The captain on a P&O cruise visiting Northland told passengers to avoid Waitangi due to fears of potential unrest.
The Pacific Pearl arrived in the Bay of Islands from Auckland on Sunday, in the midst of Waitangi protests and stand-offs.
Passengers disembarked in Paihia, about a kilometre away from Te Tii Marae.
Passenger Katrina said the captain of the ship told passengers not to go near the Waitangi area, "because of the tension".
"[It] was interesting because we wouldn't have thought ourselves it was that bad," she said.
"In fact we were heading out to Russell for lunch so it was kind of well-planned anyway".
Young passengers Erica and Megan explained that the order had been given for their safety.
"The captain of the ship said 'For your safety, don't go over there.'"
There was a heavy police presence outside Te Tii Marae on Saturday after marae officials erected tarpaulins to stop media from seeing and filming proceedings.
However, apart from a small confrontation with Winston Peters, Sunday's events were relatively low-key.