Cruise ships are known for their lively atmosphere and hidden cues. An upside-down pineapple is one such signal that has a hidden meaning on a cruise ship. Typically, a pineapple represents hospitality, but when it’s turned upside down on a cruise ship, it’s a discreet invitation to a swinger’s lifestyle.

We’ve scoured through Reddit, spoke with upside-down pineapple people, and sifted through countless discussions to bring you the facts. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of this unique cruise tradition.

What Does An Upside Down Pineapple Mean?

An upside-down pineapple on a cruise ship usually means the person displaying it is a swinger. Swingers are couples who exchange partners with other couples for sexual activities. This symbol is most commonly seen on a guest’s cabin door, signaling to others that they are open to meeting fellow swingers.

However, not everyone is so open with their display. Some people might wear a pineapple pin or have clothing with the fruit patterned on it. These are more subtle hints, but they carry the same message. There are even individuals with pineapple tattoos, which usually a more permanent affiliation with the swinger lifestyle.

Origin of the Upside Down Pineapple

The origin of the upside-down pineapple as a symbol for swingers isn’t crystal clear. Traditionally, pineapples have been associated with warmth and welcome, often used as decor to signify that guests are appreciated. This symbolism dates back to the days of colonial trade, where the rarity of the fruit made it a prized possession, often displayed to show off one’s wealth and generosity.

The swinger community adapted this symbol for their own use, turning it upside down to signal their interest in partner swapping. This practice likely began discreetly, with swingers using the symbol to identify each other in public spaces without drawing attention from those outside the community. It’s said that placing an upside-down pineapple in a shopping cart was a method used to signal to other swingers in grocery stores.

As the symbol gained recognition within the community, it found its way onto cruise ships, where privacy and a sense of adventure create the perfect environment for swingers to connect. Here, the upside-down pineapple is often found on cabin doors, a clear but discreet invitation to those in the know.

Is Swinging Common on Cruise Ships?

upside down pineapple on a door

When it comes to swinging on cruise ships, it’s a bit like an open secret. It’s there, but you won’t see it unless you’re looking for it. Most cruise lines don’t officially recognize swinging activities on board, so it’s not something you’ll find in the brochure. But that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. On regular cruises, those who are into the swinging scene might use subtle signs like the upside-down pineapple to find each other.

The actual presence of swingers can vary widely from one cruise to another. It often depends on the crowd, the cruise line, and even the destinations. Some cruises naturally attract a more adventurous crowd, and on these, you might find a higher number of swingers.

Then there are cruises specifically for swingers. These are a whole different ball game. On a swingers cruise, the lifestyle is the main event. These cruises are all about providing a space where swingers can be open and upfront about their interests without needing the usual secret symbols.

You’ll also find adult-only cruises where the vibe is more relaxed about clothing and behavior. These party cruises can sometimes feel like anything goes, and activities like swinging are more out in the open.

Other Symbols that Swingers Use

Aside from an upside down pineapple, there are other symbols swingers can use to identify each other. Women might sport anklets, toe rings, or thumb rings. Both men and women might wear their wedding rings on their right hands instead of the left.

Men could don a black ring on the right hand as a subtle indicator. Beyond jewelry, other symbols like flamingo motifs or even garden gnomes have been adopted within the community as playful, yet discreet, signs of swinger status.

Wearing Pineapple Clothing


upside down pineapple clothing mean

Pineapple prints on clothing on a cruise could be misinterpreted. Yes, some swingers do use pineapple motifs to signal their lifestyle, especially if they’re on a themed or adult-only cruise where discretion is less of a concern. On a regular cruise, however, swingers tend to be more discreet, often using subtler signs to connect with like-minded individuals.

It’s a bit of a gamble—wear a pineapple print, and you might get a few knowing looks or even inquiries from those in the know. But it’s also entirely possible to sport pineapple patterns in blissful ignorance, just as many do. After all, not everyone is clued into the symbol’s double entendre.

So, if you’re just a fan of the tropical aesthetic, don’t be too surprised if you attract some unexpected attention. It’s always good to be aware of these cultural nuances, especially when your fashion choices might be sending signals you’re not intending to send. If you’re concerned about giving off the wrong impression, you might want to save the pineapple prints for settings where their meaning is purely about style and vacation vibes.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are a few misconceptions that myths that we’d like to clear. While an upside-down pineapple might be a sign of swinger-friendly guests, it’s not an all-access pass to everyone’s cabin. Swingers are picky and look for mutual attraction, not just a shared interest in the lifestyle.

It’s also a myth that swinging symbols guarantee instant social success. These signs are conversation starters, not promises of intimate encounters. The community values respect and boundaries, so it’s important to approach with courtesy.

Privacy is another consideration. Many swingers use subtle signs to maintain discretion, balancing openness with the need for privacy. This can make it tricky to connect with others, as overt displays are often avoided.

Remember, not every swinger will be someone you click with, and that’s okay. Misunderstandings can happen, and it’s essential to handle them with grace. Swinging on a cruise is about mutual interest and consent, not a free-for-all.


On cruise ships, an upside-down pineapple usually signals interest in swinging, but not always. Some people might just like the look without knowing the meaning. If you’re not into swinging, just enjoy your cruise. If you are, you’ll know what to look for. Remember, it’s all about mutual understanding and respect.

About the author

Sheryll holds an MA in Journalism and English from NYU. With over 7 years of experience in the cruise industry, she brings a blend of insightful reporting and firsthand cruising knowledge.

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