What do the Upside Down Pineapples on Cruises Mean?

So you’re wandering down the halls of your fantastic cruise – and you see all the wonderful cabin door decorations, and the oddly placed pineapple catches your eye. It makes you curious about what an upside-down pineapple means when you see it on a cruise ship, doesn’t it?

The upside-down pineapple is not just another tropical fruit, it is a secret symbol that originated as a code for swingers or “partner-swapping”. In this article, we will explain the upside-down pineapple meaning and how the symbol originated. We will also discuss whether it is a common sight on a cruise ship, and what you should do if you want to avoid any awkward interactions.

Understanding the Upside-Down Pineapple Symbol

The secret symbol of an upside-down pineapple is used on cruise ships to indicate someone’s openness to swinging or partner swapping. Typically, guests interested in swinging will attach an illustrated and upside-down pineapple to their cabin door, but some use the symbol more subtly by wearing an upside-down pineapple pin or simply wearing clothing with a pineapple print.

It is important to note that not everyone who wears clothing with a pineapple print is involved in swinging. Because sometimes a pineapple is just a pineapple! 🙂

However, an intentional upside-down pineapple print on clothing is usually a strong sign that someone is part of the swinging community.

The Origin of the Upside-Down Pineapple Symbol

While the exact origin of the upside-down pineapple symbol is unclear, it has been used for many decades across a wide range of vacation destinations, not just on cruise ships. Pineapple decor is common on cruise ships, as they are associated with the tropics and a fun lifestyle. Additionally, pineapples in many cultures represent hospitality, so don’t confuse the simple presence of a pineapple with someone looking for “extra hospitality” 🙂

Given that like-minded swingers needed a way to secretly identify themselves to other swingers while in public and on vacation, it only makes sense that they chose a pineapple as the unofficial symbol. An upside-down pineapple motif is subtle enough that it would not offend anyone who did not know what it meant, but to those in the know, it is an announcement of one’s intentions and sexual preferences.

Is the Upside-Down Pineapple Symbol a Common Sight on a Cruise Ship?

While the upside-down pineapple can be seen on any cruise ship, there are now cruises tailored towards swinging and other types of “adult fun”. With the rising popularity of these cruise vacations, the need for placing an upside-down pineapple on one’s door has become less important. Simply put, adults can now choose cruise vacations where they do not need to be so subtle.

With that said, do not be surprised if you see the odd reference to an upside-down pineapple, such as a pin, badge, or tattoo, as it still has its place in cruise culture. If this is something you want to avoid, you should not have to worry if you book a family-friendly cruise rather than one that is adults only. The swinging community prefers adults-only cruises.

Should You Avoid Wearing Clothes That Have Pineapples Printed on Them?

Wear what you want! Don’t avoid your favorite pineapple print swim suite because you’re worried about being labeled (or mislabeled). But if those swim trunks are adorned with the upside-down variety, you want to play it safe, and leave your favorite upside-down pineapple swim suit or t-shirt at home the next time you pack for a cruise vacation. However, if you feel you cannot go without your trusty pineapple shirt, you should not have to worry about any overly awkward encounters.

The truth is, anyone in the swinger community knows that not everyone wearing pineapple clothing is involved in swinging, and they will not approach someone unless they are sure that they are interested. Additionally, if someone is wearing pineapple clothing without realizing its association with the swinging community, it is unlikely that anyone will approach them. Easy enough, right?

But if you do want to participate with subtle pineapple apparel, check these out:

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The meaning of pineapples on cruise cabin doors?

So this is a great question, sort of like above when it comes to clothing. It’s hard to know if someone that just has a pineapple decoration on the door is inviting others to the party, or if they just like pineapples. This one always confuses me. I think it’s obvious if there are upside-down door decorations, but what about the seemingly normal pineapples on a cruise cabin door? Here’s a real head-scratcher on a recent cruise:

pineapples on cruise doors

Either these folks just like pineapples, or they couldn’t find a way to hang this bad boy upside down 🙂

Final thought

The upside-down pineapple is a symbol that has been used for many decades by the swinging community to identify themselves to other swingers while in public and on vacation. But this fabulous fruit is also a sign of hospitality, with no hidden meanings. So remember, sometimes a pineapple is just a pineapple, and some people just like pineapples…. but when they’re turned on their head, now you know what that means!

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