting binoculars on the market and it is easy to see why. They offer unparalleled grip at this price point and they are extremely rugged and durable. With a magnesium alloy chassis that is covered in rubber armor, they can take a beating and keep on going.

In terms of optics, the Vortex Viper HD binoculars offer HD extra-low dispersion glass that delivers amazing color fidelity and resolution even in the worst possible weather conditions. And hey, when you are going game hunting in Alaska, you better be prepared for some pretty bad weather conditions.

The Vortex Viper HD also has XR fully multi-coated lenses that increase light transmission with multiple anti-reflective coatings on all air-to-glass surfaces. A feature that will help you a lot when you are trying to spot game in low-light situations.

In a nutshell, the Vortex Viper HD is one of the best pairs of binoculars for an Alaska cruise – especially if you are planning on doing some hunting while you are there.

Barska Encounter Jumbo Binocular

Barska Encounter Jumbo Binocular

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A rugged, powerful, and absolutely powerful pair of binoculars. This pair from Barska comes at a premium price, so I would not recommend this product for people going on a quick leisurely Alaska cruise. This pair is just too expensive and it takes several trips to Alaska to fully know what kind of observing experience you are looking for during your cruise.

Now, if you are a seasoned nature spotter, then this binocular just might be what you need to take your viewing experience to the next level. The Encounter Jumbo boasts 16x magnification power and 70mm objective lenses.

With parameters such as these, you will not necessarily have to limit yourself to seeing rare wildlife and birds – you could use this pair for things like spotting distant mountains, glaciers, and other natural landmarks. Further, these binoculars from Barska are powerful enough to be used as stargazing optics if you are into that sort of thing. Alaska does have relatively little light pollution so why not use your cruise as a first opportunity to check out the night sky?

Vortex Diamondback HD

Vortex Diamondback HD

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Of all the binoculars on this list, the Vortex Diamondback HD is by far the pair with the best grip. I hope that your Alaska cruise will not take place during the vicious storms that this area is known for, but if it should happen, you will be glad to have a pair of binoculars that you can hold on to without worrying about them slipping out of your hands.

For a pair of binoculars that have 15x magnification and a lens diameter of 56mm, this pair is also surprisingly light. It weighs approximately one kg or 34.8 ounces. So, not super light, but you have to take into consideration the fact that this is a truly impressive beast when it comes to its features.

And, the price point is also worth a mention – it is much cheaper than the previously mentioned Barska model, but the features do not fall behind that much. Speaking purely from a value perspective, the Vortex Diamondback HD is one of the best binoculars for an Alaska cruise that you can find on the market.

Barska X-Trail

Barska X-Trail

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If you are on a more strict budget and do not want to burn loads of money for your first cruise, start here. The X-Trail is built by Barska, one of the best manufacturers of binoculars in the world.

One may think that at such a price, the features suffer a little. That is not necessarily the case. Sure, the binocular suffers slightly in the durability department – you will not want to take this pair to super long and intense camping trips that take place in harsh conditions.

However, in terms of raw magnification properties, there is not that much of a difference between the X-Trail and more expensive models.

In terms of image quality, the X-Trail is also a very solid pair of binoculars. They are a solid choice for viewing inanimate objects such as landmarks, mountains, and glaciers. Now, when it comes to viewing animate objects such as animals or birds, I would not recommend using these binoculars for longer than 10 minutes at a time. The reason for this is that the X-Trail does not have the best image stabilization properties.

When all is said and done, this is still an impressive pair of binoculars considering what you pay for it. And, we would not expect anything less than quality from a company like Barska.

Nikon Action Extreme Waterproof Binoculars

Nikon Action Extreme Waterproof Binoculars

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Ah yes, Nikon – reliable, affordable, and always a good choice when you are looking for quality optical equipment.

The Action Extreme from Nikon is similar to Vortex Diamondback HD in that is specifically designed to be used in super harsh weather conditions. Since these products are very similar, I will be doing a quick head-to-head for all of you brave folk heading directly into the storm.

In terms of price, the Nikon will be the cheaper option. However, when it comes to features, I would say that the Vortex Diamondback takes the cake as the lens of the Vortex are a bit wider and the binoculars as a whole feel just a tad bit better in the hand.

Magnification properties are more or less the same – Vortex will give you 15x magnification while the Nikon will give you 16x. Yes, there is a slight increase in the Nikon, but it will not make a legitimate difference in your viewing experience.

So, how to choose? Simple, if you are a novice who knows that the elements will be rough during your Alaska cruise, go for the Nikon. If you are a seasoned enthusiast looking to make a serious upgrade from your previous pair, spend the extra $100 and go for the Vortex HD instead. In the end, both binoculars offer great value for what you pay.

So, there you have it – the best binoculars for an Alaska cruise. Whether you are planning your first tour or are a seasoned enthusiast, a pair of quality binoculars can improve your experience tenfold.

To wrap this all up, I wish that you will enjoy this unforgettable area of the world to the fullest. Be sure to take plenty of pictures and take in everything that this great state has to offer.

Happy cruising!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which binoculars would be most appropriate to take with me to Alaska?

Given the variable light conditions in Alaska and the desire to observe wildlife, binoculars possessing a decent diameter, ideally over 42mm, would be best matched for this setting. The reason being, with a larger diameter, more light is allowed into the binoculars, thus enabling a clear view even in dimmer conditions, which can be probable in the Alaskan outdoors. In terms of design, you will be confronted with two major configurations – roof prism and Porro prism. Roof prism binoculars are generally more streamlined and compact, which would make them a practical option for your Alaskan adventure.

I’m off on an Alaskan cruise. Would there be any use for binoculars during my trip?

Most certainly so! To truly capitalize on the breathtaking wilderness and animal life that is characteristic of Alaska, it would be highly recommended to include a pair of binoculars within your packing list. Viewed from your cruise ship, whether it be from your private balcony or the ship’s deck, the Alaskan wilderness and its inhabitants translate into an unforgettable spectacle with the aid of binoculars. If your itinerary includes a whale-watching cruise, then having a pair of binoculars will be invaluable.

Would packing binoculars for a cruise ship vacation be worth it?

Absolutely, one of the best accessories you can bring along on a cruise vacation is a pair of binoculars! Not only could you use them to spot fascinating marine life such as whales or dolphins but they amplify the experience of arriving at ports. Being able to observe intricacies of new cities from the comfort of your ship, or to enjoy an enhanced view of the landscapes during shore excursions, can really add to your overall cruise experience.

What binocular specification would prove ideal for whale watching?

Based on personal experience and understanding, the binoculars that proved most effective for whale watching were the 7×35 or 8×32 models. The first number represents the magnification, and the second corresponds to the diameter of the larger lenses (in millimeters). The ideal magnification for comfortable and sustained whale watching appears to be 7x or 8x. Any more than this can result in a narrow field of view and an unstable image. These specific configurations are not only compact and simple to maneuver but also versatile, rendering them perfect for other outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching, spectator sports, or other general uses.

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