Dating back to 1846, the Maid of the Mist is without a doubt one of North America's oldest tourist attractions. Along with Journey Behind the Falls, it is part of what I dubbed the "Big Two" -- the two best ways to see the falls up close, but also the two best ways to end up frustrated in a long waiting line.
So much has been said and written about the Maid of the Mist already (yes, it is worth the trip), I will limit this review to some tricks for avoiding waiting lines:
1) Visit Niagara Falls outside the summer months. You will have to wear that blue poncho no matter what the weather is, so why not visit in the late spring or early fall? The Maid of the Mist runs from early April to late October.
2) Go on a weekday. Niagara Falls is a popular weekend destination.
3) Early morning and shortly before closing time (operating hours vary according to season) are the best times to avoid tour buses and day trippers.
That being said, waiting times are generally hard to predict at the Maid of the Mist. Just one or two of the above conditions can be enough to minimize your waiting time. We were there around noon on a Sunday, but in October, and we were able to board the second Maid of the Mist ship coming in.
Finally, if you are carrying a camera that isn't waterproof, I would recommend turning it off before you get too close to the Horseshoe Falls. As you can judge by the photo below, even shots taken from a certain distance give a good idea of the perspective offered by the Maid of the Mist.
It was a pleasant surprise the short lines to enter the boat "Maid of the Mist" that approaches the fall. In our way I understood why: there are at least 3 boats with the same name, switching positions in the short trip, making it almost continuous.
It really allows us to feel the power of the waters, but it's a big and safe boat, without the sensations felt in Iguacu, approaching enough the falls to wet everybody, despite the supplied protection.
I think there is a lot to do and see in NF, and an extra few hours will allow you to see everything without rushing. I would recommend you buy the Adventure Pass ($44.95 CAD) cause it is a bargain - four attractions plus access to the People Mover which will take you to all the places, including those down the Parkway, like the Butterfly Conservatory and the White Water Walk. You can get the pass at kiosks down by the Falls.
If you can, grab the Maid of the Mist either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon - less crowded and better light for photos.
You will have trouble finding something you want to stay in in NF in high season for $50-60. One good bet is Bedham Hall, (www.bedhamhall.com)a B&B on the River Road within walking distance of most attractions - rooms start at $96 CAD.
Hope you enjoy your visit!
Our tickets cost US or CAN 15, the baby was free. We got in line (yes it was incredibly crowded), for the descent down to the dock. An elevator took us down to the bottom from where we were given blue ponchos to keep us dry from the water spray from the falls. We missed the first boat because it filled up quick, we took the second one. We went up for a better view; the tour was 15 minutes in total excluding the walk from the top to the bottom where the tour begins.
I must say, I have not had as much fun in the last 2 years as I had taking this tour. The falls is massive, words do it no justice. The force with which it falls, the spray and white looks like you walked right into a blizzard. The giant wall that appears as you get really close and turn is almost frightening; but it is mostly awe inspiring, leaving many gapping. The thunder of the falls as it drops many feet down is deafening, at one point I could not hear anyone speaking, even the closest person to me, who was my daughter. t was important for me not to keep my camera out all the time seeing as it is not water proof, but if you have a waterproof or underwater camera, you will want to carry that with you when you go to the falls. You will definitely get wet whether you go to the top of the boat or stay at the lower level. Be sure to tie the top part of the poncho under your chin otherwise the wind will blow it right off your head.
The boat has a guide who spoke to us over the PA at the beginning and at the end of the tour. This tour is available from both the Canadian and American sides. Many come to the Canadian side because it has the bigger part of the falls. This is a must see attraction if you find yourself in Canada, or plan to visit Canada. The falls is one of the world’s natural wonders, and you can take that off your list. This was $15 well spent and I would do it again.
Sure, you want to go see Niagara Falls and get a nice picture. As you look at these falls you cant help but get a sense of the incredible power behind these falls. A good way to get more up close and personal is to get a ride on the Maid of the Mist. You are equipped with ponchos and you told very strictly that your camera and all of you will get wet during the journey. Conveniently they do sell disposable cameras that are waterproof if you have an irresistible urge to have a picture of yourself taken (all wet) with the rushing falls right behind you.
Trips depart every 15 minutes and the journey takes about a half hour. Lines can be very long!
It was a LOT of fun though!
It's like taking a shower all over again. What am I talking about? Made Of The Mist. What's that? That is the boat which will take you right underneath the falls. This way you can see the American side of the falls from very close up. I've taken all pictures personally. Did not take any pictures on the boat. My camera is not water-proof. :)
The tickets are about $10- / person and the wait is not too long. Don't get intimidated by the hundreds of people lining up. The line goes relatively fast and the boat carries many people at once. They have several boats and those leave every 10, 15 minutes. They also provide you with a vinyl coat to protect you from the splashing water.
Once the boat is up close to the main falls, you can't even breathe from the tremendous water pressure and wind it creates. Not to mention the noise. You gotta try Made of the Mist. Check the web site below for the history of this boat ride.
We were very surprised by the little time it took to get on the MAID OF THE MIST boat. It was August and as you can imagine, it was really crowded. The line was very long so one would think that it would take us hours to board the boat. However, we were pleased to see that the Canadians are so well-organised that it is really not irritating to walk the line and wait. It was an amazing experience! Getting so close to the Falls was fantastic! Despite the potcho, you get wet if you try to take pictures!
It was an unforgetable sight and I would highly recommend doing the Maid of the Mist boat trip.
If you are only going to do one thing that is Falls related while in Niagara Falls, this would be it. You can take the Maid of the Mist from either the US side or the Canadian side, the lines actually looked to be about the same if not a few more people on the American side. The ride is virtually the same from either side so no need to do it twice.
We got to the Maid of the Mist at around 9:30am on Saturday morning and walked right onto a boat, waits later in the day didn't seem to be too much longer although you might have to wait for 15-20 minutes.
We stood at the bow of the boat which seemed to be the best spot for a view of the Falls, they get you up close and personal with the Horseshoe Falls, you will get wet which is why they give you that attractive blue plastic garbage bag to put over you.
Maid of the Mist is part of the Adventure Pass which was $39.95CA for 4 attractions.
One of the favourite ways to experience Niagara Falls would be to take the Maid of the Mist. This enables visitors to get closer to the falls, and enjoy getting sprayed. On the day that I went it was raining, so we actually got pretty soaked! I also read about helicopter rides which would offer a bird's-eye view, but didn't get to do it this time round, which's a pity.
Adult fare for the Maid of the Mist is 14.5 CAD, with discounts for kids and groups, and free for kids below 5 years old who're accompanied by parents.
Note that the Maid of the Mist doesn't run year-round, Check with their official website for the schedule.
If you are planning to visit Niagara falls....you must take 'Maid of the mist' boat ride. It is MUST! What an experience....my god, when you stand exactly under that majestic waterfall....it feels, the whole world becomes stand still...speechless!....I guess, one should just experience it once in a lifetime!
$14.50 Adults (13+ years), $8.90 Children (6 to 12 years). Children 5 and under are FREE!
Operating from late April/early May (weather dependent) to October 24 each year, the Maid departs every 15 minutes.
If like us you do not have a canadian visa then this is the best look you will get of the falls- both American & Horseshoe as otherwise you will never get a frontal view of the falls. So for a little under $24 you get to ride on this boat right to the heart of the falls. Get ready for a complete shower despite the rain sheets they give you as complimentary and also brace yourself to the fact that while you see these wonderful falls you will not get a photo as there's just too much 'mist'- spray from the force of the falls!
Once you pay up they take you down to the deck in an elevator, the boat can take on board 300 people so just remember to take a place on the lower deck (less water and equally good sites) to the left in the front of the boat. It gives you the best views!
THE MAID OF THE MIST BOATS, to us, provided the most memorable moments of our trip. The tickets were $15 each and well worth it as far as we are concerned. To be surrounded on three sides by the thundering Horseshoe Falls is just unbelievable.
Yes, it is truly a thrilling experience when you come to Canada and try the Maid of the Mist in Niagara Falls. It is amazing! The photos I posted here will give you an idea on what to expect.
Prices and Schedules
Niagara Falls, U.S.A. / At the entrance to the Observation Tower
Niagara Falls, Canada / Maid of the Mist Landing at the bottom of Clifton Hill
Canadian and U.S. landings are accessible for physically challenged persons.
2009 Rates : Retail Rates
Canada: Adult $14.50 Child (6-12 years old) $8.90
United States; Adult $13.50 Child (6-12 years old) $7.85
Please note that the last day of operation of the Maid of the Mist for 2009 season will be on October 24, 2009. For more detailed information, visit the web I provided below.
The Maid of the Mist boat tour should not be skipped when visiting Niagara Falls. The tour is offered on both the U.S. and Canadian sides. The tour will take you to the base of the falls. Not only will you be able to experience a view of the falls from the base, but you will also be able to feel the power of the falls as water and mist drench you and moist wind blows on your face. Each person will receive a free poncho of course, but still try to protect your camera as it will be difficult to take pictures. The lines to the boat tour can be long, but the boats do come very frequently.