This is a continuation of my “Best of Access Niagara” series. This series looks back on popular posts, highly commented posts, my favourite places, etc.
The other day I told my kids about the series I was putting together about the best of Niagara Falls, and asked what attraction we’ve been to that I should highlight. Without hesitation my daughter said, “Hornblower!”.
One of the biggest news stories in Niagara Falls in the last decade was the renewal of the Maid of the Mist contract with the Niagara Parks Commission, and then the subsequent uproar about how it was done. The end result was that the contract was opened to other companies, and it was ultimately award to Hornblower. They already had experience providing tours to Alcatraz, Statue of Liberty, and more.
Well, it seems to have been a great decision. Hornblower improved the platform at the river’s edge, brought in new boats, and is setting sales records each year. They are now going to improve the incline railway that goes down the hill.
I’ve been on the Hornblower tour a couple of times, but it appears I’ve never written about it (or at least I can’t find the blog postings). I’ll have to take another trip and write about it. For now, just trust me… if you haven’t had a chance to try them yet, you should. It really is the best way to see the Falls!
Visit other pages from the “Best of Access Niagara” series:
Yesterday was a warm and beautiful day in Niagara Falls. As I was out for a walk at lunch, I took a bunch of pictures. Enjoy!
I know I’m a couple of days late…
From the Niagara Falls Review:
Hornblower Niagara Cruises is set to sail for a fourth season, starting Saturday.
The relatively mild winter meant there was no ice buildup in the Niagara River, so the boat tour operator set the April 1 start date and also began accepting bookings last month.
“We have some weather and ice-modelling programs that we’ve created over the last couple of years and, about a month ago, we knew there were not going to be any significant ice concerns so we livened up our ticket sales,” said general manager Mory DiMaurizio.
The popular tourist attraction also opened April 1 last year.
“It was a great early start to the season and a great indicator of what was a landmark year,” he said.
By comparison, the 2015 season didn’t start until April 30, following one of the coldest, longest winters on record. It’s inaugural season in 2014 started May 15.
Boats are equipped with radiant heaters and visitors have the option of viewing the cataracts from “dry zone” areas.
- Niagara This Week – Niagara Falls’ Maid of the Mist boats planning early launch
From the Niagara Falls Review:
A dormant incline railway will be given new life by Hornblower Niagara Cruises next summer.
The boat cruise company will invest about $1.5 million into the former Maid of the Mist Incline, to go with a further $1.5 million in upgrades to elevators and the lower landing where passengers board the catamarans.
Once completed, the work will allow Hornblower to significantly reduce wait times to ride its boats.
“With the upgrades…our capacity to put people through increases about a hundred percent,” said Hornblower Niagara general manager Mory DiMaurizio. “We’re set up for success for a number of years.”
With a more efficient system, Hornblower expects to increase its daily number of cruises. At peak season, it currently offers 48 rides per day.
Hornblower expects to reach 2.2 million passengers when its 2016 season ends Dec. 4, up from 1.8 million last year and 1.6 million during its first season in 2014.