Maid of The Mist vs Hornblower Cruises

hornblower niagara cruises vs maid of the mist

Maid of The Mist vs Hornblower. What are the similarities and differences?

What would be a walk to Niagara Falls, if you do not feel the magic of both tours – Hornblower Niagara Cruise or Maid of the Mist? Which to choose, that is the question. Mainly because of the charm of both trips which are very similar. One you will know for sure – whichever you select, you will never regret it.

hornblower boat cruise niagara

Hornblower Niagara cruise – the essence of the experience…

The Hornblower Niagara Cruise is a boat tour along the Niagara River. Its way is past the American Falls up to the Horseshoe Falls. Your goal is supposed to be one – feeling of the sheer power of the waterfalls. No doubt, you surely will get pretty much wet but this is part of that unusual experience in your life, as it does not happen every day…

Maid of the Mist – something to remember for a lifetime…

Maid of the Mist is a boat tour that takes visitors to both sides of the Niagara River – from the United States and Canada. Even that sounds pretty exciting. You will have strong enough sensations, including getting wet, which you would not complain about though… Until 2012, the tours from both Canada and the USA were managed by one company, but from 2013 onwards the Government of Canada signed a contract with Hornblower – a California-based company which does the tours in Niagara Falls in the same way. The new company had started the ride in 2014 and also introduced some changes and improvements to the tour.

maid of the mist boat

The similarities

The goal

The goal is an unforgettable experience. Both Hornblower Niagara cruises and Maid of the Mist are taking passengers upstream on the Niagara River. The purpose is to view the American Falls, as well as the Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls.

The route

They both are kind of boat tours doing the same trip, same final destination – up to the American Falls to the Horseshoe ones, where your boat goes into the mist of the latter. You will never lose, if you choose each but in case of hesitating, just have a look over the brief information above about these two exciting tours.

Different Operating Seasons

Hornblower Niagara cruises is not operating all year round. The high season begins from May and ends up in September. The boat tours got organized from 8:30am to 8:30pm, and are open for visitors until the middle of November. Maid of the Mist tour is open between May and early November, like Hornblower Niagara cruise, though the season for Hornblower Niagara Cruises is a bit longer. In fact, boat tours start in April and continue until the end of November – all depends on the weather. You can always check up preliminary the schedule and the conditions posted in the information online.

The differences

Now you know about the similarities of both tours. In spite of this, there are differences between the Maid of the Mist and Hornblower Niagara cruises. Look them over, so you can make up your mind, as it is a matter of money and spending your own time.

The starting place

The Maid of the Mist starts sail from Niagara Falls, New York State in USA. Boarding docks are within the Niagara Falls State Park (New York). The guests are to take the lift from the Prospect Point Observation Tower down to the Niagara River shore where is the location of the Maid of the Mist docks. The Hornblower Niagara cruises start from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The location is on Niagara Parkway, at the foot of Clifton Hill.

starting point hornblower maid of the mist
hornblower starting point
starting point hornblower maid of the mist 1
maid of the mist starting point dock

Arrangements of the seats

The Maid of the Mist boat tour does not offer seating areas either on the lower deck or the upper one. There are options for using a wheelchair but the other people have to stay up during the ride. The Hornblower boats have seats, bathrooms, wheelchairs access, as well as enclosed viewing areas on the lower deck for people who are not keen of getting wet. Also, there are open upper decks for maximum viewing.

Online booking options

You can have online booking for both tours but the queues for Maid of the Mist are quite long. When you get your ticket sold, it is valid for any day of the whole season and not for a particular day. Hornblower Niagara Cruises does offer timed arrivals when booking online. That means: passengers could arrive just before the required arrival time on their ticket, and could make their way through an air-conditioned terminal to the docks.

Colour of Ponchos

As you know, both tours are taking you close enough to the Horseshoe Falls and you will get wet. For that reason, the operators provide ponchos for free to keep passengers as dry as possible. The colours vary – Maid of the Mist passengers can be noticed by their blue ponchos, and Hornblower passengers can be identified by their red ones.

poncho colors

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