Wind has been blamed for the late docking of one of the world's newest ocean liners at the Port of Napier on Wednesday.

The nine-deck Viking Orion, with 465 "staterooms" and a capacity for 930 passengers, is in its first season in New Zealand waters, having been launched at Livorno, Italy, last June.

In October it completed a 62-day expedition from Europe to Asia, billed by Viking Cruises as a "World Cruise" before heading for the Australia and New Zealand season.

It's maiden Napier berthing was on December 27, and was on time for its scheduled 10am berthing on Wednesday when according to numerous Westshore and Ahuriri shipwatchers it pulled out of its approach but returned and berthed an hour to 90 minutes later.


A Napier Port spokesperson said the berthing had to be delayed because of safety issues posed by the winds.

MetService reported the strongest gust at Napier Airport in the hour to 10am was 46km/h, while the maximum in the next hour was 44km/h.

It was not the first time wind has disrupted an expected record-breaking cruise season with 72 visits expected from late-October to mid-April, including 10 in the week of the February 13-17 Art Deco Festival.

On November 4, the 261m Sea Princess, with about 2000 passengers, was unable to berth in Napier because of high winds that had peaked at 95km/h.

The Sea Princess was due in Napier again early on Friday, while the biggest of the visiting liners, Ovation of the Seas, with a complement of passengers and crew normally totalling over 6000, is due on Monday for the latest of its six Napier stops during the season.