The Memorial Day weekend is the start of an important time for Celebrity Cruises — vacation season, Chief Executive Dan Hanrahan told CNBC Friday.
With Memorial Day, "we're coming into the time when people really start to plan their summer vacations," he said, "so this will be a really important time for us over the next couple of months."
Bookings are up for cruises to Europe, Bermuda and Alaska, and the cruise company, one of the Royal Caribbean brands, has seen ticket revenue increases for the second straight year, up 5-7 percent in 2011, he said.
"We’re not back to where we were in 2007 and first three quarters of 2008 but we’re definitely headed in the right direction," he said. "The consumer is of a mindset that it is time to start getting back to vacations, and cruises are a perfect opportunity for that."
High fuel prices aren't that much of a factor because the company has hedges at prices in the $70s and $80s a barrel this year, he said.
"We’re not speculators in oil by any stretch of the imagination but we’re well over 50 percent hedged this year and next year and we’ve taken some hedge positions all the way out to 2014," according to Hanrahan.
"We do it just to take the risk out so we can make our business work with the prices we’re seeing. We don’t like them. We’d like to see them lower. But with the hedging program we have in place we’re ok."
Unrest in North Africa has had some impact on cruise bookings to the Mediterranean, he said.
"The thing about cruising is you’re on the ship, it’s a very safe environment, we take great care of our guests and most of the population knows the distance between ports we’re in in the Med and northern Africa is quite far."