MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe and South America, and Alipay, affiliated to Ant Financial Services Group has announced today a strategic partnership which will provide a fleet-wide roll out of Alipay payment service.
The move means that MSC Cruises will be the first international cruise brand to adopt Alipay services throughout its fleet. As a new on-board payment option, the service will be successively introduced to all 14 ultra-modern cruise ships of the company. By then, passengers aboard any cruise ship of MSC Cruises will be able to conveniently use Alipay to settle on-board expenses including shopping, food, drinks and entertainment.
With the launch of Alipay, guests will enjoy the payment at the discounted exchange rates without the need for an Internet connection. MSC Lirica, which has been serving the Chinese homeport market for more than one year, was the first ship among the fleet to introduce Alipay service in November 2017, a move that was widely applauded by guests. MSC Meraviglia, a next-generation mega cruise ship that came into service only this past June, followed suit and became the world’s first large cruise ship to accept Alipay payment in the Mediterranean. The service will also be introduced to MSC Splendida, which will make her maiden voyage in China next May after a significant enhancement. The service will be deployed throughout the entire fleet of MSC Cruises, and is scheduled to be completed by March 2018.
MSC Splendida will introduce Alipay before her arrival in China.
“Chinese guests will be an important driver of the cruise industry and are highly valued by MSC Cruises, which has been committed to improving guest experience, diversifying products and tailoring services to Chinese guests’ preferences and needs. Introducing Alipay to MSC Cruises’ entire fleet as a payment option is part of our effort to create an extraordinary on-board cruising experience. It is also a testament to our long-term commitment to Chinese guests and market,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.
“MSC Cruises is the first international cruise brand to rollout Alipay throughout its entire fleet, which is a major breakthrough for Alipay in terms of the application scenario. We hope that Alipay, carried by MSC Cruises ships, will better serve Chinese tourists on their global cruises while allowing foreign tourists to experience Alipay that is secure, efficient and convenient—This is the mission and vision of Alipay expanding overseas,” said Su Qiang, Vice President of Ant Financial.
As the world’s fastest-growing cruise company, MSC Cruises has been increasing investment in the Chinese market to bring the authentic European style of luxury experience to Chinese cruisers. As the most popular mobile payment and lifestyle platform in China, Alipay serves more than 520 million domestic users registered with real names. In addition to the partnership with Alipay, Ingenico Group, a leader in seamless payments and the main player in the market aiming to introduce innovation in payments, is the technology partner providing the on-board point of sale enhanced payment terminals, which are enabled to interact with the Alipay app and to accept payments through that wallet. SIX Payment Services is the commercial Acquirer and Acquiring processing partner in this strategic partnership. As one of Europe’s largest card Acquirers and transaction processors, SIX provides financial institutions and merchants in 33 countries with secure, innovative services along the entire value chain of cashless payments.
“We place great emphasis on Chinese homeport market, meanwhile, we strive to provide a first-rate experience for Chinese guests who fly and take our cruise ships overseas. Our fly cruise itineraries have always been leading the market in terms of both quality and bookings.” Said Helen Huang, President, Greater China, MSC Cruises, “The strategic partnership with Alipay has created many ‘firsts’ in the industry. More importantly, Chinese guests will be able to make payments using their most familiar tool—wherever they are taken by the MSC Cruises ship. We believe this hassle-free, intuitive and cost-effective payment experience will really make Chinese guests feel at home.”