Maid of the Mist Niagara Cruise vs. Hornblower Cruise
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When you head to Niagara Falls one of the things you must do is go on a Niagara Falls cruise or boat tour. There is no other way to experience Niagara Falls first hand, and nothing as iconic as a boat tour. There are two cruises that follow the same path, one is in Canada (Hornblower) and one is the US (Maid of the Mist). How do you know which one to choose?
Both boats have some pros and cons, so read up on these boats before making the best decision for you.
History of boat tours in Niagara Falls
People have been fascinated by Niagara Falls for centuries and in order to get a better view of the beautiful waterfalls. They have gone over the falls in barrels, tried to kayak down, jet skied down, etc.
Boats began crossing the river in the 1840s as a way of transport, but it quickly became a means to see Niagara Falls up close.
The Maid of the Mist began operations in 1846 and has been running boat tours since. The tour take visitors past American Falls and into the basin of Horseshoe Falls. That path is continued today depending on weather and people are still lining up to get close to the spectacular falls.
The Horblower Niagara Falls Cruise
The Hornblower is a boat that offers Niagara Falls boat tours from the Canadian side of the falls. It has been running tours since 2014 which makes them a new kid to the boat tour game. Hornblower offers different tours of Niagara falls, such as glow nights when the falls are lit up with neon colors, fireworks cruises, dinner cruises, and other special cruises.
Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls Cruise
The Maid of the Mist is a Niagara Falls boat tour that leaves from the United States.(It used to run from both the US and Canadian side but now is only available in the US) The Maid of the Mist was founded in 1846 and has been running boat tours ever since. The Maid of the Mist is also accessible to a variety of patrons including those with physical disabilities that may not be able to access other boats.
Comparing Maid of the Mist Niagara Cruise vs. Hornblower Cruise
- Both boats take the exact same route to the falls so no matter which one you pick you will have a great view (up close and wet) of Niagara Falls.
- Both boats provide ponchos for the trip to keep you slightly drier
- Both boats are wheelchair accessible.
- Both boats charge similar prices
- The Hornblower is newer and it is noticeable, so if you prefer a nicely appointed boat this is for you.
- The Horblower is bigger and leaves less frequently.
- The Maid of the Mist is older but if you love history you will love this boat tour.
- The Hornblower offers timed entry tickets so you know which boat you will be on, this is great if you will be in Niagara for the day and know you will make your time.
- The Maid of the Mist sells tickets ahead of time but is first come first served when you get there. If you are arriving to Niagara and not sure when this allows more flexibility.
- Hornblower tickets are sold in Canadian dollars and Maid of the Mist are in American dollars but even accounting for exchange rates the prices are very similar.
- Both Niagara Falls cruises can be booked in a package with other attractions.
Tickets for the Hornblower
Get your tickets for Hornblower Cruise here.
Please remember that these prices are in Canadian Dollars and they may seem higher but you aren’t comparing straight across.
Tickets for Maid of the Mist
Get your tickets for Maid of the Mist here.
Kids 5 and under are free so if you have younger kids that might make for a better financial decision.
Which would Niagara Falls cruise would I choose?
Which would Niagara Falls cruise would I choose? I have done both with my family and both were fabulous. If I had to pick again it would come down to the amount of time I had in Niagara Falls and the time of year.
- If it is summer I would pick the Hornblower because I don’t want to wait in an endless line.
- If I had a quick stop on a road trip from Toronto to NYC (I’ve had this happen) I would choose the Maid of the Mist because I could book last minute and get on no matter what time I arrived.
- If I had never done either I would pick Maid of the Mist because I’m a sucker for history.
- If I had little kids again I would pick Maid of the Mist because it gets expensive.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you will be happy with either! Look at your circumstances and pick the best thing for you. I hope you love your trip to Niagara Falls.
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