Hawke's Bay has been dealt a blow as a result of poor weather after strong winds diverted the first ship arrival of the cruise season.

The Golden Princess was due to arrive in Napier this morning as the first and only visitor of the month, but bypassed the region in light of the afternoon forecast for strong winds.

Napier i-Site Visitor Centre manager Jane Libby said the call was made at 6.30am and left many in the local tourism industry disappointed.

"There's 2600 passengers on board and 1100 crew so it would have been a very busy day for us. We really were looking forward to it. We were all geared up, ready and waiting, and today was our first cruise ship day."


The 109,000-tonne liner was due to arrive in the Napier Port at 6am from Wellington but instead headed north to Tauranga.

Ms Libby said the decision was made so as not to "jeopardise" a fuel and provisions pick from Tauranga, scheduled for Tuesday.

Yesterday's cancellation isn't the first event in Hawke's Bay to be affected by the recent spate of poor weather.

The Bostock New Zealand Spring Racing Carnival was cut short on Saturday after the Livamol Classic was abandoned just before 4pm due to safety concerns for horses and jockeys.

Ms Libby said the region had "geared up" to host thousands expected off Golden Princess but would now have to wait till next month.

"We had a big, full crew rostered on today so some very early phone calls were needed and all of our cruise ship tour operators were all ready to come down so they needed to be contacted also."

"We've got about a three week break until the next one so it was probably good to have a little bit of practice run under our belt. However we're well-practised at it."

Cruise season is now set to kick off on November 3, with the arrival of the Noordam.


"We always look forward to the next season. It has a huge impact on the city and the region so everybody is always very excited about the cruise ship season starting.

"We've had all of our operator and ambassador meetings leading up to today so everybody was very geared up for it," Ms Libby said.

The 2017/18 cruise ship season is set to be one of the biggest yet with 60 scheduled arrivals,15 more than last season.

Yesterday's cancelled visit was the first of two early season arrivals operated by the Princess Cruise Line, and is scheduled to make its second visit of the season on November 22.