We Spoke to the Fans of the Pitbull Cruise Before They Sailed Away with Mr. Worldwide

A supposedly fun thing that you'd do again if you liked Pitbull.

by Ryan Pfeffer
Mar 11 2017, 6:04pm

Friday couldn't have been a more perfect day for the inaugural Pitbull After Dark Party cruise. The Port of Miami stayed a warm 78 degrees as tourists dragged suitcases along under an unblemished Florida sky. It was as if Pitbull himself had designed the afternoon to perfectly set the tone for the next three days, over the course of which he and a couple thousand of his most loyal fans would board the Norwegian Pearl and sail to the Bahamian isle of Great Stirrup Cay and back. Along the way there will be no shortage of Pitbull-worthy activities, including a "single, bilingual, and ready to mingle" mixer, a flip cup tournament, and an hour of bingo hosted by Austin Mahone. There will, of course, also be two live performances by Mr. Worldwide himself.

Pitbull is certainly not the first to have his own music cruise. These sailing festivals have been popular for some time now. In 2016 alone, cruises dedicated to the truTV series Impractical Jokers, the band Kiss, and adult teenager Rob Gronkowski have all departed from Miami. Kid Rock will celebrate the 8th iteration of his "Chillin' the Most" cruise this April in Tampa, unfortunately.

But this will be the first music cruise dedicated exclusively to the 36-year-old Pitbull, which is surprising considering the fact that he's basically the musical equivalent of a cruise ship: a mercilessly fun entity who has built an empire on convincing people that they are having a great time. And the first generation Cuban-American from Miami shows no signs of slowing down either. His tenth studio album, Climate Change, will drop March 17, and Pitbull continues to be one of pop's most ubiquitous figures, willing to collaborate with anything that can physically fit in a recording booth. But he's also one of music's most divisive artists. Pitbull has been a critic's pin cushion ever since he abandoned the lovably coarse sound of his early Miami anthems like "Culo" in favor of a more sanitized, generic top 40 style. His transformation from baggie Ts and cornrows to white suits and sunglasses has made him a very rich punch line. Still, there is no shortage of fans sticking by Pit's side. So, before they sail into the sunset with gallons of Fireball to drink, we decided to hear them out.

Laurie and Jim, "We'll just say mid-50s," Cabo San Lucas

Noisey: So you travelled a long way for this.
Laurie: Yes we did.
Jim: It wasn't too bad.

How long have you been Pitbull fans?
Laurie: Several years. We used him on our drive when we moved from Portland, Oregon, to Cabo San Lucas. It was Pitbull on play.
Jim: She was playing it all the time. Six-day road trip.

And it never got old?
Laurie: Never. Never.

So obviously you were excited when you heard about this cruise?
Laurie: We could not believe it. I was really stoked.

How quickly did you book your ticket?
Laurie: Like, within 45 seconds of finding the website.

Jim: Well, maybe about 15 minutes. She was like, 'It would be nice if we could go to a Pitbull concert.' And I said, 'Well look it up on the internet.' And she looks it up and goes, 'Oh! They're going to have a cruise.' So I said, 'Let's book it.'

What would you say to Pitbull if you met him?
Laurie: I would say thank you very much for doing what you do. You bring a lot of happiness and a lot of joy. And you make a hella long road trip really good.
Jim: Thanks for making great music for dancing to.

What is it about Pitbull that connects with you?
Laurie: The music is so uplifting and so much fun. It just makes you want to party. It makes you feel young. It's fantastic. And it appeals to everybody of every age. I'm telling you, from my nieces who are 20, to my friends who are retired, they all like the music.

Yeah, I just spoke to a woman here who'll be celebrating her 80th birthday on the cruise.
Laurie: And I bet she's gonna party.

Margot, 80, Key West

Noisey: Are you a Pitbull fan?
Margot: Yes!

What's your favorite Pitbull song?
All of them. I saw him five years ago in an arena.

And that was a fun concert?
Yes, yes.

So let's say you're wandering around the ship late at night and you see Pitbull in the hallway…
[Clutches her chest as if feigning a heart attack] I wouldn't know what to do.

Let's imagine he was here right. What would you say to him.
Like this, [mimics putting an arm around an imaginary Pitbull's shoulder], come here, come here.

And what would you say to anyone out there who doesn't like Pitbull?
Go home.

Lupe, 31, Los Angeles & Wendy, 28, Los Angeles

Lupe (left) & Wendy (right).

So how long have you been a Pitbull fan?
Lupe: Oh my gosh, Wendy, when was the first concert that we went to?
Wendy: Six years ago at the Staples Center? Seven?

Favorite Pitbull song?
Lupe: "Shut It Down."

What is it about Pitbull that you connect with so much?
Lupe: You know what, he brings back a lot of our heritage music, like salsa or cumbia.
Wendy: He gravitates to the major influencers like Celia Cruz and he modernizes it to attract the younger crowd. And then as soon as they start doing their research on that song, Celia Cruz is going to come up.

Do you think the music is deeper than a lot of people give it credit for?
Lupe: It is. It's very positive. Never negative. Just keep moving forward.
Wendy: A lot of energy.

So let's say you're wondering around the ship late at night, you turn the corner, and there's Pitbull.
Lupe: I'd shit my pants. I'd probably go overboard.

Wendy? Would you have an accident as well?
Wendy: No, I would try to play it cool. I would jump on him, hug him. I'd be like, baby, where have you been? I've been looking for you.

Maria, 37, San Diego & Carmela, 41, Arizona

Left to right: Carmella, Maribel, Maria

Noisey: How long have you been Pitbull fans?
Maria: I used to sing his songs to my son. He's now 16. I used to play Pitbull songs when I changed his diaper.

What was your favorite Pitbull song to change diapers to?
Maria: "Culo." The one that goes [singing] "tienes tremendo Culo." I used to spank his booty at that part.

What are you looking forward to most about the cruise?
Carmela: I just think it's fun to be around the same fans who enjoy the same kind of music. And to be out there with the sun and get some drinks.

What is it about Pitbull that appeals to you?
Carmela: Definitely his music. And his Latin flare, you know?

What would you do if you run into Pitbull on the ship?
Carmela: I would probably do a selfie. Because if I go back to my room, like, no one would believe that that happened. So I'd get proof.

Favorite Pitbull songs?
Maria: Oh my goodness. There's too many. All of them. There's actually not a song I don't like.
Carmela: We were just playing Pandora Pitbull radio on the beach yesterday and we had a pretty good crowd around us.

Any words to the Pitbull haters?
Carmela: [Groans] Why give them the time of day? We know how to party and have a good time.
Maria: Sucks for them.

Caitlyn, 32, Atlanta

Noisey: How long have you been a Pitbull fan?
Caitlyn: Probably since he first got big.

Why do you like him?
I just like up-tempo music. I think he puts on a great show and always dresses very nice.

If you got to meet Pitbull, what would you say to him?
I don't know — probably say, 'Hi, how are you?' I mean, at the end of the day, I guess he's just a normal person like everybody.

Someone today told me they'd shit their pants.
Yeah, probably not that. I would try not to, anyway.

Anything you'd like to say to the Pitbull haters out there?
Get a life.

Curtis, "Something under 60," & Awilda, "Something over 40," Colorado

Noisey: So you're here for Pitbull, I assume?
Curtis: Absolutely, yeah, we're huge fans. I've been a fan for a long time. I actually got some of his pirated stuff from Shanghai because I'm a pilot for United. So I used to go get his stuff there.

You first found out about Pitbull in China?
Curtis: Yeah, it was was pirated stuff that he did that was really raw. It was very edgy, before he did what everybody knows today. That was about seven years ago probably. And then we saw him in Vegas about two years ago and that's when we said to ourselves: we have to see him again. So we were looking for upcoming performances and that's how we stumbled across this. It was too good to be true.
Awilda: This is our first cruise ever.

So why do you connect to Pitbull so much?
Curtis: There's two things I really like about him. One, the music crosses everything. We're Spanish and English — and he does that. He crosses all boundaries. He's got Spanish, English, hip-hop. He does popular — what people would call Top 40 stuff — and everything in between. But the cool thing about Pitbull is what he does as a human being — how much he returns to the poor people and the things he does. He never lost sight of who he is and where he came from. That's what makes him really special.

In what ways does he give back that you admire?
Curtis: He's got a school that he started for kids that have no chance to try and give them a chance to become something, and there's a lot of things undercover that people don't know about him.
Awilda: He's very inspirational.

So what's best case scenario for this cruise? What's the coolest thing that could happen?
Awilda: Just have a blast.
Curtis: That I don't drink too much tequila. Enough to really party and have fun, but not too much. And obviously if I got to meet him that would be really cool.

What would you say to him?
Awilda: Holy shit.
Curtis: I'd tell him you're an incredible individual because you're this great wild man that parties like we do and loves beautiful women just like I do, but he's got this great heart and soul inside. That's very special. So, thanks for being that way is what I'd tell him.

Favorite song?
Curtis: "Don't Stop the Party."

Anything to say to the Pitbull haters out there?
Curtis: I don't get you at all. You're wasting your time, because we all love him.

Lourdes, Age Unknown, Miami

Noisey: How long have you been a Pitbull fan?
Lourdes: As long as I can remember. Back when he started and was a local.

What is it about him that connects with you?
Everything. First of all, his music is outrageous. And second of all, being Cuban and from Miami, I feel a connection with him. It makes me proud. And he's really big into education, which is important to me. I don't know if you've seen his school that he has here. It's an amazing school.

Have you ever been to it?
No. I've been by it, but I haven't had the opportunity to be inside it. But it's amazing.

What part of the cruise are you looking forward to the most?
His concerts, of course. And some of the DJs, like DJ Laz. He's amazing. He's also a local. When my son turned 15 I actually hired him for his party.

What would you do if you ran into Pitbull on the ship?
I'd hug him. I'll jump on him— no, because I'm with my husband unfortunately. I would congratulate him and tell him to keep up the good work.

What would you say to some of the Pitbull haters out there? Because there are a lot of them.
Really? There are some? I don't know of any.

Yeah, some people don't like his music.
Well you can't please everybody. You can only please some of the people some of the time, and I'm glad I'm one of those ones.

Favorite Pitbull song?
Timber.

Least favorite Pitbull song?
I can't think of any. I like them all.

Katina, 32, Atlanta

Noisey: How long have you been a Pitbull fan?
Katina: Um, a decade?

What is it about his music that you enjoy?
It's just really fun music. When you hear it on the radio it makes you go, Oh, this is a great song! Pitbull did it again.

What part of the cruise are you looking forward to most?
Dancing. Dancing with a lot of fun, like-minded people. I'm excited that Debbie Deb is going to be on the ship.

So if you happen to be wondering around the ship late at night and you run into Pitbull, what would you do?
Give him a big high-five and share a piña coloda.

There are a lot of Pitbull haters out there — people who don't like him or his songs and want to send him to Alaska so he gets eaten by bears — what would you say to the haters of Pitbull out there?
Haters gonna hate. Brush 'em off.

Do you have a favorite Pitbull song?
Um, oh my goodness, what is that song — one, two, three, four.

The one with a lot of counting in it?
Yeah, that one.

Tori, 44, Michelle, 47, & Deanna, 42 (not pictured), Orlando

Tori

Micehlle

Noisey: How long have you been a Pitbull fan?
Tori: I would say least 10 years.
Michelle: We've seen him in concert like eight times.

Why do you love Pitbull so much?
Michelle: Love his energy. He's the best entertainer.
Deanna: His tight pants!
Michelle: Did they tell you they're all married but they all have hall passes?

So if you do happen to meet Pitbull on the cruise what would you do?
Michelle: He better run for his life.
Tori: Well, we'd make sure he's not lost, of course.

What part of the cruise are you looking forward to the most?
Michelle: The concerts.
Tori: Zumba!
Deanna: Oh, wait — the flipping the cup contest.

You guys will be in the flip cup contest?
Deanna: Oh, yeah.
Michelle: [Points to Tori] She's the team captain.
Tori: Well, I was not at the meeting when this was discussed, but apparently.

Anything you'd like to say to the Pitbull haters out there?
Tori: We wouldn't speak to them.
Deanna: They're jelly.
Michelle: They're boring. Totally missing out. Who doesn't like Pitbull?
Tori: Give him a chance.

All photos by Amadeus McCaskill.

Ryan Pfeffer is worldwide. Follow him on Twitter.