MEET THE MANAGEMENT
Samuel Mifsud
President / Managing Director

Samuel is the younger son of the SMS GROUP’s Chairman – Neville Mifsud – and brother of Simon, who both occupy posts of Managing Directors in the Malta set-up. Sam is a self-motivated person with a wide range of experience in various spheres of industry, but more recently specialized in tourism and the cruise industry. He is responsible for all the group’s tourism/travel related operations including SMS Tourism, SMS (UK) Ltd., Holiday Malta (UK Tour Operator owned by the group), SMS International Shore Operations Europe (Malta, Italy, UK, The Netherlands, Tunisia, Copenhagen and Ireland), SMS International Shore Operations U.S. Inc., English Language Academy Ltd. (English language school in Malta) and other related joint ventures.

As in all other companies under his responsibility, Sam exerts his full personal presence and commitment in every aspect related to all SMS International Shore Operations, particularly the United States of America. This accounts for the undoubted success that this company is currently enjoying.
In 2006, Samuel Mifsud was appointed by Malta’s Prime Minister to act as Chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, which he held for three years. During his appointment, he received the full acknowledgement and backing of all stakeholders in the industry both locally as well as overseas. After his term of office at the Malta Tourism Authority, Samuel Mifsud was retained as a consultant to the Minister of Tourism.

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Christopher Blanchard
Executive Vice President – World Wide Operations

Christopher is a strong senior operational manager with a proven history in project management and team leadership. He enjoys working with all levels of organizations to reach a common goal through hard work, shared values and mutual respect. With his extensive ship and shore-based experience within the cruise industry, Christopher is in his element identifying and establishing new destinations & experiences, at the same time as developing and implementing the systems, best practice and standard operating procedures, which improve both organizational efficiency and corporate cost effectiveness.

Prior to joining SMS in March 2009, Christopher held various posts which all contributed towards his extensive and invaluable understanding, and experience of the company’s requirements and commitments. 

These include over 8 years of sea-going experience as Assistant Purser, Assistant Crew Purser, Crew Purser and Assistant Shore Excursion Manager with Royal Viking Line (RVL) and Cunard Line. Following the sale of RVL, he was seconded to Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) where he held the positions of Shore Excursion Manager and Senior Shore Excursion Manager, where he was part of the team that spear-headed the development of NCL from a Caribbean based entity into a global player. Upon completion of his time onboard, Christopher was promoted shore-side into the corporate office of NCL located in Miami. While there, he served as Fleet Shore Excursion Manager, responsible for selecting & training all new Shorex Managers and then Manager of Destination Services Worldwide, responsible for all land-based passenger logistics. Following a move to the United Kingdom, Christopher was contracted as an exclusive cruise Industry Advisor with Kuoni DMC prior to joining SMS-ISO, where has held the positions of Operations Manager, General Manager, and Director, until his promotion to Executive Vice President for Worldwide Operations in March of 2018.

To date, the achievement Christopher is most proud of is helping create the environment and assist the leadership of Sam Mifsud, which during his tenure has taken SMS-ISO from a operational based in Malta, Italy & the United Kingdom, to one that encompasses the leading cruise destinations in Canada, Denmark, Ireland, The Netherlands and the United States of America.

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Andrius Zickevicius
Associate Vice President – Guest Services & Administration

Andrius Zickevicius began his career with Carnival Cruise Line in 2010, when he had joined them in their Guest Logistics Department where he was responsible for Guest Embarkation/Disembarkation, Lost & Found and Flight Coordination. He became proficient with multiple Carnival Operational systems. In 2012, Andrius was chosen by the Carnival Corporate office to work with the team to develop the Airport Check-In for Carnival Cruise Line guests at Miami International Airport.

The pilot program was a great success and went live in late 2012 with Andrius being promoted to an Assistant Supervisor to lead the team with the brand new development that no other cruise line had. In 2014, Andrius was promoted to a Supervisor for Carnival Cruise Line Meet & Greet Operations for United States, Europe and the Caribbean. He was in charge of overseeing the operations and ensuring that vendors met the Company’s requirements and standards, maintained and updated the budget as needed for each port.

In the second part of 2014, Andrius joined SMS ISO U.S., Inc. where we drew on his extensive experience of his leadership skills, ability to multi-task and lead multiple initiatives, and his wide knowledge of the cruise line business – particularly from
the customer’s point of view – and was appointed as the SMS ISO U.S., Inc. Airports Manager. Andrius led the team to a successful and high achieving rating for various brands.

Later, he took on a project that successfully achieved significant savings for the company and created a more universal and efficient airport operation. Shortly thereafter, Andrius was promoted to a Strategic Business Planning Director where he oversaw New Initiatives and Developments for multiple brands and various aspects of SMS ISO U.S., Inc.
Today, Andrius serves as Associate Vice President of Guest Services & Administration where he oversees all Guest Port Services, Guest Airport Services and Administration department for SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc.
Andrius approaches each workday with a level of passion that his coworkers find infectious, and our guests, reassuring. He never ceases to make suggestions aimed at bettering our processes, whilst displaying an equal desire for improving our guests’ experience.

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Joanne Bowen
Sr. Director – Port Agency

Joanne oversees and manages the North America functions for Port Agency at SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc. Joanne joined SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc. in September of 2017, bringing with her 28 years of  experience within the cruise industry. In addition to working directly for Norwegian Cruise Line for 7 years in numerous positions, Joanne also worked for Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean International for 15 years in the Marine Operations Department as Port Agent and was promoted to Port Agency Manager.


Joanne, prior to joining SMS, spent 7 years managing the Port Agency Operations for South Florida and New England (ports included Miami, Port Everglades, Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown, Newport, Portland, Rockland and Bar Harbor). Joanne would travel to all ports in New England and South Florida overseeing a team of 11 port agents.

Her wealth of knowledge, organizational skills, partnerships with Local Authorities, partners and vendors within ports throughout the U.S., together with the respect she has within the industry, make her an invaluable asset.

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Idania Arzola
Director – Guest Port Services

Idania Arzola joined SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc. during the beginning stages of business development in the United States in 2012 bringing her experience of over 20 years in the airline and cruise line industry. She has proven to be an important team member with outstanding communication abilities and capability to work and integrate well with any level of personnel. Past positions included Passenger Sales & Accounting Clerk with Eastern Airlines (Miami), Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (Miami), and Port Operations for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. (worldwide).

Idania has remarkable skills at organizing operations and effective trouble shooting.

Idania was assigned to lead Disney Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Costa Cruise Line and AIDA Cruises in United States, where she has successfully achieved great customer experience through hard work and dedication to the brand and the company. Idania has become another important member of our experienced team.

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Aida Miller
Director – Guest Port Services

Aida Miller joined SMS ISO U.S., Inc. in 2013 following a stint of 8 years with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. Prior to that, Aida spent 27 years in the airline business between Eastern Airlines (New Jersey) and Northwest Airlines (New Jersey and Florida) during which period she held posts of Reservation Agent (Spanish Desk), Customer Service Agent, Ground Operation Education, Customer Service Supervisor and Ground Operations Education Trainer.

In 2005, she took up employment with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. in Miami. She spent 2 years as a Pier Supervisor where her responsibilities included supervision of turn day operations, providing customer service, administrative duties, developing
employee and team lead schedules, preparing daily rosters, training schedules and bid work schedules. During this period she won the Employee of the Year Award and an award in Port Everglades for surpassing targets set for Celebrity Cruise Line beating out ports worldwide.

In 2007, she was appointed Account Manager for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., where she was responsible for over 20 different ports providing guidance and assistance in all aspects of the turn day; maintaining ratings and exceeding guest’s
expectations. Aida was in charge of the RFP process, Port Budgets, Government Relations, Inaugural Events and responsible for maintaining an open dialogue with the ship porters and port agent.

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Elizabeth Shearin
Director – Guest Port Services

Elizabeth oversees and manages the New York operations for SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc. Elizabeth joined the SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc. in May 2018, bringing with her over a decade of experience within the cruise industry.

Elizabeth was the Vice President of Cruise Operations for the New York City Economic and Development Corporation (NYCEDC), where she oversaw the City’s NYCruise program, which included the City’s cruise assets at both the Manhattan and Brooklyn Cruise Terminals.​ Elizabeth negotiated NYCEDC’s first joint marketing initiative to promote NYCruise homeport vessels, the inaugural season of the Carnival Horizon, and New York City’s first Formula E race at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal​.

In addition to working for the NYCEDC, Elizabeth worked with World Wide Sourcing Group (WWSG) where she oversaw the delivery of multi-port stevedoring and security services to ensure guest and customer satisfaction, managed service agreements and relations with Cruise Lines, Union relations and communication, and RFP process for WWSG’s cruise brands.

Elizabeth started in the cruise industry as Cruise Operations Manager with CruiseNorfolk in Norfolk, Virginia where she was responsible for the grand opening of Norfolk’s Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center. Following her time in Norfolk, Elizabeth spent six years in New York & the Canada New England Region as an Operations Director, North America for Intercruises Shoreside and Port Services overseeing ground services and port agency departments.

Her partnerships and intimate knowledge of New York City’s cruise operations make her a welcomed addition to SMS’s growing operations in the U.S.

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Jason DeLeo
Director – Guest Port Services

Jason joined the SMS team at the inception of the West Coast operation in 2016. Jason oversees and manages the Guest Port Services Operations at SMS International Shore Operations U.S., Inc. for West Coast operations of North America. Jason joined the SMS team at the beginning planning stages of the SMS expansion to the West Coast, and from day one has taken on leadership to establish a strong entity for SMS. His wealth of experience, gleaned from more than fourteen years with Holland America Line and Ground Handling companies is admirable.


During his tenure at Holland America Line, he managed all aspects of Guest Services needs and served as onboard Guest Relations Manager for over 8 years. Thereafter, Jason moved to service cruise lines as ground handler in charge of West and Gulf Coasts operations for over 14 years. Jason worked directly with cruise line account managers to develop the most efficient and least cost-effective way of producing high quality results.

During his 22 plus years in the industry, Jason has excelled in his management and coordinating capabilities. In this period, he has successfully directed our operations on West Coast of North America and is justifiably qualified for excellent recommendations from our principals on the
smooth-running of their calls in various ports and attention to detail.

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