Cruise veterans know a major faux pas in cruising etiquette is trying to reserve sunbeds on the pool deck.

The cruise lines make it a point to put up ample signage telling passengers that reserving is just a no no.

But still it goes on.  Sometimes with a towel or an open magazine. Sometimes with bags and items of clothing.

Violence has broken out over the issue. And now, an altercation between German cruise ship passengers over whether a sunbed had been reserved is due to be decided by a court.

The dispute happened on a cruise ship while it was sailing through the Indian Ocean towards Mauritius last year. The captain had invited guests to join him at a special party around the ship’s pool.

The party must have been good, because a big crowd turned up and sunbeds were hot property.

An elderly woman claimed she wanted to reserve two sunbeds for herself as well as her 70-year-old husband.  But another female passenger put her handbag onto one of the ‘reserved’ loungers.

Enter the husbands. In the words of as preliminary court report, they “engaged in an argument” during which the 70-year-old man alleged he suffered injuries to his lower arm.

The younger couple, in their account, claim they had already saved the sun lounger with a handbag when the older couple asked if it was free. The older man told them it had been reserved, causing a heated argument to break out.

The 70-year-old is now seeking €4,200 for “loss of holiday pleasure” and his injuries.

A district court in the eastern town of Auerbach, Saxony has summoned the wives of the two men, the mother-in-law of a defendant and a security officer with the cruise line for a hearing, scheduled to take place next month.

Careful how you reserve your seats for this court spectacular.

Here are some ways you can avoid getting in any heated discussions with your fellow cruisers.