Career Milestone Highlight Gale Gorton

Gale celebrated her 35th anniversary with the company this past month and will be wrapping up her impressive career this Spring. She shared a glimpse into her time with us below.


At the time I joined the Company in 1988, ‘Carnival’ was limited to Carnival Cruise Lines and there were just a handful of ships under this one brand. Like so many of our new hires today, I was looking for opportunities to travel and applied to multiple cruise lines sailing from the USA. Carnival Cruise Lines Casino personnel were the first to answer my letters of intent and I joined the M/S Holiday as a Dealer that April.


I was joining Carnival for just 6 months, a working holiday so to speak. Within 8 weeks, I was offered a Cage Cashier opening and moved into the then, ‘Bookkeeper’ role just a few weeks later. My first transfer from M/S Holiday to M/S Tropicale took me from Caribbean ports to the West Coast of North America – I was hooked! In those days, one onboarded and stayed for as long as one wanted. I didn’t return home for 14 months!


The opportunities for travel, the new friendships and the dreams shared are numerous. Ask me to name a port of call and I have at least one or two great memories from each. From Scuba Diving in some of the clearest waters of the Caribbean and Bermuda to being part of onboard team adventures such as ‘Top Yachts Racing’ in St. Thomas or ‘Fast Water River Rafting’ in Alaska; it was just so exciting. Working to Live, being paid to enjoy life with like-minded adventurers; that was what mattered most during my first year or so. I was at the very beginning of a great journey that would take me around the world twice. My mission to try absolutely everything offered meant that I might never suffer a later regret of having not taken part.


As the Company expanded beyond a single brand, career opportunities presented themselves. I found myself at the forefront of new and exciting innovations within Casino and the cruise industry generally. Being part of the transition from shipboard Casinos with slots wholly operating with coins and tokens to that of bill acceptors and EFT was revolutionary. The very first policy I crafted for shore side leadership at the time dealt with onboard account charging practices within Casino – how might we do this and why? Fast forward another 25 years and now the larger portion of our casino drops reflect this medium!


By the time I had moved up through the ranks to that of a shipboard roving staff member, I was only the second ever GCO roving staff. This new role facilitated more regular moves around the world and across brands. I was in the perfect job to travel to such places as French Polynesia, Australia and my first love, New Zealand. Work was a pleasure! From one new project to the next – bring it on!


Moving shoreside in 2005 was perhaps my biggest transition. Re-starting a surveillance department was challenging but navigating Miami traffic proved far worse! Oh, what a life! And then to be one of just a few people tasked with revolutionizing shipboard accounting and control processes! The CMAS build consumed our time over many years and then rolling it out through 2014 was so very rewarding. The GCO Compliance group was born from this and with it, today’s Casino Compliance Plan.


Being regularly challenged and appreciated at work is what I believe kept me at GCO this long. In 2015, I was invited to lead the then Crew Personnel areas. It would take the next 7 years to get to where we are today with our People Plan but every step of this journey has been a positive one and the GCHR team, as they are known today, have our onboard Team Members at the forefront of everything they do. They are a truly amazing group of ladies, fully invested in the act of engaging with our onboard staff.


Responsibility for Casino AML was gifted to me in 2016 but this topic was one that I really did not know anything about at the start. My thirst to learn everything I could about this area was addictive and onboarding the Team that we have now extremely fulfilling. Likewise, needing to understand the basics of Logistics so our warehouse can best serve its shipboard customers, GCO provided me very varied and entertaining working days, every day. And that’s the secret sauce for success – GCO always keep it interesting, it’s impossible to get bored! That and the fact that working with such great people is truly motivating.


I will always remain grateful for each opportunity that this Company put in front of me; thankful that I always had the courage to accept every challenge; relieved that my leadership believed in me and that throughout, I have had their support. It was not always easy – the Pandemic Shutdown was particularly difficult for everyone; but it has definitely been the most awesome ride of a lifetime with the ‘Best Team In The Business’! Thank you all in GCO! I will miss you!