The daughter of a Somerset man who died from COVID-19 has spoken lovingly of the three nurses who held his hand after his ventilator was turned off.
Karen Hay said her father Bill Bracken, a passenger on the Ruby Princess, was admitted to hospital on March 26 showing different symptoms to her mother Barbara who had tested positive just days before.
Mr Bracken, who was soon to turn 81, was on a ventilator for nine days but showed no improvement so it was decided the machine would be turned off.
"This was simply a heart-breaking decision, but a decision we knew was for the very best," Mrs Hay said.
"We are told by the hospital that there were three nurses with my father when he passed away.
"They were very kindly holding his hand which we are all so very grateful for."
He was cremated without a funeral.
"We chose not to have a funeral and no one was able to attend his cremation," Mrs Hay said.
"Due to my mother being in isolation it wasn't an option for her to attend. Whilst this is a heartbreaking situation for my family, we understand that this was the right decision for us and those involved.
"My dad would not have wanted any fuss, nor would he have wanted to unintentionally risk the lives of others.
"Having to make a decision with regard to funeral attendance is unfair, potentially divisive and certainly not something my dad would condone. So many people had deep respect for my father and admired his strength and determination."
Mrs Hay, whose two sisters both live in Queensland and were unable to see their father before he died, said her mother, who is still in isolation, was a "hero".
"She is simply amazing! She is strong, determined, driven and has the most amazing strength that I have ever witnessed.
On the day my dad passed away I received a call from the Ruby Princess ... they were calling with regard to a question my mum had about a deposit she had made for a cruise into the future.
"To lose your husband of almost 58 years, remain in isolation since Thursday March 19, and not be able to see your husband prior to (him) being put on a ventilator I would describe as absolutely heartbreaking.
"My mother has remained so very strong during what I can describe as the most difficult times of our life."
The family was "sickened" by the behaviour of the operators of the Ruby Princess.
Mrs Hay said her parents had been on nine cruises and had planned to go on more.
"Whilst my family were worried about mum and dad heading off on this cruise, we were sure that they would return in a healthy state," she said.
"Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case and the impact of the behaviours of the operators have significantly impacted on my family.
"I have lost my father and I know that my mum is certainly lucky to be alive.
"To have a significant number of people disembark the cruise with COVID-19 like symptoms, and yet put another whole new passengers on the ship in a very short turn around has to be negligent.
"I wonder how anyone with a moral compass could think behaviour such as this would be okay."
Mrs Hay said on their return to Australia her mother reassured the family that everything was fine.
"There had been no mention of the disease, the ship was regularly being cleaned and everyone was having a great time.
"I am certainly puzzled that if this was the case, how could the outcome of this ship returning to Australia be so detrimental?
"On the day my dad passed away I received a call from the Ruby Princess.
"Originally, I was thinking they were calling due to the death of my father, however, this was not the case. They were calling with regard to a question my mum had about a deposit she had made for a cruise into the future.
"I did feel sad that they didn't even know that my dad had passed away.
"Understandably we are angry with the cruise ship operator, however, I also believe that no one really knew the potential of this disease.
"My mum and dad headed off on another cruise, never ever thinking that this would be the outcome."