Destination specialist Voyages of Discovery has been accepted as a member of the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators, the line announced today.

“We’re very pleased and honored to join,” said Mark Flager, vice president, sales, marketing and passenger services.  “IAATO is dedicated to safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic, and we fully support its aims and goals.”

Voyages of Discovery joins as an Associate Member.  Under IAATO bylaws, full membership requires a year as an Associate member.

Voyages of Discovery operates the mv Discovery and will begin its fifth Antarctic season in November. The vessel will carry a maximum of 500 passengers on its cruises to Antarctica, the Chilean Fjords, Patagonia, Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

The mv Discovery’s expedition team is headed by Dr. Peter Carey, a zoologist and founder of the Sub Antarctic Foundation for Ecosystems Research.  Six additional research scientists and lecturers, from the fields of biology, ornithology, glaciology and environmental physiology, escort landings ashore and brief passengers on their areas of expertise.

The expedition team also includes an Ice Master and six Zodiac drivers.

Voyages of Discovery’s 2008-09 Antarctica programs include air transportation, pre- and post-cruise hotel packages and optional land tours to Iguaçu Falls, the Glaciers of Patagonia and Cape Town, South Africa.  Cruise programs include:

Nov. 13, 2008:  Voyage to Antarctica, 38 nights, Lisbon to Buenos Aires

Dec. 3, 2008:  Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, 18 nights, roundtrip Buenos Aires

Dec. 16, 2008:  Antarctica, Chile and Patagonia, 17 nights, Buenos Aires-Santiago

Dec. 26, 2008:  Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica, 21 nights, Santiago-BuenosAires

Jan. 10, 2009:  Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords, 20 nights, Buenos Aires-Santiago

Jan. 24, 2009:  Antarctica and the Chilean Fjords, 20 nights, Santiago-Buenos Aires

Feb. 7, 2009:  Cape to Cape, 22 nights; Buenos Aires-Cape Town

Passenger photos and journals from previous cruises to Antarctica are showcased on the line’s website.