Carnival Corporation has signed an agreement to offer Alipay payment services onboard its cruise ship fleet in Asia, including multiple ships in China.
The partnership will enable Chinese guests sailing with Carnival Corporation’s brands in Asia to pay for onboard products and services using the mobile payment operated by Ant Financial Services Group, a related company of Alibaba. All onboard spending can be added to each guest’s cabin folio as the purchase is made, and then cleared on a nightly basis.
Alipay, which has 450 million users, will debut on Costa Serena in China before potentially expanding to Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Costa Fortuna in China, and Costa neoRomantica in Japan. The service could be extended to the Princess Cruises brand at a later date.
Michael Thamm, group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia, said: “As we continue to grow interest and demand for cruising within the larger vacation market in China, this is another example of being able to stay close to our guests – understanding their needs and tailoring our offerings to their preferences.
“Alipay is a leading payment service already used by hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers, so we see this as a natural fit for us in China and a great opportunity to make onboard purchases even more convenient as we work hard to continually deliver a great experience to our Chinese guests.”
Angel Zhao, COO of International Business Unit and Vice President of Ant Financial, added: “Partnering with Carnival Corporation is yet another milestone for Alipay. Since this Lunar New Year Chinese consumers were able to shop up-in-the-air via Alipay on some flights between China and Europe, and now they are able to pay via Alipay on cruises in the middle of the sea.
“One of the most important goals of Alipay going overseas is to provide convenient and efficient ‘cashless’ experiences for both Chinese tourists and global merchants.”