Hornblower vs. Journey Behind the Falls

Ammara Younas2023-03-01

Table of Contents


The magnificent Niagara Falls is an awe-inspiring natural wonder that has captured the hearts of countless visitors from around the globe! As a traveler, you have the privilege of experiencing the Falls in many different ways, but none are quite as thrilling as the Hornblower Niagara Cruises or as immersive as the Journey Behind the Falls. Experience the adventure of a lifetime by embarking on a breathtaking Hornblower boat tour or immersing yourself in the majestic beauty of Journey Behind the Falls. Don't miss out on the opportunity to indulge in both of these unforgettable experiences during your visit - you never know what amazing sights await you! Join us on this journey as we delve into these two remarkable attractions and assist you in selecting the ideal one for your excursion.

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Hornblower Niagara Cruises

If you're looking for an up-close and personal experience with the Falls, the Hornblower Niagara Cruises is an excellent choice. This exciting Niagara Falls boat tour takes you right into the heart of the Falls, where you'll feel the cool mist on your face and the majestic power of the water all around you. The tour departs from the Canadian side of Niagara Falls from the waters of the Niagara River and takes you on a 20-minute journey through the Niagara Gorge, past the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and finally into the basin of the Horseshoe Falls.

(Photo via @x1.yone / Instagram)


One of the most impressive things about the Hornblower Niagara Cruises is the sheer scale and power of the Falls that you'll get to see up close! As you approach the Horseshoe Falls, you'll see the water crashing down from a height of 57 meters (188 feet), creating a deafening roar and a constant mist that surrounds the boat. You'll also get a great view of the American and Bridal Veil Falls, which are equally impressive in their own right.


Journey Behind the Falls

Journey Behind the Falls is an immersive experience that allows visitors to get up close and personal with one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. Visitors are led 125 feet down an elevator to a short, cave-like tunnel that provides access to two outdoor observation decks as well as two portals that are situated directly behind the roaring Niagara Falls. The lower observation deck at the foot of the falls offers an unobstructed view of the sheet of falling water, and visitors are given ponchos to protect themselves from the mist. The upper observation deck is open year-round, providing visitors with a full view of the Falls and the opportunity to capture some truly unforgettable photos!

(Photo via the_nonlinear_life / Instagram)


As visitors navigate their way through the storied tunnels that are over a century old, they'll feel the thundering power of the cascading waters as they plunge into the basin below. The viewing portals, which cut straight through the rock, offer an unbelievable vista of the famous waterfalls. With the sound of the water crashing down and the mist rising up, the experience is truly immersive, leaving visitors refreshed and longing for more. Overall, a voyage to the Journey Behind the Falls is a must for anyone looking to get a unique and unforgettable perspective of Niagara Falls!


Points of Origin

The Hornblower Niagara Cruises pier is tucked away at 5920 Niagara Parkway in the charming city of Niagara Falls, Canada, with its entrance just a stone's throw away from the bottom of Clifton Hill. 

Meanwhile, the Journey Behind the Falls, a hidden gem of Niagara Falls, is situated at 6650 Niagara Parkway, right in the heart of the Falls. Access to this attraction is a breeze, with ample parking available at the Table Rock Visitor Centre, followed by a quick and convenient shuttle ride to the Visitor Centre where visitors can purchase their entry tickets. 

But the location of each attraction need not be a deciding factor in your Niagara Falls itinerary, for we at Tripshepherd offer a hassle-free solution to your sightseeing needs. Our comprehensive guided tour will take you to both Hornblower Niagara Cruises and Journey Behind the Falls, allowing you to experience the best of both attractions in one seamless tour. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the stunning natural beauty of Niagara Falls, while leaving the navigation and logistics to us!

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Trip Durations

The voyage to the Journey Behind the Falls is approximately 30-45 minutes long, providing ample time to take in the breathtaking views and marvel at the sheer force of the falls. In contrast, Hornblower takes visitors on a thrilling Niagara Falls boat cruise that offers an up-close and personal view of the falls, but the experience lasts for around 20 minutes. 

Operating Hours

Hornblower Niagara Cruises operates from 10:00 am to 6:30 pm every day, typically from April or May until late November, depending on weather conditions. In contrast, Journey Behind the Falls operates year-round, providing visitors with the opportunity to experience Niagara Falls in all its glory no matter the time of year. The attraction is available every day from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm, making it a perfect option for visitors looking to enjoy the Falls at any time of day.


Tour Amenities

On-board amenities in Hornblower boats include tiered decks that provide a 360-degree view of Niagara Falls, retractable glass walls for dry viewing, and washrooms. Booking a tour here is also hassle-free as you can purchase your Niagara boat tour ticket right on the spot!

On the other hand, guests take an elevator 125 feet down to a cave-like tunnel in Journey Behind the Falls that leads to two outdoor observation decks. The great infrastructure allows visitors to stand safely at the base of the Falls and witness the water tumbling down from a dizzying height of 13 stories. 

In both of these trips, guests are given recyclable ponchos to protect them from the mist! Both of the attractions also have knowledgeable tour guides who provide a brief history of the Falls and answer any questions guests may have. The Hornblower Cruise features a special audio commentary that will guide you through the storied history of the falls!


Customizable Experience

Hornblower offers several tour options and attraction packages, including the Voyage to the Falls, Sunset Cocktail Cruise, and Falls Illumination/Fireworks Cruise, allowing you to customize your experience. After you board the boat, you can choose to see the falls up close while getting drenched or you can stay dry by staying in an indoor viewing section! Journey Behind the Falls also offers many options for viewing the falls. You can choose to be up close and personal by standing behind the sheet of cascading water or you can get a bird's eye view from a vantage point!

Tour Attractions

A Hornblower Niagara Cruise is an exciting way to get up close and personal with Niagara Falls, departing from the Canadian side of the falls and offering spectacular views of the Great Gorge, Bridal Veil Falls, American Falls, and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You'll feel the mist on your face as you cruise past the thundering waterfalls, and get an unforgettable perspective of one of the world's most incredible natural wonders. On the other hand, Journey Behind the Falls is a fascinating year-round attraction that takes you on a unique journey to experience the Horseshoe Falls from behind and below. Witness the power of the water as it cascades over the edge, and feel the rumble of the falls as you stand mere meters away from the thundering cascade.

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Final Verdict 

In conclusion, a tour of Niagara Falls would be incomplete without experiencing the thrill of the Hornblower Niagara Cruises or the immersive Journey Behind the Falls. While Hornblower Niagara Cruises takes visitors on a thrilling boat ride that offers an up-close and personal view of the falls, Journey Behind the Falls provides a longer and more immersive experience. Whether you choose one or both attractions, Tripshepherd can offer a hassle-free solution to your sightseeing needs, taking you on a guided private tour to experience the best of both worlds. If you're interested in both the American and Canadian sides of Niagara Falls, join us on a Combo Falls Tour where you'll get to see stunning hotspots of Niagara such as Cave of the Winds, and Maid of the Mist! So, what are you waiting for? Book your tour today to get close to the falls and feel the power and majesty of the crashing waters!