Sister Company CPS Names Among Top Worldwide Cruise Suppliers

Seatrade Cruise Awards Supplier of the Year

Lee Davis receives the finalist award from Seatrade Chairman Chris Hayman and Antonius Heuer, from award sponsors Fidelio Cruise Software

SMS sister company Cruise and Passengers Services (CPS), which provides services to Portsmouth International Port (PIP), has been named as a finalist in the prestigious annual Seatrade Cruise Awards announced at the Seatrade Europe Cruise and River Cruise Convention in Hamburg.

CPS was judged to be one of the top three companies in the supplier of the year  to the global cruise industry category.

The company is part of the Independent Port Handling (IPH) group, which also includes SMS and personnel agency Pathfinder. IPH Business Development Manager Lee Davis commented: “We are continually looking to improve the cruise experience for passengers using ports like Portsmouth and being named as one of the top suppliers in the industry reflects the latest technical advances that we have introduced.”

CPS is the UK’s leading valet parking company for serving cruise ship passengers and has further improved its services by upgrading bespoke hardware and software systems used by operatives at each of its ports.

CPS has operations at Portsmouth, Southampton, Liverpool and Oban in Scotland, ensuring the safe keeping of some 75,000 cars while passengers are away.

Judged by an independent panel of experienced cruise industry specialists, the Seatrade Cruise Awards are one of the highest accolades in the cruise industry.

The Seatrade Cruise Awards form part of the series of global Seatrade events, websites and publications that covers every aspect of the cruise and maritime industries, bringing together key people to encourage innovation and to produce powerful learning, networking and promotional platforms.

SMS and Portsmouth Port Welcome Back Ultra Luxury Cruise Ship


Hebridean Princess manoeuvres to dock at Portsmouth International Port

Portsmouth International Port (PIP) cruise handling specialists Southern Maritime Services (SMS) have welcomed back the small five-star cruise vessel Hebridean Princess on her first visit to the port in four years.

Carrying  some 40 guests, Hebridean Princess and a crew of 38, the exclusive ship made two calls at PIP, initially arriving from Honfleur  in  France and sailing for  Dorset and then returning for another day call in Portsmouth four days later, before sailing to Newhaven as part of an historic maritime discovery voyage finishing in London.

Operated by Hebridean Island Cruises, Hebridean Princess started life as a car ferry and Royal Mail ship and was based in Oban for the first 25 years of her life. However, an extensive conversion to an ultra luxury cruise ship saw her refitted with 30 spacious, elegant and well-appointed cabins.

She now carries out itineraries around the UK coast, in particular the Western Isles of Scotland, during the summer.

SMS General Manager Alex Fernandez explained: “The small number of guests on board makes Hebridean  Princess  a unique cruise ship, more like a private yacht, and we tailor our services accordingly. As ship’s agents, we look after passenger excursions during their day in Portsmouth and provide any required bespoke services to support the ship’s exclusive status.” 

SMS Services Americas Cup Super Yacht Visitor to Portsmouth

Americas Cup 2

A VIP visitor to Portsmouth International port (PIP) in the shape of the 88m. luxury super yacht Musashi required special attention from Southern Maritime Services (SMS).

SMS specialists used their expertise to moor the yacht when she tied up at the port because the vessel was too big for Gunwharf  Quays.

With room for 18 guests, Musashi, built by Dutch company Feadship Yachts in 2011, is steel hulled with an aluminium superstructure. She was visiting PIP on a short stay before heading to the Solent to view the initial Americas Cup world yacht racing series.

SMS General manager Alex Fernandez explained: “We’re used to tying up small, luxury ships through the cruise callers at PIP and Musashi was an impressive sight as she came alongside. We’re hopeful that the Americas Cup will bring more business to the port and ourselves over the next couple of years.
Americas Cup 1

SMS Supports Shipment of Masts for World’s Biggest Yacht

Mast 1

When you’re transporting the tallest sailing masts in the world you need to be sure they are securely fastened to the barge carrying them and that was the challenge set for Southern Maritime Services in a weekend operation at the Portchester location of Magma Structures.
The three composite structures, measuring around 100 metres, were loaded on the barge for the voyage to Germany where they will be fitted on the world’s biggest sailing yacht, currently in build at the Nobiskrug yard on the Eider River in Rendsburg.
A special barge was brought into Portsmouth International Port to ship the masts but a key requirement was the ability to lash the masts securely for the voyage across the North Sea.

Mast 2
SMS was called upon to provide both expert labour and additional ten-tonne lashings to carry out the task as the masts were carefully moved out of the Magma Structures workshops and placed on the barge ready for towing to Germany where they will be fitted on to the 170m. yacht, which is due for delivery next year.
SMS General Manager Alex Fernandez explained: “Any significant structure being transported, particularly with high value, requires specialist lashing skills to guarantee that shipments are secure and can be moved safely. We have the combination of skills and equipment that mean we are well placed to offer this service anywhere on the South Coast and the yacht mast project was certainly one of the more unusual projects that we have been asked to assist with.”


Cruise ship handling experts Southern Maritime Services (SMS) ensured that 450 German passengers were treated to the attractions of South of England when the cruise vessel Europa 2 became the latest new ship to visit Portsmouth International Port (PIP).

Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2 called in the port as part of a North European itinerary, arriving from Honfleur in Northern France and sailing for St.Peter Port in Guernsey after a day stop in Portsmouth that saw them enjoy coach tours to a wide range of tourist attractions.

The luxury cruise ship is the latest in a series of new callers visiting PIP this season. Overall, SMS will handle nearly 40 cruise ships calling in Portsmouth this year.

“Portsmouth is an ideal destination for cruise ship passengers wanting to visit the South of England’s major tourist locations and we were able to work closely with our suppliers to ensure that the passengers made the most of their one-day stop in the port,” explained SMS General Manager Alex Fernandez.

SMS Notches Another First in Cruise Ship Handling

Ocean Nova In Portsmouth

Ocean Nova is the latest new cruise ship visitor to Portsmouth to be handled by SMS

Cruise specialists Southern Maritime Services (SMS) have notched another first in ships handled with the maiden visits to Portsmouth International Port (PIP) by the exclusive Noble Caledonia vessel Ocean Nova.

The specialist expedition ship, with capacity for only 84 passengers, has made two calls at PIP as part of her itinerary of round Britain cruises.

SMS, the exclusive cruise handler at PIP, handled passenger baggage and loaded stores such as fresh produce during the Ocean Nova’s turnarounds, completing her second call before sailing on a ten-day cruise to various bird islands around the UK West Coast, including the Isles of Scilly, Lundy, Portrush and St.Kilda before completing the voyage in Oban.

Ocean Nova is one of more than 30 cruise ship calls at PIP this season, all being handled by SMS. General Manager Alex Fernandez explained: “The cruise ship season is now fully underway. PIP is attracting a number of new visitors and SMS is delighted to play its part in helping the port’s cruise business to expand.”

SMS Handles Maiden Call at Portsmouth by Noble Caledonia’s Sea Explorer

Noble Caledonia

SMS handled Noble Caledonia’s Sea Explorer on her maiden call at Portsmouth

Cruise ship specialists Southern Maritime Services (SMS) have handled the Noble Caledonia vessel Sea Explorer for the first time at Portsmouth International Port (PIP).

The luxury cruise ship, with capacity for just 114 passengers, made her maiden call at PIP when she started a UK and Ireland cruise. It was the first of two calls she is due to make this season with both being supported by SMS as PIP’s exclusive cruise ship handling company.

SMS provided ship’s agency, stevedoring and baggage handling services to Sea Explorer, including loading stores for the six-day voyage.

Sea Explorer’s two calls are among nearly 40 cruise ships that SMS will handle in PIP this year.

“Sea Explorer is a small and exclusive ship whose passengers expect premium service and a smooth turnaround operation is essential to maintain the standards that the ship sets,” explained SMS Director Paul Kempton.

SMS Signs New Three-Year Deal to Secure Cruise Ship Jobs in Portsmouth

Southern Maritime Services Operations

SMS staff service a cruise ship by loading stores at Portsmouth International Port

Stevedoring and ancillary services company Southern Maritime Services (SMS) has signed a three-year contract with Portsmouth International Port (PIP) to provide support services for all cruise ships calling in the port.

The agreement will sustain up to 40 jobs each time a cruise ship calls in the  port, which is set to handle a growing number of callers this  year. PIP, owned by Portsmouth City Council, continues to expand its cruise business with a total of 41 calls booked for 2015. More than half the calls  will be turnaround operations with ships disembarking and embarking hundreds of passengers each time.

The first cruise ship call by the vessel Voyager, operated by Voyages of Discovery, arrived this month (March) and calls will continue until November. New callers at the port this year include Hapag Lloyd’s Europa 2, the Portuguese ship Funchal and  Noble Caledonia’s Sea Explorer.

Utilising dedicated passenger check-in facilities in the main terminal, SMS offers a turn-key service for cruise ship clients, taking care of passengers, their vehicles and their baggage from the moment they arrive at the port. Services include meet and greet; baggage handling; passenger check-in; passenger registration; porterage; stores and baggage loading, and valet car parking.

In addition, the company has its own fleet of fork lifts, telehandlers, platforms, cages and conveyors to receive and load cruise inventory, hotel, food and beverage stores onto ships, along with loading and unloading passenger baggage.

SMS Director Paul Kempton commented: “We have been providing port services for cruise ships in Portsmouth for ten years and this new contract will help us to develop our equipment and services further. Portsmouth International Port is becoming increasingly popular for hosting and handling cruise ships and we are committed to supporting the City Council in its development.”

Rupert Taylor, PIP Harbour Master, said:  “Our business has grown as we have built a reputation for offering flexible and bespoke services to cruise ship operators.  Southern Maritime Services has played a valuable role in developing and delivering these services, helping us to attract a growing number of small and medium sized vessels. Feed back from clients is always positive. I know that as we continue to expand our cruise ship activity the experience and expertise that SMS brings to Portsmouth International Port will help us further increase our calling and turnaround business.”

SMS is part of the Independent Port Handling group of companies, which also provides support services for cruise ships in Southampton, Liverpool and Leith in Scotland.

Fore more information contact us.


Stevedoring and ancillary services company Southern Maritime Services (SMS) has handled the unloading of a newly-built Gosport ferry at Portsmouth International Port (PIP).

The 250 tonnes vessel, named Harbour Spirit, was discharged after arriving on board the cargo ship Amoenitas from Croatia and was unloaded into the water before making the short crossing to her new home in Gosport.

She is similar in size and layout to the existing ferry fleet and will replace the 1966-built pair, MV Gosport Queen and MV Portsmouth Queen, on the route between Gosport and Portsmouth. Harbour Spirit will carry up to 300 passengers and will include more modern facilities and better cycle storage.

SMS Director Paul Kempton explained: “The new ferry was unloaded using ship’s cranes in a tandem heavy lift and required a precise and careful discharge operation. It was fitting that we were able to deliver the new ferry through Portsmouth utilising the port’s facilities and the expertise of local service companies.”

SMS is one of the leading stevedoring companies at PIP, including handling all the port’s cruise ship callers.


Stevedoring and ancillary services company Southern Maritime Services (SMS) has kicked off a busy 2015 cruise season at Portsmouth International Port (PIP) by handling the Voyages of Discovery ship Voyager.

The 15,270 tonnes Voyager arrived from Spain and set sail on a 16-day cruise to the Norwegian fjords and into the Arctic Circle with nearly 440 passengers.

SMS, which handles all cruise ship callers at PIP, also disembarked some 450 passengers and placed on board a full load of food, provisions, beverages and technical stores, including supplies sourced locally.

The call was the first of 37 cruise ship visits being made to PIP this year, with the Voyager scheduled to make six calls between now and the middle of May.

SMS also carried out passenger check-in and embarkation, valet car parking and ship’s agency as part of its programme for the Voyager’s maiden seasonal call.

SMS Director Paul Kempton explained: “We’re looking forward to a busy 2015 cruise season and Voyager will be an important initial part of that programme. She is a high quality ship which offers premier cruising and our service reflects that.”