Carnival Corporation inks Alipay deal
Carnival Corporation has signed a deal to offer Alipay onboard its cruise ship fleet in Asia. Chinese guests sailing with its brands in Asia will be able to pay for onboard products and services using the platform, operated by Ant Financial Services Group, part of Alibaba. Carnival Corporation's largest brand in China – Costa Cruises – will also give passengers the option to use their existing Alipay accounts as a payment method for cabin folios.
The mobile payments service will debut this year on Costa Serena in China before potentially expanding to others in the Costa Asia fleet, including Costa Atlantica, Costa Victoria and Costa Fortuna in China, and Costa neoRomantica, which has been homeported in Japan since April of this year. The company’s other leading brand in China and Asia, Princess Cruises, will also have the potential to offer Alipay onboard its vessels sailing in Asia, including the Majestic Princess that begins its first homeport season in Shanghai in July as the first cruise ship tailor-made for the Chinese market.
"We are excited that our guests will now have the opportunity to use Alipay onboard our brands sailing in China and Asia," says Michael Thamm, Group CEO, Costa Group and Carnival Asia, who oversees operations in China for Carnival Corporation. "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."
"Partnering with Carnival Corporation is yet another milestone for Alipay," says Angel Zhao, COO of International Business Unit and Vice President of Ant Financial, "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."