Delightfully surprised a couple weeks later, Stephanie and her mom were invited to join The Today Show hosts for a special Mother’s Day brunch.
“They highlighted some of the families that were invited on the show, and then Carson Daly and Al Roker walked out wearing sailor hats and carrying luggage. They said they were giving away an Alaska cruise on Holland America Line and the moms can bring a plus one. I thought the prize was just going there for breakfast, which was wonderful. My mother was like: ‘Wait! Did I just win a cruise to Alaska?!’
When Stephanie confirmed that’s exactly what just happened, they became overwhelmed with excitement. Her mom, Marineda Usera, said she was taking her daughter on their next big adventure.
Stephanie always wanted to take a mother/daughter trip, but life often got in the way. “My mom would come to visit and help with the kids, but that wasn’t a vacation. This was our first cruise together, and it was almost as if someone up there said, ‘You need to do this. It’s time to take your trip.”
Embarking in Seattle in late June 2022, Stephanie and Marineda were greeted with warmth and kindness. “The cruise line and the staff…they pamper you. The food was amazing. The entertainment was incredible. At night, they would have these dance shows, and it was Broadway-quality. We would never be able to see that amount of shows – every night was something. We thought: When would we ever do this for ourselves?”