Guests from around the world will begin boarding the world famous Maid of the Mist boats from the Niagara Falls, N.Y., landing at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 1, marking the start of the 2015 season.
"This is always an exciting time of year," said Christopher Glynn, president of the Maid of the Mist. "When our vessels leave the dock and head towards the Maid of the Mist Pool at the base of Niagara Falls, it will mark the renewal of a tradition dating back to 1846, signaling the continuation of one of North America's longest running tourist attractions."
Glynn said a number of off season modifications were made to the vessels and facilities.
New upper and lower gangways will allow for more efficient passenger loading and unloading, and will permit Maid of the Mist to operate at times outside of its traditional departure schedule to accommodate extended hours of operation on holidays and possibly extending beyond the Oct. 31, season-ending date.
An elevator installed on the floating dock will permit individuals requiring access to the main deck during extended operating hours, when levels on the Niagara River are lower.
A new, environmentally-friendly engine was installed on Maid of the Mist VI, as well as navigational upgrades and new deck lighting.
New lighting on the Observation Deck will illuminate the boat landing and passenger areas.
"We continue to make significant investments in Maid of the Mist," Glynn said, "and our captains, crew members and associates are without peer in the industry. All of this allows our guests, those who board the Maid for the first time as well as return visitors, to get the monumental experience that only Maid of the Mist offers."
At the start of the season, boats will operate weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Victoria Day Weekend (May 16-17), 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; May 18-22, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Memorial Day Weekend (May 23-25), 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. (9 a.m. - 6 p.m. on May 25).
May 26-June 19, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday through Friday); 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday; June 20 through Aug. 28: daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Aug. 29-Sept. 6, daily, 9 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.; Labor Day (Sept. 7), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sept. 8-Oct. 3, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Oct. 4 -31, daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The final day of operation for the 2015 season is scheduled for Oct. 31.
Tickets are $17 for adults, $9.90 for children (6 to 12 years). Group rates and additional Maid information is available at: maidofthemist.com.
Whatever the season, there's a good reason to visit Niagara USA and explore the Falls and beyond. From up close and powerful views, picturesque parks and first class shopping; there's also endless excitement and adventure for everyone to experience. American history comes alive in Niagara USA at Old Fort Niagara, the oldest fortress on the Great Lakes. Take a turn on a Herschell Carrousel at the Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, or cruise back in time at Lockport Locks & Erie Canal Cruises. Get deeper into Niagara USA's past at the Lockport Cave & Underground Boat Ride.