My wife and I will be going on our first ALASKAN cruise in August 2006 (Norwegian Sun, RT from Seattle). We are wondering if anyone has a recommendation for what size binoculars to bring. We have some cheap ones already that are great for football games and general use, but if we were going to purchase a "GOOD" set for watching from the ship, what size should we get?
We too are going to Alaska in 2006. I've had the same question and have seen some excellent information on this message board. If you will do a search into some of the past responses to the binoculars question you should find them. I still haven't bought any binoculars, but need to.
7 x 50 or 10 x 50 will be fine. Personally I was happy with 7 x 35. Anything over 10 power will have too much shaking without a tripod.
$35 - $40 at Target or Walmart for Tasco or Bushnell should be plenty fine. My guess is that the glasses you have already for sports are probably fine.
Remember that from the ship the whales and other wildlife will be pretty from from your ship. To really get close up views you'll need a tour from the ports.
For wildlife and other viewing from ship and for wildlife excursions, 10x50,wide angle would be best in my opinion. Smaller ones like 8x25 or so are good for carrying all day on your port days or other excursions. I still prefer camera company brands for their coated glass. Nikon, Pentax, Minolta, Canon. Busnell makes some good binoculars and some really cheap ones. Try to look thru them at Walmart or sporting goods store before buying there or on line. $59-259 should get you great pair.
I didn't bring binouculars but got to try various ones that others I was traveling with had taken. Albiet they are heavier,,10x50 seems to be best,,as long as you have a steady hand. I personally have Bushnells but didn't want to haul them along with me.
I bought a really nice compact pair at Wild Birds Unlimited ( www.wbu.com ). They are Triumph 8x25s by Eagle Optics. Very bright and sharp views plus they're easy to adjust for people with glasses like me! They were $70 but might be cheaper somewhere else.
I also read good reviews for Konica Minolta 8x42 Waterproof Classic Sport Binocs $81 on Amazon.com. I just needed them quicker cuz I'm going in 12 days!
I have long recommended 10x50 wide angle. AT least 10 power is needed in Alaska, and wide angle is necessary if you wish any marine wildlife viewing. I have no problem with "shake" nor have I ever needed a tripod and I just completed my 20th Alaska trip. Try out several and see what you like. Binoculars are a MUST.
Get water proof or water resistant binoculars. Our in-laws had a cheap set of Bushnells and after 10 minutes of whale watching in rainy conditions they were worthless. Moisture had gathered in the lenses so bad they were unusable.
Luckily Captain Larry has binoculars on board.
I was able to salvage them by putting them in a plastic bag with about 20 silica bags. But it took three days to get the moisture out of them.
__________________ Cruisemates Community Leader/Moderator
"There is a great difference between being well traveled and just having been to many places." ~Me