nice product, great instability at the top of the org chart
Entertainment Director (Former Employee) – Memphis, TN – January 29, 2017
The job and work is a delight. No better place to be than creating product on a riverboat, but company turnover across the board was daunting. I was an executive level director for the company and in 1 year alone I reported to 4 different people ( VP's) due to terminations and resignations. Company share holders were routinely forced out, often leaving a power vacuum at the top of the org chart. I was with the company for 3 years and 4 months and when my position was eliminated, I was the longest standing executive aboard the vessel and second longest standing in the office. Massive turnover...
Porter (Former Employee) – Vancouver, WA – January 4, 2016
This job is salary so If you work as a Porter, Laundry aide, Deckhand or Band mate you will technically make between $7 - $8 hour without time and a half which is less than minimum wage. You work 12 hours a day 7 days a week for 6-8 weeks straight but 4 weeks if you're a deckhand. Only making $115 to $125 a day working 12 hours a day 7 days a week is less than minumum wage. This company needs to pay atleast $175 a day.
Free food, breaks, view of the NW
Making less than minumum wage if you work in Laundry, Porter, Deckhand or Band
Great job, great people. I had the opportunity to explore places that I would'nt have ever seen on my own. Management was great at times, co-workers were always amazing. Hardest part of the job was that we worked for 12-14 hours a day amd only got to spend 2 weeks home with 2 months working. But I loved this job!
Waiter (Current Employee) – memphis tn – December 15, 2014
I worked as a server, breakfast lunch and dinner everyday for 8 to 10 weeks at a time. Money wise, we should get a larger percentage of the tip pool, the ports we dock in are boring and do not offer much to do if you have an hour or two to spare
Able-bodied seaman (Former Employee) – Vancouver, WA – May 23, 2015
Whatever you do, unless you have absolutely NO other options - including flipping burgers - DO NOT work for this company. They exploit their workers by piling on all the work they can, even tasks that aren't part of your job, that make zero sense to do, or are complete busy work. Enjoy eating? You won't after a few crew meals here. Enjoy sleeping? Sorry, you've got to wake up in the middle of the night to do more senseless B.S. Take pride in a job well done? You won't ever actually finish anything here because management can't ever agree on what their priorities are, so they change from day to day.
Enjoy being micro-managed? Come onboard! Like it when subordinates get to boss you around because they're sleeping with the chief mate? This is the place for you!
On the plus side, if you're a really good sniveling suck-up, the sky is the limit! Just practice nodding your head, possibly while watching videos of Hitler's speeches, so that you're ready to agree to anything, then sign up for an experience you won't ever forget.
Bartender/ Bar Waitress (Former Employee) – Vancouver, WA – November 26, 2014
Working on the American Empress Cruise Line was an exciting experience for me. I trained on the cruise as a bartender from first being hired as a bar waitress and bar-back. I learned so much in that rotation which was a total of 5 months. I learned Bar Terminology, how to Call Order Multiple Drinks, Basic Cocktails, Martini Drinks, Proper Glassware, and also Liquor Inventory. A typical day at work was a 12-15 hour day, working as a bar-back in the morning I would distribute all the liquor to be used for each bar on the boat. I would then return to my bar and bartend for the restaurant's lunch and dinner. There were three bars on the boat and we all would rotate bars every other week. Management did frequently change, due to rotations not all being on the same schedule, and we would adapt to a new manager. My co-workers and I all lived together and got along well. It was community living. The hardest part about my job was I think just the adjustment of working on a boat for the first time. The most enjoyable part of my job was my coworkers, they made everyday worth it!
Waiter (Current Employee) – Memphis – July 24, 2015
I was hired by this company less than a month ago. I had worked for another river boat cruise company, and that company was beyond horrible. I took the job with American Queen thinking it couldn't possibly be any worse than the job I had with the other company.
I have been pleasantly surprised and impressed with the differences in my two river boat cruise experiences. Both cruise lines travel the same route sometimes, New Orleans to Memphis. The boat I am on now is a vast improvement over the first company I worked for. First of all, they post exactly what the tip pool is for the waiters so you know what you made before you get your check. You are also allowed to keep any cash tips passengers give you on top of your share of the tip pool. The first company I worked for required you to turn in the tips to be added to the general tip pool. I haven't made a lot in tips yet because I am new and in training but some of the servers make a couple of hundred a week. Even in training I was handed over $50 in cash by two passengers which was nice.
The food on the boat is also much better for both the passengers and the workers. There is a crew meal area that is separate from the guest area and it is open a few hours for each meal service to accomodate the wide variety of workers on the boat. The curfew on my current boat is a lot later (2:00 a.m. vs. the 11:00 p.m. curfew on the first boat I worked on). This company hires you to work a 6 week rotation and then you are off for two weeks. It is 6 weeks solid, no days off. Some of the days are very long depending onmore... the number of passengers. If the boat is full, there are two back to back dinner services so you will be in the dining room probably until at least 11:00 and reporting the next morning at 6:30 a.m.
The crew cabins are drab and depressing and I was warned that athlete's foot is rampant so it is smart to bring some flip flops and be aware. While the quarters are depressing and cramped, the reality is that you won't be doing much in the room besides sleeping and showering. You will be working or its possible you might be off the boat if you get a break. This company checks you in and out electronically and crew is required to be back on the boat by certain times that are posted by the gangway so you know that info before you disembark.
One thing that is really nice is that if you are a dining room server, there is a laundry service for your work shirts and they come back pressed and on a hanger ready to go. This saves a lot of time and you just trade out your used shirts for freshly laundered ones several times a week. The crew is pretty diverse and relatively friendly. There is a smoking area on the roof of the boat in the employee area and it is neat to be on that deck when you are off to see the landscape and the river. I like sitting out there at night and watching the night sky and seeing how the river boats communicate with each other with spot lights. To see large barges going up and down the river is to realize how vital the rivers still are to our daily lives because they are major arteries of commerse even today. I would recommend this company. I think they have a level of fairness and transparency that was completely lacking in the other company I worked for. There is also a higher standard of interaction with the guests and that can't help but be reflected positively in the tip pool.less
good food, ability to save most of your pay because room/board is provided
Well, I have a dog and I miss her, I think this schedule would be hard on people with young children