Travel Leisure

Here’s What ‘Pineapples’ Mean to Some People on Cruises

Cruising, like many forms of travel, has its own subculture, lingo, and symbolism. From well-known concepts like the rubber ducks people scatter around the ship for cruise enthusiasts to find to formal terms like “OFE,” an alert onboard that signals an “only for exercise” training or drill is happening, cruises are their own world.

However, there are also other quietly-known parts of the culture, like one fascinating concept, the pineapple, and its symbolism. While pineapples are not inherently meaningful for the average traveler, some frequent cruisers hold the pineapple as a dear symbol for this adult-only activity: swinging.

Adults Aboard

Swinging, a term used to describe engaging in the swapping or sharing of sexual partners, is not uncommon on cruises. Because of the all-inclusive setting and general party vibe, cruises can be popular travel choices for people who swing.

Some cruise lines have even somewhat catered to this kind of traveler. Bliss Cruise is a well-known cruise line that centers on adult couples only. According to its website, at least one cruise, Mariner of the Seas, has several themed nights that encourage “sexy fun.” Part of the onboard itinerary includes a “fetish” and “leather and lace” night where the dress code includes latex, bondage, and body harnesses. The description of the event says guests can expect to “escape into the provocative world of kink, fetishes, and fantasy.”

Another cruise line, Desires Cruises, describes itself as “the sensual way to sail,” according to its website. It also mentions having “discreet private playrooms” onboard amid a “passion-filled journey.” The clothing-optional experience highlights intimacy, fantasy, and luxury for its adult-couples-only audience.

Not all cruises have this kind of environment. Bliss Cruise and Desires Cruises are both specifically for partnered adults. Other popular cruise lines are not and are typically strictly family-friendly cruises. Because of this, adult travelers looking for specific experiences, such as swinging, have to be more discreet. 

Discreet, but Visible

Enter, the pineapple. Not every instance of a pineapple onboard means a person or group is interested or willing to participate in swinging, or other adult recreation. On vacation, particularly tropical destinations, it’s not uncommon for people to wear pineapples as part of their typical vacation attire. It’s also not uncommon for certain regions to incorporate pineapples in their decor. However, there are ways to subtly signify the difference, especially through an upside-down pineapple.

According to the cruise blog Cruise Mummy, upside-down pineapples are often a subtle sign that a person, or a couple, is interested in swinging, swapping, or bringing in a third. It’s a popular insider way of identifying other people interested in the same adult activities.

The symbols can be found just about everywhere, from a simple sticker or magnet on a cabin door to earrings or other jewelry to a shirt with an upside-down pineapple on it. Those who believe in the symbol tend to value discretion but do get creative. Some people even have small tattoos or incorporate them into all of their attire during vacation.

All in all, a visible pineapple is not a complete way of determining who might be swinging onboard, even if it’s upside down, but it can be an indicator. When you’re headed on your next cruise, whether you’re interested in participating or not, it might be wise to be selective of your attire so that the correct signal is sent.

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