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Stare Deep into the Heart of Niagara

Hornblower Niagara Cruises takes you the heart of this global wonder

Posted on Sun, Jul 7th, 2019 10:23 am by news services

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — The sheer power, awe-inspiring spectacle and thundering roar of Niagara Falls is a sight to behold.

Every year, more than 30 million visitors from around the world crowd along the guardrails along the Niagara Parkway — and in particular, at Table Rock — to bear witness to 681,750 gallons of water cascading over the edge of the Horseshoe Falls every second. As incredible as that vantage point may be, it is a totally different experience to find yourself at the base of the falls, looking up nearly 60 metres as the crashing Falls kick up mist and churn the waters below.

“Any description or even view of the Falls will pale in comparison to what it feels like to be on the deck of one of our catamarans cruising straight towards the base of the Horseshoe Falls,” says Mory DiMaurizio, Vice-President and General Manager of Hornblower Niagara Cruises. “It is an entirely new experience to literally stand near the thunder and feel the fury of the Niagara River rain down around you.”

Hornblower Niagara Cruises has been operating tours of the base of Niagara Falls since 2012, taking passengers on the voyage on one of its two catamarans – the Niagara Wonder and Niagara Thunder. Each double-stack catamaran carries up to 700 passengers with 360° viewing platforms and dry viewing areas.

The 20-minute Voyage to the Falls boat tour offers an up-close look at both the American and Horseshoe Falls, along with some tidbits about the geography and history of Niagara Falls. For example:

About half of the water that empties out of Lake Erie doesn’t actually make it over the Falls — it is diverted by both Canadian and American power authorities to engineered tunnels and canals to generate electricity. As such, the rate of erosion at Niagara Falls is currently about three centimetres a year. If the water wasn’t diverted, the erosion rate would be closer to a metre per year.
Because of the diversion for hydro-electric power, nobody around today really knows what the full power of Niagara Falls looks (or sounds) like. But the current would be so powerful that it is unlikely an attraction like a boat cruise to the base of the Falls would be possible.
About 20% of the world’s fresh groundwater supply cascades over Niagara Falls. If you take all the water that goes over the Falls in a single day, it would be enough to meet the water needs of almost any major city in the world for more than a month.
At the time of the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago, the crest of Niagara Falls was about where Queenston, Ont., is located today — about 11 kilometres away from the Falls’ current location. They have slowly been carving their way south ever since.
Only once in history has water stopped flowing over the Horseshoe Falls, and it had nothing to do with human interference. In 1848, an ice jam blocked the source of the Niagara River at Lake Erie, exposing the dry river bed and leaving only a trickle of water falling over what looked like abarren cliff. It took about 30 hours before shifting winds loosened the jam and restored the rush of water.
The American Falls, however, were deliberately stopped in 1969 by U.S. authorities as they tried to deduce ways to remove the fallen rocks at the base of the Falls. After considering the matter for the better part of the tourist season that year (June to November), they decided to leave well enough alone.
“A Hornblower Niagara Cruise is better than a movie, better than 4-D, because it is real,” says DiMaurizio. “Once you look deep into the heart of Niagara, you will keep that experience with you forever.”

For more information, please visit Follow Hornblower Niagara Cruises on Twitter @CruiseNiagara and Like it on Facebook.

About Hornblower Niagara Cruises:
Hornblower Niagara Cruises, the official Boat Tour operator for the Niagara Parks in Niagara Falls, Canada, is a sister company of Hornblower Cruises and Events; a North American company based in San Francisco, California, with more than 100 vessels and 30 years of experience operating various types of marine services across the east and west coasts. As Canada’s most memorable visitor experience, the Niagara Falls boat tour operation hosts millions of visitors a year. In September 2018, Hornblower welcomed its 10 millionth visitor.