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Despite high inflation and growing recession worries, consumers continue to prove they are willing to spend money on entertainment, according to Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bailey.

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The operator of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Silversea Cruises is still seeing a return in travel demand and as a result remains “quite optimistic about the future,” Bailey told FOX Business. The CEO added that the company considers itself a family brand, even with over 50,000 employees on 26 ships worldwide.

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RKL ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP 47.52 +0.83 +1.78%

“Obviously, customers want to go on vacation. There is a lot of interest in experiences,” Bailey said. “The most important thing that we see is that people value relationships and family connections more and they are looking for time with family and of course for Royal Caribbean this is our favorite place.”

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Bailey said demand surged immediately following the relaxation of various coronavirus-related restrictions and protocols. However, “this increase in demand has stayed with us,” he added.

Even with the growing talk of a potential global recession, Bailey doesn’t foresee consumers turning away from travel.

“Cruise has a surprisingly strong value proposition, high quality, excellent value for money,” Bailey said. “And usually when we go into these bumpy periods, we see the cruise going pretty well. Many people will continue to cruise because the value is so high.”

Ticker Safety Last Change Change %
RKL ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP 47.52 +0.83 +1.78%

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He says Royal Caribbean is doing well in terms of bookings both in the fourth quarter and next year.

One of the main reasons for the cruise operator’s confidence in an uncertain economic environment is its latest innovation, dubbed Icon of the Seas. The ship, which has been in the works for the past five years, has been described as “the next generation of family vacations,” Bailey said.

“Five years ago, when we began the design process for Icon of the Seas, we aimed to create the best family vacation in the world,” Jay Schneider, Chief Innovation Officer at Royal Caribbean, told FOX Business.

The ship caters to experience-focused travelers with new neighborhoods, updated staterooms and an upgraded entertainment space.

“People keep looking for, you know, memories with their family, new experiences that they’ve never done before,” Schneider said. “And such enriching moments are what will be offered… [on] Icon of the seas.

Its maiden voyage is scheduled for January 2024.