Upside Down Pineapple: The Secret Meaning

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click one, I may earn a commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

If you know, you know…

On a cruise (and sometimes also on land) ‘pineapple’ is code for swinging or wife-swapping. If you see pineapple on a cruise ship door it means the people are up for meeting other couples for ‘adult fun’.

pineapple on a cruise ship

But does the pineapple need to be upside down? Does it need to be on the door? And does wearing pineapple-print clothing mean that you’re a swinger?

To settle this hotly-debated topic once and for all, I trawled cruise forums, Facebook groups for swingers, websites like Reddit and spoke to a few people who are into the lifestyle to get the truth about the upside down pineapple meaning, once and for all.

What Does an Upside Down Pineapple Mean?

Pineapples are used as a secret way for swingers to identify each other. If you see someone wearing an upside-down pineapple badge or pin, it means that they’re actively looking for a partner swap. An upside-down pineapple on someone’s front porch can be seen as an invitation to join a swinger party.

But what about when you see a person wearing a pineapple shirt on a cruise? Does that mean that they’re a swinger? Or just that they like funky fashion?

Man in pineapple shirt
Does this man want to bang your wife?

Before we start on the ins and outs, for want of a better phrase, of cruise ship swinging and whether pineapples are a reliable sign, I’d just like to clarify that I’m not into that myself.

But, if that’s what floats your boat and you aren’t hurting anyone, then that’s your business. We’re all adults here, right?

couple with Pineapple on a Carnival cruise

Is Swinging on a Cruise Ship a Big Thing?

Some couples opt to go on special ‘swingers cruises‘ where everyone on board is all up for the same thing. Some of these are nude cruises where clothing is optional all day and night, and some are party cruises with couples-only ‘red rooms’ where all kinds of shenanigans happen after dark.

Swingers cruises are pretty popular and have been around since 2008 when the first cruise for swingers, YOLO Cruises, was launched.

Suggested read: 6 Best Cruises For Swingers

Aside from these ‘lifestyle cruises’, as they’re known, there are also plenty of swingers who go on regular cruises. These people are likely to keep open minds about who they might meet on board and what they might get up to.

On a normal cruise, you would never really notice swinging behaviour. Swingers don’t tend to introduce themselves by saying, “Hi, we’re Barry and Wendy, do you both want to come up to our cabin tonight?”

However, just as swingers on land might have secret signs like pampas grass in the front garden, wearing a black ring on one finger or a toe ring, on a cruise ship, the secret symbol of swingers is the pineapple.

upside down pineapple on a cruise ship door
Photo: Ashley Wheeler Mikel

How Do Cruise Ship Swingers Identify Themselves?

Decorating cruise cabin doors with pineapple magnets from Amazon is an obvious way for swinging couples to attract attention.

If you see an upside-down pineapple on a cruise cabin door, it means that the people inside are actively searching for a swinging party.

One obvious problem with this is that on a cruise, you only ever see the doors that are on the same corridor as your own. Meaning that swingers on different decks could never find each other.

Another problem is that you just don’t know who’s behind the door. How embarrassing would it be to knock and then change your mind after seeing who opens it?

Of course, these are just hypothetical problems. If you have actual experience of this and aren’t shy, there’s a comment section below!

With the popularity of social media to help with cruise planning, some swingers now plan to meet up with like-minded people on board before they cruise. If you ever see a message in a Facebook group asking who else is on a particular sailing and it uses the pineapple emoji, you can be pretty confident that the person is looking to meet others on board for sex.

The Upside-Down Pineapple Trick

Of course, just because you see an upside-down pineapple on a stateroom door, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person inside is into the pineapple lifestyle.

One cruiser named Christee played a little joke on her friend by placing this pineapple sticker on his door without telling him what it meant. She confessed on day three of the cruise! He was a great sport, though, and kept it up for the whole eight days!

upside down pineapple on cruise ship door as a joke
Photo: Christee Johnson

What About Wearing Pineapples on Clothing?

What if you have a shirt with pineapples on? Or pineapple earrings? Will people think you’re a swinger?

I have a pair of shorts with a pineapple on that which I wore on a recent cruise. I knew about the secret pineapple meaning, I just forgot until it was too late and I realised that I was wearing the pineapple shorts by the pool!

my pineapple shorts
My shorts

Luckily, nobody said a word to me. Although I did feel uncomfortable so I don’t think I’ll be packing them again.

One TikTok user called Linda Jean shared what happened when she and her husband wore matching pineapple swimwear on vacation…

@lindajeanw Oops no one told me 🍍🍍🍍#notswingers #oops #pineapple #ididntknow #fy ♬ original sound – Jazzy Fizzle

Wearing pineapples on a cruise is totally up to you. But as more and more people learn about the pineapple reference, you may find that you get some knowing looks from your fellow cruisers.

I think it depends on how pineapple-y you go with it. My single pineapple on my shorts didn’t raise any eyebrows (that I noticed), but if the two of you dress head to toe in pineapple, then you may expect a few sniggers behind your back, or worse.

There are lots of funny pineapple t-shirts on Amazon. Here are some of the best ones…


Retro Upside Down Pineapple T-Shirt

  • Suitable for men and women with a choice of seven colours

Will Swing If Pushed T-Shirt

  • This funny t-shirt comes in ten different colours

Orgy Referee T-Shirt

  • For men or women, up to 3XL

Upside Down Pineapple Tank Top

  • Lightweight classic fit unisex design

Not A Swinger, Just Like Pineapples T-Shirt

  • Available in countless colours and sizes

What About Pineapple Drinks?

On P&O Cruises’ new ship Iona, you can order a pineapple drink that comes in a cup that’s shaped like an upside-down pineapple!

I’m definitely not saying that these pineapple drinks are anything to do with swinging. I suspect that most people who order them will have absolutely no idea what pineapple means on a cruise.

However, they do look pretty cool!

P&O Cruises is pretty on-board with the whole pineapple thing. On my recent cruise on Azura, I saw pineapple handbags available for sale in the onboard ship. They know what they’re doing!

pineapple bag in cruise ship shop.

Then when I cruised on Iona this year, I noticed that one of the party nights in the main music venus was called ‘Guilty Pleasures’ and had a pineapple on the signage, as well as a giant cut-out of a pineapple on the stage!

P&O Cruises guilt pleasures

The History of Upside-Down Pineapples

The oldest mention of upside-down pineapples comes from the upside-down pineapple cake. This is a traditional dessert in Hawaii, where many pineapples are grown.

The cake has this name because to make it, you first place sliced pineapples in the bottom of a pan, then add the cake batter. Once it’s cooked, you flip the tin upside-down so that the pineapple slices show on the top.

pineapple upside-down cake

The pineapple upside-down cake is usually served when guests come to visit, so the upside-down pineapple became associated with Hawaiian hospitality.

As swingers must be friendly and accommodating to let people share their partner, they adopted the symbol of hospitality, the pineapple, as their own symbol.

Legend has it that when swingers first adopted the pineapple symbol, they would place an upside-down pineapple in their grocery cart in the supermarket to let other swingers know that they were into the lifestyle.

Woman with pineapple in supermarket

Remember, before the internet, people would have to go to some great and unusual lengths to find other people with the same interests. It certainly wasn’t as easy as popping an emoji into a Facebook group!

Final Thoughts

While the pineapple is often used as a secret code for swinging, wife-swapping and casual sex, this isn’t always the case. When you are trying to work out the meaning of a pineapple, you should carefully consider the context.

For example, if you see a pineapple in someone’s shopping basket, that’s probably just a healthy snack.

However, if you’re in a Facebook group for a particular cruise sailing and someone leaves a message with “Who wants to meet up on the ship? 🍍🍍🍍”, then you can be pretty sure that they’re not looking for someone to play cards with.

If you like the idea of a cruise where you can make friends with like-minded people who are as up for fun as you are, then you should certainly take a look at Desire Resorts & Cruises.

Desire Resorts & Cruises are only for couples. But if you prefer to travel solo, then Temptation Resorts & Cruises offers a one-of-a-kind’ playground for grown-ups’ both at sea and on land.

While we’re on the subject of swinger symbols, you may also be interested to find out what pink flamingoes mean at sea.

Pineapple FAQs

Are pineapples associated with swinging?

Pineapples represent ‘welcoming and hospitality’, but they are also associated with swinging. Swingers use the pineapple as a secret symbol to look out for each other in public. They may use real pineapples or wear clothing or accessories that feature a pineapple motif.

What do upside-down pineapples mean?

Pineapples are a secret sign used by swingers to identify each other in public. If you see an upside-down pineapple it means that someone is actively looking for a swinger party.

Should you turn a pineapple upside down?

Turning a pineapple upside down in the fridge for 30 minutes before cutting it will redistribute the sugars more evenly through it. But, having an upside-down pineapple in your shopping trolley or on your front porch is a symbol to others that you are looking for couples to join a swinging party.

What does a pineapple tattoo mean?

A pineapple tattoo could have many possible meanings. The pineapple is a symbol of warmth and hospitality. The wearer might just like the funky look of the pineapple fruit. Pineapples are also secret symbols for swingers, so the wearer could be a swinger, particularly if the pineapple is upside down.

What does wearing a pineapple shirt mean?

As pineapple is a tropical fruit, pineapple-print shirts are popular to wear on vacation. However, you should know that the pineapple is a secret code for swingers. By wearing pineapple clothing you may attract the attention of couples looking for a swinger party.

What does pineapple on a house mean?

Pineapples are a symbol of welcoming and hospitality, but they can also be a secret symbol for swingers. If your neighbours have a pineapple welcome mat or a pineapple mailbox, it could mean that they are interested in meeting other couples for swinging parties.

Are pineapples lucky?

Pineapples are considered to be lucky because the sounds of the Chinese word for ‘pineapple’ is almost identical to the sounds of ‘good luck’ in Chinese. For this reason, the pineapple has become a traditional feng shui symbol of good fortune and prosperity.

Does the pineapple emoji mean anything?

People may use the pineapple emoji in texting or on social media to discretely advertise that they are looking to meet up with swingers for adult fun. The pineapple can also be used to represent a ‘complicated’ relationship status or that someone is in an open relationship.

What does pineapple mean in slang?

Pineapple has a lot of different meanings, including describing an awkward moment between two people attracted to each other, or referring to a complicated relationship status. It generally is used as a random term when people don’t know the right thing to say.

What does pineapple mean for a girl?

In some parts of the world, pineapple is used for either gender to describe an attractive group of people – “a ripe pineapple”. A girl could also use a pineapple to describe her relationship as complicated, while it is also sometimes used as a subtle alternative to “that’s what she said”.

What does pineapple mean in a relationship?

When used to describe a relationship status, a pineapple means that things are complicated. Other fruits are used to denote other statuses – a cherry means that someone is in a relationship, while a blueberry means that you are single. These are commonly used on Snapchat and some other social media.

What does a pineapple door knocker mean?

Pineapple door knockers have some very different meanings – they can sometimes be a sign of swinging, while to others they are simply a sign of good will to anyone passing by. Some businesses display actual pineapples near the door to show their desire to serve customers.

What does a pineapple sticker on a car mean?

Pineapple car stickers can mean different things in different parts of the world. In Hawaii and other tropical locations, it is often a reflection of the tropical lifestyle. It can mean that the driver is into swinging. Some people use pineapple stickers to show that they are a helpful driver.

What does pineapple decor mean?

Pineapple decor is often used to denote a welcoming and friendly place. It isn’t common that decor would indicate swinging – you have to already be inside a home or business to see the decor, so it can’t really advertise a swinging lifestyle. Pineapple decor encourages a feeling of hospitality.

What does a pineapple hat mean?

While some people in the swinging community do wear clothing with pineapples, it’s not seen as a definitive sign, and swingers know that many people wear pineapple prints without knowing the meaning. A pineapple hat is likely just a tropical fun accessory.

What does a pineapple bracelet mean?

While many people wear pineapple print clothing without any meaning, a pineapple bracelet is more likely to indicate someone is interested in the swinging lifestyle. Swingers try to show subtle signs, and a bracelet is seen as one potential option. Forego the pineapple bracelet if you aren’t a swinger.

What does pineapple mean on Tinder?

Usually when it comes to relationships, a pineapple means that your current status is complicated. Someone using a pineapple on Tinder might not be completely single, or they might just be using a fun emoji to show their happy-go-lucky side.

If you found this interesting, please share!

Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

Read more about me

27 thoughts on “Upside Down Pineapple: The Secret Meaning”

  1. this just tickled me:

    “He was a great sport, though, and kept it up for the whole eight days!”

    I’ll need to eat what he’s eating

  2. People also ask

    What does Friends of Bill W mean on a cruise ship?

    Alcoholics Anonymous

    Bill W. refers to Bill Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Friends of Bill W.” is code for AA meetings, inviting recovering alcoholics to meet during their sailings, especially if they find it difficult to be around others who are imbibing

    People also ask

    What is friends of Dorothy on cruise ships?

    The term “Friends of Dorothy “ is still in use on some cruise ships, although modernization efforts have put what these meet-ups are more front and center. Friends of Dorothy is an old euphemism for people who identify as LGBTQ+: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all other members of the queer community.

    What does friend of Mara or Dorothy mean?

    Friends of Dorothy: Gay men.

    Friends of Mara: Gay women.

  3. Too funny, I read this and thought, wow, where have I been? I’m looking for anything pineapples 🍍 now! Lol Let the adventures begin!

  4. swing

  5. Why is the pineapple upside down? What mixture to make the pineapple ice?

  6. I work in a gift shop located one block away from a cruise ship port. We sell home decor which includes wooden pineapples. Everyday we find some of those pineapples turned upside down. Is this just a “calling card” of sorts to say “a swinger was here”? Or is there an app for swingers to locate each other and this is one way of doing it? Like how are you gonna attract anyone in a store that you’ve already left once you turned the pineapple upside down? So confused by this random behavior.

    • Hahaha this made me chuckle. Jenni

    • Likely it is just lifestyle people having a giggle. Some members are very passionate about their pineapples and they like to mess with people a bit by doing stuff like this. I have a friend who has an upside down pineapple tattooed on her shoulder. When vanillas point out it is upside down she looks down (and sees it the right way up of course!) and then says “It looks the right way up to me.” She thinks it is hilarious.

  7. My wife and I saw a house for sale that had 2 pineapple-shaped stones on each side of the front gate posts. She liked the house and wanted to put an offer on it. But when she shared some photos with a friend of hers, she mentioned the swinging thing to her. It was the first time we heard about the pineapple and its swinging symbol. As we both disagree with and do not condone swinging, we still love our pineapples. The lives of others are none of our concern and we are not entitled to judge the desires of others.

    • I think the friend was reading into it a bit much.

      Pineapples also used to be a symbol of status and weath back when they were a rarity. A couple hundred years ago people in Europe would rent pineapples as a centerpiece for thier dinner parties. That status symbol started to be displayed in a more perminent way as it started to be incorporated into the deco/motif or moldings on houses or statues. If you pay attention, you’ll see a lot of pineapples incorprated into buildings, especially ones built in the mid to late 20th century. I’m sure the homeowner was just using them as a nice decoration or a sign of hospitality. Just my outside opinion

      • There is a pineapple on the trophy given to the winner of Wimbledon every year for this exact reason!

  8. What next? Dogging?

    • How do you find out who is into Dogging

      • I’m pretty sure if you tried dogging on a cruise boat you would get yourself into a LOT of trouble!!

    • What’s dogging?

  9. Cultural appropriation if you ask me.

    • Sooooo you *only* eat food from your country and decorate with things solely related to your background then, right? 😆

  10. Sorry I like pineapples because they are a symbol of warmth & hospitality. That was & is the original meaning. Not a swinger & never will be
    Find a new sign.

  11. Thanks for the warning. I had noo idea. I guess I’ll hav3ev to pass up that cute pineapple sundress I’ve been eyeing online.

  12. I’ve got my black silicone ring because I’m extremely allergic to metals and my favorite pineapple shirt. But I’m not a swinger! I’ll change my wedding ring color but not my shirt. If anyone approaches me about this I’ll let them know that not all pineapples are signs of debauchery and to get a new sing for their weirdo club!

    • Being into an alternative lifestyle doesn’t make you a “wierdo”. To make a well known quote “judge not lest ye be judged”

      • Nope. Weirdo.

      • Yes -we’ll said

  13. don’t knock it till you try it!

  14. Absolutely mortified. My husband and I renewed our vows in 2019 – took a cruise to get there and celebrate afterward. I bought the cutest PINEAPPLE door hanger on Etsy with *our names* painted on it. Of course I ever so proudly hung it on our door. Thanks Etsy! Appreciate that! We are untight not swingers. LMAOOOOO

    • Hahahaha! I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but laugh at this one. Thank goodness you didn’t get any knocks on the door! And I was worried about my pineapple shorts – you win! Jenni

      • Lol. Funny. This article made me laugh hard. In an Era of gloom and doom news good to see something lighthearted and harmless like this.

        Originally read this article because on a discussion board i was surprised to hear pineapples and flamingos are swinger symbols. Lol. I just always thought that they were things old people liked. Now ill never view my grandparents the same way again j/k.

Leave a comment