08/03/2006 at 04:00 PM EDT
"It's going to be a cold-stone groove, this thing right here," Diddy said of his Unforgivable 50 party (celebrating his fragrance, Unforgivable), where PEOPLE's Courtney Rubin got exclusive behind-the-scenes access. Here's what she saw:
I caught up with the hip-hop impresario in a lounge aboard his rented 262-ft. yacht ("my bonus to myself," he said) about three hours before the bash started in Saint-Tropez last weekend. He filled me in on his plans as his three assistants hunted for a lost diamond earring and a butler fetched him a glass of wine. "This is the only time I get to have a vacation because I work so much," he said.
But Diddy and his pals – among them Penelope Cruz and Paris Hilton – worked just as hard at partying, and I did my best to keep up. With a glass of Moët in hand, I got cocktail-doctoring tips from Hilton ("It's all about the lime," she said, reaching over and taking one from the bartender), food advice from Angie Everhart (she recommended the T-bone steak) and the Saint-Tropez shopping scoop from Anne Hathaway (Naf Naf is "like the Gap, but better").
For more on Diddy's high-seas pleasure cruise, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.