By Rebecca Brown; Pictures by Sarah John Afana
A quick and scenic drive from the city of Toronto brings you to Niagara Falls: one of the most spectacular natural wonders of our world. Experiencing Niagara Falls with Hornblower Niagara Cruises guarantees an authentic, enjoyable experience.
Niagara Falls is Canada’s top destination, so we recommend getting there early to beat the lines and maximize your time. And don’t worry, the Hornblower facilities have plenty of entertainment for the whole day.
A Voyage to The Falls with Hornblower Niagara
After purchasing a ticket for the Voyage on the Falls boat tour, you’re transported to the lower grounds of the premises via an air-conditioned elevator. Here, you can appreciate just how roaring the 165-foot falls truly are before boarding the 700-person catamaran boat.
Hornblower ships offer an outdoor deck for those who want to experience the famous mist and a lower deck with an enclosed glass seating area for those who wish to remain dry. No matter which you choose, you’ll get as close as possible to the thundering falls.
For the prime Niagara Falls experience, you should stand on the front left hand side of the top deck of the boat as it is leaving the dock. On the return trip, move to the other side (thank you, Joanna at Hornblower!). We recommend you board the boat early to secure the special spot and then hold on. You’ll be surprised how choppy the water can get, but this only serves to make the boat ride more fun.
As you approach the first of the falls, the American Falls, you feel a nice cool mist, which is false advertising for the ferocious spray to come. As you get closer to the Canadian Falls, the water pressure gets harder (be sure to use a water proof camera if you want to take pictures!). Although the classic red poncho will keep you mostly dry, any exposed area will get completely drenched. But it’s worth it!
Being by the Falls is an incredibly thrilling experience, but take note: the closer you get, the harder it is to see. You are enveloped in a total white out of water and mist, and it can be difficult to open your eyes!
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Eventually, the boat turns around and calmly heads back to shore, leaving the thundering falls behind. Next, the boat ride takes you under a picturesque bridge and loops around for one more final view of the Falls, which is the perfect time to take a family photo with all three falls in the background. Your wet, happy faces in the photograph will be a reminder of the fun for years to come.
The experience does not end when you disembark. From the top area of the Hornblower premises, which is free to roam, you can see an unobstructed view of the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls, and the world famous Canadian Horseshoe Falls. There are concession stands and live entertainment to enjoy while you marvel at the beautiful sights. Hornblower’s lower patio offers visitors a place to kick back and relax with cold drinks and yummy food while enjoying live music with the picturesque falls looming in the background.
Hot Delicious Food and a Cool Ice Bar – A Fun and Unique Vineyard Tour at Peller Estates
Don’t let your adventure to Niagara end at the Falls. Take time to enjoy the grandeur of the local landscape and make it a full-day excursion by heading over to Peller Estates Winery. Just a 15-minute drive from Niagara Falls, Peller Estates is located in the quaint town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. After a fun, adventurous trip to the Falls, Peller Estates offers a calm and relaxing experience on a gorgeous sprawling vineyard. Take one of the many tasting tours such as the Food Freaks and Wine Geeks, Chicks and Chocolate, or the Greatest Winery Tour. Any of these tours will give you plenty of wine to taste, strolls through rows of grapevines, a trip to the indoor barreling room, and a visit to the brand new ice bar.
“What’s an ice bar?” you ask. We’re getting to that!
Peller Estates is world-renowned for being the only North American winery able to make ice wine. Because of the latitude and longitude of Niagara, the climate is warm enough in the summer and cold enough in the winter to harvest grapes and craft a special dessert wine. Ice Wine is a delicacy, and Peller Estates pays homage to their specialty in their newly built ice bar. Have a glass of wine with friends in the fully frozen room that can be catered to your liking with a selection of music and lighting. Guests will be provided with coats and gloves in order to enjoy this unique and exciting experience.
You’re going to need something to eat with that wine, and Peller has two exceptional options. The first, the Barrel House Grill, is a laid-back patio grill that serves coal oven pizzas and burgers to delight. The second restaurant is a fancier, white table cloth dining room called the Peller Estates Winery Restaurant, where servers are experts in food and wine pairings. Whichever option you chose, you can be sure the friendly staff and world famous chef will make the experience unforgettable.
A Quick Getaway
You don’t need to travel long and far for a unique and diverse vacation experience. A quick and easy drive from Toronto, Niagara really has it all. Spend an adventurous morning exploring one of the most glorious natural wonders of our world, and then relax in luxury with a delicious glass of wine. With Hornblower Niagara and Peller Estates Winery, your stay will be nothing less than extraordinary!’
Got another two days on your vacation? Then we’ve got the itinerary for you in Toronto!