Good NewsFamilySiblings Surprise Sister With Over-the-Top Cruise Announcement for Birthday

Siblings Surprise Sister With Over-the-Top Cruise Announcement for Birthday

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A woman was left stunned when the “more free-spirited” members of her family showed up at her workplace and performed a choreographed song and dance routine with a giant boat, revealing that they had planned a surprise cruise for her 40th birthday.


Stephanie Coakley, 40, from Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, thought that she, her mom and her sister might be heading off for a modest girl’s weekend for the milestone – but she had no idea what her family had planned.

Secretly, Stephanie’s sister, Sara Valencia, 38, had liaised with Stephanie’s husband and daughter to cover childcare, which allowed Sara and her mom, Sandy Gaines, 60, to plan bigger than a local weekend away.

Sara and Kathy settled on a Friday-to-Monday cruise to the Bahamas. They also invited Stephanie’s second cousin, Kathy Harvey, 59, to join them so that they could have two people in each cabin room.

With the cruise booked, it was time to plan how to surprise Stephanie.

In mid-January, the family decided to hold the grand reveal on February 16, the day they could check in for the cruise, which gave them four weeks to prepare.


During those four weeks, Sara, Sandy and Kathy sent Stephanie a series of postcards from different states to throw her off the scent.

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Secretly, though, those postcards had declarations like “Bring your sense of adventure” – a message starting with B – which, if lined up, would spell out “Bahamas.”

Then, for the reveal itself, Sandy decided that the only way to break the news to her daughter was in the most elaborate way possible: by showing up in a boat.


The family worked on making a boat from cardboard, with Sandy writing words to a song and Kathy choreographing dance moves.

On the big day itself, Stephanie was asked by her company’s receptionist to head into a conference room. There, she came across the boat, and her daughter, Brianna, started recording.

Sara, Sandy and Kathy then performed their extensive routine – during which a stunned Stephanie, seated on a chair, didn’t know how to react, given how many emotions were spinning.

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In describing the moment, Sara said: “She was dumbfounded; she had no idea we were coming.


“The boat horn blew along with the music as we went back and forth with the boat across the room.

“Once an awkward amount of time had passed, and I was crying and laughing behind the boat, we lifted it, and my mom walked out underneath it to present Stephanie with a homemade ticket that said ADMIT ONE BAHAMAS CRUISE and a basket of birthday cruise related gifts she and Kathy curated.

“At this point, Stephanie thought it was over, but then my mom pulled out the microphone from the basket and told her to sit down.

“She said, ‘What are you doing?! At work?! REALLY?!’

“You see, we’re a little more free-spirited than Stephanie, who is a little more reserved, so we tend to embarrass her sometimes.

“The performance began, and she didn’t know whether to laugh or hide her face, but she survived it, and it was the funniest thing ever.

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“Afterwards, she asked us what the postcards had to do with any of that.

“We asked her where they were, and she said she had them displayed in her office.

“We walked back to her office, flipped them all over, laid out the cards in order, and spelled out BAHAMAS.

“She said, ‘Well, I hadn’t paid any attention to the back of the cards.’

“By this time, it was well past noon, so we took her to lunch so that we could go over the details and start planning our trip.

“She said that no one will ever be able to top that reveal.

“She was surprised, shocked, embarrassed, and happy all at once, and it made me feel good to know I was making a reality out of something she’d always wanted to do.”

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