Royal Caribbean Cruises expects “robust growth” in 2017 on the back of a strong financial performance last year.

The world’s second largest cruise conglomerate saw annual net profits rise to $1.31 billion against $1.07 billion in 2015.

The parent company of brands such as Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, reported 2017 booking levels as being better than last year’s record high, with improved rates.

The company admitted that foreign exchange and rising fuel prices were created headwinds for the current year.

Chairman and chief executive, Richard Fain, said: “While currency and fuel are both significant negatives at the moment, our business continues to thrive.”

Strength from North American consumers is driving “exceptionally positive” trends for North American and European cruises.

“These trends, along with a positive outlook for Australia and a solid booked position in China for the first half of the year, are positioning the company for robust growth in 2017,” the company said.

Chief financial officer, Jason Liberty, said: “Our global portfolio of products is demonstrating strength across virtually all key markets, positioning us to deliver strong yield growth in 2017.

“Strong topline growth combined with continued focus on cost management will generate another year of record setting results.”

He added: “Even with significant pressure from foreign exchange and fuel, we will deliver another stellar year.”

High demand in Australia for Ovation of the Seas and “exceedingly strong demand” for mega ship Harmony of the Seas in the Caribbean are key contributors to yield improvement in the first quarter of 2017, which covers the peak wave booking period.