Hornblower Niagara Cruises offers "Canada's Most Iconic Experience!" through a diverse array of cruises through the Canadian side of the natural wonder that is Niagara Falls.

In this article, we'll explore the various cruises available from Niagara Cruises, and compare the experiences and values to other competitors to frame your choices. When it comes to witnessing the legendary thunderous roar of the "Mighty Falls," your choice of cruise line may be secondary to the experience, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't expect the best of the shift and its amenities.

What Are Hornblower Niagara Cruises?

The Hornblower Niagara Cruises present the natural wonder of Niagara Falls through a variety of packages during different times of the year. Each of these experiences is a unique way to witness the Falls from the Canadian side of the border which also offers regional tourism opportunities.

What sets Hornblower Niagara Cruises aside is their fleet of boats. The company boasts a fleet of state-of-the-art 700-passenger Catamaran boats, which are nimble enough to take you into the heart of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. The "Full Mist" of the Niagara Falls is a key feature of the cruise, through which guests experience the thunderous roar of the Bridal Veil Falls and the notorious cloud of mist from the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

Product Specs

What makes Hornblower Niagara Cruises special is the wide variety of options available, explored below. Further, the food, drinks, and fun to be had at Hornblower Landing and Riverside patio add value to the experience and a place you can hang out in between the day and night offerings. Each boat is stocked with a full bar and food options to add to the experience.

To kick off the day, hang out at and grab some food and drinks dockside. Riverside Patio has an outdoor barbecue, live music in-season, local craft beers, and fine Niagara wines. Then, decide upon one of the many packages that are available to experience the grandeur of Niagara Falls.

Voyage To The Falls Boat Tour

This particular package of the Hornblower Niagara Cruises is priced at CAD 25.95 for adults and CAD 15.95 for children aged 5-12, while those aged 4 and under are free. The ticket includes general admission on the boat tour, a mist poncho to keep your clothes from dampening, complimentary elevator to the boats, and access to Hornblower Landing and Riverside Patio. This package presents 20 minutes of full mist experience.

Voyage To The Falls Evening Boat Tour

This tour is an evening presentation of the Niagara Falls experience. The cruise begins at the outset of dusk and at first, is naturally lit by the sunset, after which the Falls Lighting is exhibited to add an artistic flair to the experience. The Falls Lighting is a $4 million upgrade that features an all-new state-of-the-art, multi-colored LED light project upon the falls at the Bridal Veil and Canadian Horseshoe Falls.

The cost of the Voyage to the Falls Evening Boat Tour is CAD 25.95 for tickets, with CAD 15.95 for children aged 5-14 and those 4 and under free. The cruise operates from dusk to 8:30 and includes a mist poncho, access to Hornblower Landing and Riverside Patio for pre- and post-departure revelry and food.

Falls Illumination Cruise

The Falls Illumination Cruise presents 40 minutes of mist exposure, with the same amenities at the earlier cruises, with select views of the Falls and city skyline that are not available on other outings. The pricing is slightly higher at CAD 29.95 for adults, $26.95 for 5-14 children, and those 4 and under are free.

Falls Fireworks Cruise

The Falls Fireworks Cruise is the most impressive and highly sought after experience possible for the Hornblower Niagara Cruise options. They are 40-minute cruises that not only present the Falls Illumination experience but also a fireworks show that begins overhead at 10:00 pm, and thus there is only one cruise available per evening on those it is available between May and November. The cost is CAD 39.95 for adults, CAD 35.95 for children 5-12, and free for those under 4.

Day and Night Cruise Package

CAD 55.90 for adults, CAD 41.90 for those 5-12, and free for children 4 and under, which includes 1 Voyage to the Falls ticket, and 1 Falls Fireworks Cruise ticket.

Pricing

The pricing of the products is relatively low and affordable given the unique natural wonder being experience and state-of-the-art boats that are used by Hornblower Niagara Cruises. The day and night packages range from $25.95 to CAD 39.95 for adults, and the double cruise package costs $55.90.

How it Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare, so check out what these other cruise lines offer in terms of experience and value before deciding upon how to spend your next vacation witnessing the world atop the water.

Maid of The Mist Boat Tour

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours

TruExperiences Tours - Day Tours

Hornblower Niagara Cruises

The Hornblower Niagara Cruise line offers various experiences of the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, specifically the Bridal Veil and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Feel the mist of the falls during the day and do the same at night complemented by the sunset then an LED lighting system.

Price - $ of $, $$, $$$

Ticket prices are affordable and range from CAD 25.95 to CAD 55.90 for adults, children under 4 are free, and 5-12 are generally around 10% less than adult fares.

Views--5 Stars - (5-star rating system)

The views are one-of-a-kind and also feature the $4 million Falls Illumination lighting system built to enhance your experience.
Additional Perks & Features--5 stars - (5-star rating system)
For the pre- and post- departure, there is the Riverside Patio and Hornblower Landing to enjoy local craft beer, Niagara wine, occasional live music, and some good old BBQ.


Over The Falls Tours

Over the Falls tours has "Sights that will make you say ''Wow!"". The company presents a variety of tours that include experiences on the American side of Niagara Falls, the Canadian side, and a combination of the two.

The Canadian American Tour with Maid of the Mist boat ride takes you on both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls to show you spectacular sights from both nations, and a trip up the Skylon Tower. The Canadian Side Tour with Maid of the Mist Boat Ride is #1 rated on trip advisor and presents you with the mist of the Falls on the Canadian side, and a trip up the Skylon Tower.

The American Side Tour with Maid of the Mist Boat Ride features the natural wonder of Niagara Falls, USA, including the Maid of the Mist boat ride, Cave of the Winds, and the guided tour of Niagara Falls. No passport is required for this cruise, or the Illumination Tour with Maid of the Mist boat ride, which is the evening version of the American side tour. It ends with a nighttime illumination show to dazzle your night with waterfalls lit by fantastic colors.

Price - $$ of $, $$, $$$

Regular prices range from $104.95 to $169.95, children's tickets range from $69.95 to $109.95, although sale prices with approximately 10% reductions in price are common.

Views--5 Stars - (5-star rating system)

The Canadian and American sides of the Falls can be witnessed, during the day, and in the evening. The Skylon Tower is included in two of the packages which give you a Sky Needle-like view of the Falls.
Additional Perks & Features--4 stars -  (5-star rating system)
The cruises are longer, providing more time to enjoy the natural wonder, although the bars and food options of Hornblower are lacking.

Pros

  • Canadian and American Views
  • Day and Night tours
  • More extensive tours

Cons

  • Fewer amenities in terms of food, drinks, and alcohol

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours

Experience the American side of Niagara Falls on open-top jet-boat rides or domed jet-boat rides. One hour jaunts or more extensive tours available, all including experience to the notorious mist of Niagara Falls, in even closer proximity than upon the larger boats of the competition.

Price - $$ of $, $$, $$$

Tickets range from $58.92 to $67.00.

Views--4 Stars -  (5-star rating system)

While the broader perspective of the larger boats or the tower is lacking, the waters of the Falls are experienced more intimately.

Additional Perks & Features--2 Stars - (5-star rating system)

This is more of a straightforward tour of Niagara Falls, with the smaller boats adding the feel of the water to the experience,

Pros

  • Up-Close Experience with the Falls
  • Open or domed options to control the level of water exposure

Cons

  • Closer to the water
  • A lack of amenities due to the open experience

TruExperiences Tours - Day Tours

The calling card of TruExperiences tours is the limited size of the group, 14, which leads to a more intimate experience. The company provides day tours from Toronto, and even non-cruise-related day experiences in Toronto. There is also the option for private tours for couples. There is a related buffet that can be experienced, as well as ease of access to the food and restaurants of the region.

Price - $$ of $, $$, $$$

The pricing of this particular option is relatively broad depending upon whether the limited group tour or private tours are pursued. The entire tour, beginning in Toronto, takes 9 hours. The cost for adults is $160 without lunch, $180 with, and $144 or $160 for children, respectively.

Views--5 Stars - (5-star rating system)

The tour is in-depth and includes professional guides to enhance the experience, and the appreciation, that you have for the Falls.

Additional Perks & Features  - 5 Stars - (5-star rating system)

The boats are modern, including the Hornblower line, lunch is optional, and the life of Toronto is an added bonus to the experience and is included in the guided element.

Pros

  • Extensive guide experience
  • 9-hour all-day adventure

Cons

  • The 9-hour time commitment could be hard to plan for
  • Only leaves from Toronto

Conclusion

The Hornblower Niagara Cruises present a unique way to experience the falls and to witness the mist firsthand. The company has invested into its own $4 million lighting system to enhance your experience and add a new dimension of color and wonder to the flowing waters. The mist as with other cruises is a central star of the experience.

The many options available for the Hornblower Niagara cruises add value to the prospect although the cruises are only 20 or 40 minutes long. Before, after, and between cruises, if the package is purchased, however, there are outdoor bars and restaurants with locally produced wine and craft beers, with live-music in-season. The options available for you, your friends and loved ones are broad through Hornblower Niagara Cruises.

Overall Experience

The Hornblower Niagara Cruises stack up well against the competition, in that it presents the mist of the Falls, has guided information, and also food and beverage options for children and adults alike. The cruises, however, are quite short at 20 and 40 minutes. By contrast, the TruExperiences Day Tours offer a 9-hour experience for small groups of 14 down to couples, beginning with Toronto culture and consisting of professionally guided in-depth tours of the Canadian side of the Falls.

Whichever side of the border you decide to encounter Niagara Falls from, consider what kind of experience you want to have, and refer to The River Cruising Guide's consideration of providers. Whether you want an open-top down by the water jet-boat experience or a full-bar lounge-style Hornblower boat, Niagara Falls has misty natural wonders to experience. Both the Canadian and American side of the falls have unique views and lighting shows, so check out the options that visit both sides of the border, but remember to bring your passport if you travel Northward!

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Featured Image CC0 Kate Krav via Pixabay logo, text and banner added


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