Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the highest-rated and longest continually sailing luxury cruise ship in the South Pacific, the Paul Gauguin, has announces its 2012 sailing schedule, including three new itineraries, as well as a number of special guest speakers and events. Additionally, guests will enjoy extraordinary savings -- receiving 50 percent off standard cruise fares plus free airfare from Los Angeles.

2012 Sailing Schedule Highlights include:

 South Pacific Discovery: Introducing a new 20-night hotel-and-cruise journey to Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands. Departing January 23, 2012, guests enjoying this package are invited to explore the shores of nine distinctive islands in five archipelagos on a single voyage. 

Island of Whales: Departing September 1, 2012, the ship’s new Australs & Society Islands cruise sails to Rurutu, the “Island of Whales,” at the height of whale-watching season.

Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands: Departing October 27, 2012, and November 20, 2012, the Paul Gauguin sets sail on a new journey taking guests not only to the Cook and Society Islands, with their unique cultures and striking views, but also to the remote isles of legendary Fiji and intriguing Tonga.

Culinary Sailings: Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Pierre Vigato will join the June 23, 2012, sailing to Tahiti & the Society Islands. As the ship’s special guest, the Parisian chef will prepare gourmet dishes and offer demonstrations of his culinary techniques.

Cousteau Sailings: Jean-Michel Cousteau will join the Paul Gauguin on the July 11, 2012, sailing to the Society Islands & Tuamotus; the November 20, 2012, sailing to Fiji, Tonga, Cook & Society Islands; and the December 1, 2012, sailing to the Marquesas, Tuamotus & Society Islands. Mr. Cousteau will offer a series of lectures with videos of his work in the world’s oceans, as well as accompany several dives from the ship.