Employee Spotlight

Rachel Haraguni



Rachel has been one of our best hospitality instructors for the past four seasons. Before coming to ACL, she served in the Navy for eight years and then received a BS in Hospitality with a focus on Tourism and Event Management from the University of New Haven. She instructs the majority of our training classes for temporary employees, so she most likely will be the first face that you come across when you arrive in Guilford, CT to start class.

Since training can be a point of apprehension for some candidates, we asked Rachel to share her perspective of the process. Not only does she run through a typical training class for our temporary employees, but also she offers advice on how to be successful and mentions some of the qualities that she looks for in a trainee.


1. What do you like most about being a hospitality instructor for ACL?

“My favorite part of the job is that while I train the same material each class, I get to interact with so many different personalities. The fact that I get to help mold young adults and provide them with guidance on what can potentially become their career is very rewarding for me. I have gotten to watch several of my trainees do well in a temporary steward, galley steward, or deckhand position and move up the ranks within the company to a full time position as a Chef, Shipboard Manager, or ERA.”

2. What is a usual training class like for temporary employees? (Deckhands, Stewards, Galley Stewards)

“A typical training class for temporary employees starts out with introductions of not only the staff but also the trainees so everyone gets to briefly know each other. We will talk a little about the company and our passengers to set the expectation. It will then turn more toward the breakdown of their specific positions through several methods of training to include PowerPoint Lectures, and hands on training with tons of reading material for the trainee to be able to read ahead and study from in the evenings. All trainees will learn shipboard safety and how to respond during an emergency. The days will be long to simulate the days aboard the vessel, so trainees should come with a great attitude and ready to work!”

3. What is your training method for temporary employees?

“We like to look at things from the trainee point of view and try to design the curriculum to be fast paced but easy to grasp through repetition and examples. While there are some topics that have to be taught via PowerPoint, we try and do as much hands on training as possible. I find that constant feedback and sometimes working one on one with trainees helps with the learning process. We tell actual sea stories of things that have happened onboard our vessels and how to handle situations they may come across. While we do have a very strict time schedule to follow, we still try and keep the course balanced by infusing a bit of humor into certain topics where we can. We will take the time to assist one person if they are falling behind so they can keep the pace with everyone as we want to set everyone up for success.”

4. What qualities make someone the “Top of their Training Class?”

“Some qualities that make trainees ‘Top of their Training Class’ would be having a great attitude, smiling, a semi-outgoing personality, being a go-getter, helpful, and obviously being able to quickly pick up the material being taught. A lot of those same qualities are what we look for when deciding if the trainee has met the needed requirements to safely and successfully work aboard our vessels. Material wise we can pretty much train anyone, but the trainee has to bring a great attitude and the drive to want to succeed as those are the things that can’t be taught in the short time that we have them.”

5. Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting the training process?

“My advice to someone starting training is to come ready to work with excitement and great energy for your new adventure! Pay attention during training and soak up as much as you can while you are with us. We don’t expect anyone to be perfect. We know you aren’t a machine, but take notes, actively participate, ask questions, bring a great attitude and you will succeed. Also, don’t over pack! Remember you are going to work so will need room for your uniforms, and a few sets of clothes for your off time. But remember you can wash your laundry onboard; you will be in port almost every day and can purchase anything additional that may you need. That is always feedback I get from trainees and managers alike, they wish they didn’t over pack.”

Looking forward to meeting you!