Hands down the most fun we had on our Canada trip was on the Hornblower cruises to Niagara Falls. Our 3-year-old hasn’t stopped talking about it and I know she will not soon forget the memories we made.
I purchased the day and night cruise package, which includes a 40-minute fireworks cruise that started at 9:30 p.m. and a 20-minute Voyage to the Falls day cruise. When I bought the tickets it wasn’t clear how I would purchase the package, but all you have to do is pick the date you want for the night cruise and then you can go to any day cruise as well. (They leave about every 15-20 minutes throughout the day.) We decided to go around 9 a.m. to space out the cruises and hopefully avoid huge crowds around the falls. In case you’re wondering, Hornblower leaves from the Canada side, while Maid of the Mist is on the U.S. side.
The line moved quickly when we arrived. If you already purchased tickets online, head straight to the walkway and elevators. After you take your photos, you keep walking until you get to the snack bar tent area, where your tickets are scanned. (I just pulled up the barcodes on my phone to avoid printing them out.) Then you continue walking down the ramps and receive your rain ponchos.
FYI: Adult tickets for both the day and night cruises were $55.90 (Canadian; about $43 U.S.). Victoria didn’t have to pay because she is under 5 years old, so that’s nice! If you just want to do the 20-minute Voyage to the Falls it will cost $25.95 (Canadian; about $20 U.S.).
The closer you move toward the falls, the more drenched you become. It’s actually a ton of fun. You can stand anywhere on the boat, and we chose the front. The upper deck area seemed to be a popular spot for most people.
The ponchos don’t really do much, to be honest. You will still be soaked but it’s fine! You could always bring your own. Also, be sure your phone and camera are secure from water damage.
After our cruise, we headed back to our hotel and explored Clifton Hill before returning around 9 p.m. We figured parking would be difficult to find on this Friday night, and it’s expensive near the falls, so we opted for a short taxi ride instead. (Earlier that morning we paid $15 to park for about an hour and a half. Yikes.) Crowds line up early for the evening fireworks, so plan accordingly.
I liked the morning cruise more than the evening cruise, but we did both because V would get a kick out of the fireworks. (Although, the evening cruise had a bar, so decide which is better for you.) You get more wet during the daytime cruises because the boats go closer to the mist. Also, I find the illumination of the falls to be quite gimmicky, but kinda cool, I guess. The entire town is a tourist trap, so just know what you’re getting into and have fun!
Check out our videos of the Niagara Falls cruises below and subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Have you done a Niagara Falls cruise? What did you think?