Niagara Falls competition springs up for 1st time

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Associated Press

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 9:01 AM

Updated Sunday, May 18 at 9:01 AM

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario (AP) — For more than 150 years, the Maid of the Mist tour boats have been all alone below Niagara Falls as they've ferried tourists close enough to be drenched by the spray.

This tourist season, a second set of boats is navigating the Niagara Gorge.

The Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co. continues to launch from the American shore but lost its Canadian contract to San Francisco-based Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which set sail last week.

The two companies offer virtually the same daytime experience. Both sail passengers up to the 16-story walls of whitewater for views unrivaled on land.

Maid of the Mist has two 600-passenger steamship-style vessels, and Hornblower has a pair of 700-passenger catamarans.

Hornblower's $25 million entry into the market includes plans for evening cocktail and fireworks cruises.

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