Hornblower Niagara CruisesJuly 26, 2019
Before there were casinos and ziplines and floral showhouses and wax museums and sky-high towers, there were the falls.
By themselves, the Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil falls were enough to draw visitors from across North America. Many came here to be married, which gave the city the nickname The Honeymoon Capital of the World.
Even more, though, came just to be thrilled by the awesome cataracts. The mist, the roar of the water, the magnetic pull they seem to exert on you as you look at them.
The falls are still the stars of the show when you join one of the Hornblower Niagara Cruises.
Board at the top of the escarpment (the ticket office is on the Niagara Parkway, not far from the base of Clifton Hill). Then ride down the new funicular, a sort-of train ride that takes you to the docking area on the Niagara River.
The rides themselves take you practically to the base of the falls; experience that ‘if we get any closer, this is going to get dangerous!’ feeling. To look up at them is something you will never forget.
Think of the history, too. Think of the cruise boat that back in 1960 rescued seven-year-old Roger Woodward from the water after he was swept over the falls in a boating accident, becoming the first person to survive a trip over the cataracts without a life jacket or any sort of safety device.
With the ease of ticket-buying, too, you can go at any time on the date you purchased the ticket for. None of those old-time lineups people used to face years ago.
During the summer throughout most of the day, cruises pull out every 15 minutes.
And then there are those voyages that offer a little something extra.
For instance, the fireworks cruises that depart nightly throughout July and August and much of September.
For those, gates close at 9:15 p.m. and the cruise starts at 9:30. From the top, the fireworks over the falls are pretty spectacular to see and a photographer’s dream.
Now picture them from below, looking up at the falls with the rockets and flares exploding overhead. Picture the selfies!
And for something a little extra-extra special there is the VIP Brews and Cruise event.
It starts out like the other cruises – a trip to the riverside via the funicular – and that’s where the special night begins.
A two-hour pre-cruise party awaits in the VIP tent, featuring gourmet appetizers, there’s a private bar with DJ and priority boarding for the 40-minute trip.
Then you get to watch the falls, the fireworks … the whole magical show unfold in front of you.
Here’s how Hornblower representative Greg Bechkos describes it: “We’ve taken the already incredible experience of a Falls Fireworks Cruis and created a full evening … so no matter if you’re a local, new in town or just passing through, we’re excited to offer something new to enjoy in the summertime.”