The president of Princess Cruises has spoken publicly for the first time as the Ruby Princess prepares to leave Australian waters.

Around 900 COVID-19 cases and 21 deaths have been linked to the ship after it docked in Sydney on March 19, allowing thousands of passengers to disembark.

Jan Swartz, the global head of Princess Cruises, told 9News she will cooperate with the NSW Police investigation into the cruise ship and had a message for the families of those who have died.

Jan Swartz is the President of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia.

"They are all in our hearts and thoughts as this virus has impacted so many of our guests and crews in terrible ways," Ms Swartz said.

"It's truly heart-breaking to watch how coronavirus has attacked the entire world and I look forward to the day where we can unite in defeating this common enemy."

Ms Swartz said the company is offering counselling to everyone on board and providing full refunds to any passengers on the affected Ruby Princess voyage.

Watch the full interview on 9News Sydney at 6pm tonight.

Source: 9News