EXPEDITION | 10 YEARS OF STARLING
Antarctica. For naturalists and nature photographers, this area is the number one dream destination. The pristine and breathtaking landscapes are among the most beautiful on our planet. Is Antarctica also featured on your bucket list? In that case, this is the perfect opportunity to check off that box. And how!
The unearthly, savage landscape of the sixth continent is one of the most pristine places on Earth. During this unique expedition cruise you get the chance to experience this chunk of high quality nature in a special, serene and above all exclusive way. A once-in-a-lifetime!
The Antarctica expertise among the STARLING team is top notch. Many have experienced this place as travelers before, others are a fixed value in the crew on international expeditions.
Based on their shared experiences and their knowledge of unmissable places and hidden gems, we put together the unique and unseen itinerary.
We plan numerous landings from our ship (that is, landing with zodiac boats) on the best locations. Our photography guides also ensure many top moments in the most beautiful light of the day: sunrise and sunset.
As a traveler, you fill in your trip as you wish: rather focused on nature, on photography or just enjoying and experiencing.
During this expedition, the focus is on untouched nature and breathtaking landscapes. Together we will search for seabirds, stop at the largest penguin colonies and gaze at whales, dolphins and other marine mammals.
10 years of STARLING. We celebrate this realizing the wildest dream of many STARLING travelers: a one-off expedition cruise to Antarctica, as well as the Falklands and South Georgia.
On a boat with like-minded, mainly Dutch-speaking travelers. That alone is very special.
You will be in the company of nature lovers, birders, wildlife photographers, landscape photographers as well as their partners and together you will enjoy incredible landscapes, beautiful nature and tantalizing animals that give us goosebumps again and again.
All that? Unseen in the Benelux. An adventure not to be missed.
If we set course for Antarctica, South Georgia becomes a must, according to our guides with expertise in the region.
This is home to the largest colonies of king penguins in the world. We observe these unique animals in a breathtaking setting of sharp mountain peaks, glaciers and clouds. Seabirds fly around us while we are the only people walking on the beaches.
Even before we reach South Georgia, we stop at the most beautiful of the Falklands: Steeple Jason, Saunders and Carcass Island. Among other things, the largest colony of black-browed albatross in the world welcomes us with open arms.
Our ship – the m/v Plancius – is fantastic and is one of the best ships for these kind of expedition cruises.
The ship is silent and ice-strengthened. There is a lot of space on board and on the deck. You can easily switch from port to starboard in case a pod of orcas shows up.
The beds are wonderful and the cabins vary from fine standard cabins to very comfortable double cabins.
There is room for 108 participants on board. But we consciously choose only 100 travelers. This way there is even more space and comfort available. As a result of this, everyone can go on a land excursion at the same time.
Without a doubt, this is where the real difference is made! Our travel program includes all absolute nature highlights. The largest colonies, the most diversity and the most beautiful locations.
With this trip you are set for long and smooth landings to the mainland, where we make the most of our time. Everyone can enjoy all that beauty at their own pace.
The quality of your nature experience is paramount. Where possible, we show you this spectacle in the most beautiful light: during sunrise or sunset, with pink and orange skies as a backdrop.
The nature photographers on board will already let out a small hurray for this. We already know that.
It is the first time in Belgian history that a ship has been chartered with this program and goal in mind: an expedition cruise via the Falklands and South Georgia to Antarctica, with expedition guides on board for both nature experience and nature photography.
We determine the program and content of the trip on our own terms, without having to compromise with international tour organizations.
This means that we go ashore at the best times of the day in places where we find the most beautiful landscapes and the greatest (bio)diversity.
Nature, nature and more nature. We avoid human settlements, unless there is no other logistical option.
For this trip we are recruiting a world-class expedition staff. For the team of zodiac drivers we chose the most experienced and best profiles.
Your journey is in the safe hands of big names from the world of professional expedition leaders and zodiac drivers. This way we leave nothing to chance.
We will of course deploy a fantastic STARLING team for the content of this trip. Our best photographers and top naturalist guides travel with you.
During the entire trip you can count on personal guidance and a series of experienced eagle eyes that continuously scan the horizon together with you.
In December 2019, our photography guide Yves Adams discovered a striking yellow king penguin in South Georgia. A year later, his photos traveled the world. Millions of people enjoyed these unique images.
When Yves Adams returned from his prospecting trip with photos of the yellow penguin, we knew for sure. This would be a very special and unique expedition. Just as special and unique as the yellow penguin itself.
The yellow penguin was launched on VRTNWS, got the attention of National Geographic and went viral for weeks. The chance that we will see this unique individual during our stop on South Georgia is extremely small. But secretly, we’re hoping for a miracle.
Turning back time. It is January 7, 2014. The STARLING website has just been launched. The tension is ripping through our bodies. Would this idea even catch on? Are people waiting for high quality trips around nature and wildlife photography?
When the first registration came in, the release was enormous. A few hours after launch, two individuals signed up… for Antarctica! A trip with Oceanwide Expeditions that we had included in our offer. A few weeks later, our first STARLING travelers set off on an unforgettable trip.
The bar was set, what a dream start.
Five years later, in 2019, we looked back on a grand success that exceeded our wildest expectations. With more than 250 group tours to all corners of the world. More than 1000 travelers exceeded their expectations. Both in terms of observations and in terms of photo results. But the best of all? These are undoubtedly the many dozens of friendships that have been formed during the countless fantastic moments during our travels. On the meeting day in 2019, we solemnly promised: we will add another five years!
Fastforward to 2024: 10 years of STARLING, we don’t want to let that pass unnoticed. We want to celebrate in style.
What we achieve is a dream. A dream that we would like to share with you. A passion, perhaps a lifestyle. The possibilities for nature experience and photography are endless. There is still so much we want to do, so much to discover and so much to share with you.
In the hundreds of travel reviews we’ve collected since the start of STARLING, we asked everyone about the ultimate dream trip… And there is one dream destination that we see coming back all the time. You, STARLING’ers, want to go to Antarctica someday! But then for real – not with an international travel organization, but an expedition in STARLING hands. A real once-in-a-lifetime that you can experience with like-minded people; your partner, friends and new friends, perhaps for life.
The time is now ripe for this dream. More than ever we realize that it is now or never. We have worked hard over the past few months and can now proudly present this voyage: 10 years of STARLING, 100 travelers, 1 ship: Expedition Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica!
This expedition is not your average expedition cruise to Antarctica. It will be a trip tailored to STARLING travelers: with a sophisticated travel itinerary full of nature’s highlights. As a participant you choose from our ‘menu’ how you want to fill in your Antarctica trip.
Our travelers are naturalists, birders, nature photographers and landscape photographers. They are bon vivants who love unique journeys in the best conditions, alone or with their partner. We all share a great admiration, amazement and love for nature.
Do you recognize yourself in this description? Then you will love this expedition.
Antarctica, the white continent. A magical no man’s land. Here, in the most extreme environments on earth, nature reigns. Untamed and uninhibited. You can find some of the most unique biodiversity in the world here. A feast for the eyes … and the camera.
During winter, Antarctica is a desolate and dark destination. The sun doesn’t appear anywhere in the sky and the continent is almost deserted. In stark contrast, summer in Antarctica doesn’t leave room for darkness at all.
Spring is the middle ground, with beautiful hues and the awakening of all nature. Of course – you guessed it – we travel to the sixth continent in this most beautiful season.
Mark this on your calendar: in November 2024 we are going to Antarctica. No longer a dream, but the fantastic reality!
“The snow white snow petrel appeals to the imagination. Especially while skimming past a towering ice cliff. Or the leopard seal, sunbathing on an ice sheet next to our zodiac. Known for showing an eternal but false smile. It’s a formidable hunter with mainly penguins on the menu. A pod of orcas swims majestically along the edge of the sea ice in search of prey. The sharp breeze of a passing blizzard doesn’t bother us, we are in the middle of an immense colony of Adélie penguins. There’s at least a few 10,000 of them. Night falls. The sky is on fire across the Antarctic ice sheets. Ice caps that have rested between the mountain peaks since long times. Dressed in veils of soft clouds. We feel like royalty.”
This paragraph could easily become a selection from our travel log. That’s our main goal: experiencing the purest of nature, emotion and goosebumps.
While visiting Antarctica, South Georgia is a must on your itinerary. Our experts agree on that, as South Georgia is one of the best kept secrets in this world. It’s a forgotten, desolate island in the far south of the Atlantic Ocean. Sharp ridges are dotted with glaciers. Erratic, weathered rocky coasts and deserted gravel beaches alternate. This is home to the largest colonies of king penguins in the world. Hundreds of thousands of these colorful large penguins are crammed together on plains nearly inaccessible to humans.
Add to that hundreds of elephant seals and many other spectacular species, in a phenomenal primeval landscape, and you have all the ingredients combined for an unbeatable natural experience.
On our way to South Georgia we pass the infamous Falkland Islands. This will be our first stop, because here too the natural beauty cannot be measured. We selected the two absolute highlights: Steeple Jason is an island with the largest colony of black-browed albatrosses in the world. And on Carcass Island and Saunders Island we enjoy beautiful landscapes with a colorful biodiversity.
We do everything we can to show you this gorgeous wilderness in the most beautiful light where possible: at sunrise and sunset.
This memorable tour will likely be one to cherish for the rest of your life. Promise!
We advise you to travel to Ushuaia with a few days of margin. This way, any problems along the way can still be solved. You wouldn’t want to miss this expedition for the world.
Arriving in Ushuaia, a shuttle to the hotel will be waiting for you. Just like the evening meal and the overnight stay with breakfast on November 6, the transfer is also included in the price.
Before the trip, anyone who wishes can still join the various optional excursions and extensions that we will be organizing in Tierra del Fuego.
© Billy Herman
This expedition cruise kicks off in Ushuaia. From here we sail through the famous and special Beagle Channel and set course for the Falkland Islands. If you are fascinated by birds and marine mammals, you’ll find them off the deck from the very beginning. The first species unique for this tour are around right of the bat.
We deliberately choose to make a stop in the Falklands. For two full days we focus on the highlights of this archipelago. The Falklands are known for their beautiful landscapes and special nature. The islands have an enormous natural beauty and colorful biodiversity with some unique or endemic bird species such as the striated caracara and the cobb’s wren. But also marine mammals such as the Peale’s dolphin and the short-beaked dolphin are often observed here.
Depending on accessibility and weather conditions, we are happy to set foot on the following islands:
On our way to South Georgia, we cross the Antarctic Convergence, the natural boundary of the Antarctic. Here the water temperature drops in just a few hours. Cold, nutrient-rich water rises to the surface due to the clashing ocean currents and attracts many seabirds such as albatrosses, shearwaters, prions and skuas.
Are you a naturalist, birder, wildlife photographer, landscape photographer or partner of one of these? During our expedition we will not disappoint you and we are guaranteed to bring each of these profiles into contact with the purest nature experience in the world. You’ll return home with impressions and memories for life. The only requirements you have to meet? A normal basic condition and admiration for the beauty of nature!
You call yourself a nature lover? Then don’t hesitate! If Antarctica was still on your bucket list, this trip is made for you. You don’t have to be a great naturalist to travel with us. Being amazed by the beauty of nature is a must!
Your travel highlights: landing in the Falklands, South Georgia as well as Antarctica will be highlights one by one. You will enjoy both the walking and the zodiac cruises we take along the coast. You’ll find yourself among 10,000 penguins and whales diving into the deep sea near your zodiac. You will enjoy the most special sunrises and sunsets.
Je noemt jezelf een vogelkijker, ornitholoog of zoogdieren fanaat en wilt graag de soorten van Antarctica en omliggende eilanden zien? Eerder gezapig of toch maar fanatiek? Op deze expeditiecruise kun jij zeker je hart ophalen. We plannen landingen op de meest biodiverse locaties onder begeleiding van de beste vogel- en zoogdierengidsen voor dit soort expedities. Samen met onze topgidsen speur je de oceaan af op zoek naar zoveel mogelijk soorten.
You call yourself a birder, ornithologist or mammal fanatic and would like to see the species of Antarctica and surrounding islands? At a slower pace or super intense? You can certainly indulge yourself with both on this expedition cruise. We plan landings in the most biodiverse locations accompanied by the best bird and mammal guides for this kind of expedition. Together with our top guides you scan the ocean in search of as many species as possible.
Your best moments of the trip: you will enjoy the landings immensely but also continuously have the chance to cruise in our zodiacs along the coast, looking for very special species. By going on an excursion, you come into contact with spectacular wildlife. You’re the one spending a lot of time on the deck while sailing!
Dat je in Antarctica, South Georgia en de Falklands, de mooiste natuurfoto’s kan maken, dat hoeven we niet te vertellen. Maar wij willen een stapje verder gaan. We streven naar de langste landingen op de beste plaatsen bij het mooiste licht. Want waar mogelijk plannen we landingen zo dicht mogelijk bij zonsopkomst en zonsondergang. Uniek!
Op alle locaties die we bereizen komt ook de landschapsfotograaf aan zijn trekken. Woeste kusten, gigantische ijsschotsen, besneeuwde vlaktes, het kan niet op. Aan boord zijn verschillende gespecialiseerde professionele wildlife- en landschapsfotografen, die je mee helpen begeleiden.
We don’t need to tell you that you can take the most beautiful photos in Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands. But we want to go just a little step further. We aim for the longest landings in the best places with the best light. Because where possible, we plan landings as close to sunrise and sunset as possible. Unique!
At all locations we travel, the landscape photographer also gets his money’s worth of options. Wild coasts, gigantic ice floes, snowy plains, there’s no end to it. There are several specialized professional wildlife and landscape photographers on board, who will help guiding you.
Your best moments of the trip: we try to make as many landings at sunrise or sunset as possible. Pink and orange tones are our goal. The subjects and locations speak for themselves! Penguins, seabirds, snow, ice, elephant seals, marine mammals and sublime landscapes. The sea days are ideal to rest before the next chapter.
There are tours in our offer which ‘partners of‘ won’t find very appealing. We try to make that clear through the description of the trip on our website. But we also offer tours on which partners are more than welcome, and are guaranteed not to get bored for a single moment. This expedition cruise will be just such a journey! Even if your other half is an avid photographer or avid birder, you can still join this expedition cruise. Provided that you meet our general ‘requirement’: you are interested in nature.
On board we find a nice group of general naturalists who will each make customized excursions. This group may be doing a little more walking or zodiac excursions on the water. Looking for some more variety and diversity. This will be a trip where we can perfectly match different profiles. Yours too, as long as you love nature!
Your best moments of the tour: you will experience an incredible adventure alongside your partner. Just sharing it together is fantastic. You sail to the most remote areas and most beautiful places on earth, to admire the natural beauty. You enjoy the necessary comfort on board and like to be looked after at the table.
You can experience the ultimate feeling of nature in Antarctica. Are you someone who takes in nature in all its splendor with your senses? Perfect! We provide a rich tour itinerary from which you can put together your ultimate trip. Get up early or sleep longer? Everything is possible. A dozen zodiacs on board ensure that we can organize something for everyone.
Do you like to take a quiet walk in nature? Or do you just want to move on and enjoy everything around you? Each landing on the mainland gives you several choices to fill your time at your own pace.
Those who love birding or seeing mammals will be spoiled for choice on this trip. You can count on someone to be on the lookout any time, from the crack of dawn, to spot birds and mammals.
We pass on observations to each other in the blink of an eye via walkie-talkies, so you don’t have to miss anything. Thanks to the spacious deck you can move very quickly from starboard to port and you will be at the scene of the spectacle in no time.
This trip contains all the variety (about 120 species of birds) that can be found in this part of the world. Even an encounter with the emperor penguin is not inconceivable! During the landings on the mainland we track down all endemic birds, and at our departure point of Ushuaia we organize extra excursions to the specialties of Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia.
Do you like to photograph wildlife? On this expedition we offer you fantastic opportunities for nature photography.
We take you to magical locations with great diversity and huge numbers of animals in the best possible conditions. Under the guidance of professional photography guides, of course.
Photograph penguins, seabirds, elephant seals, leopard seal and hopefully whales and dolphins in a breathtaking setting!
Landscape photographers are often left waiting on these kinds of expedition trips. Not with us!
We try to go ashore several times in soft and beautiful light, in beautiful locations. We chose the most primeval locations and took into account the orientation and times of the planned landings. And of course you get the guidance of the very best professional photography guides.
10 years of STARLING ahead, that shouldn’t just pass unnoticed! We want to realize what we dream of. Together with you, with the guidance of our best of leaders. This trip is led in the right direction by an entire STARLING team. Both our photographers and nature guides are ready to make this trip the most unforgettable ever. Thanks to our team, personal guidance is guaranteed.
We make this expedition cruise aboard the m/v Plancius. This is an ice-strengthened vessel that has served as an expedition vessel in the Arctic and Antarctica for years. The ship was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Dutch Royal Navy until 2004 – when it was bought by the Dutch tour company and shipping company Oceanwide Expeditions.
The vessel was completely rebuilt and renewed in 2009 according to SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) regulations, and is equipped to accommodate 108 participants – we deliberately choose to travel with 100. We sail under the Dutch flag. And of course the STARLING flag flies in the mast, because we charter the integral ship and put together the professional expedition crew ourselves.
We make full use of the zodiacs on board to go ashore as much and as long as possible in each beautiful place, with maximum safety and comfort. The landings are easy to moderately challenging, but certainly accessible to anyone with a normal body shape.
We usually enjoy meals on board. They are provided by a select top team of chefs. Between all those beautiful observations, we also enjoy a delicious piece of gastronomy. Having a nice chat with dinner, giving your body a boost with breakfast or recovering from those albatrosses during the lunch break, we are already looking forward to it!
This cabin is suitable for families with children, or passengers who want to share a cabin with other travelers.
This cabin is suitable for families with children, or passengers who want to share a cabin with other travelers.
These cabins are corner cabins and slightly more spacious than the double cabins with windows.
Attention! This cabin can only be booked as a couple or as a single option
For this expedition cruise we work with a payment plan. This way you spread the payment over the next three years. If you register before November 7, 2021, you will receive a nice early bird discount of €1000 per participant.
Because 2024 is still a long way off, we have made the cancellation conditions for this trip very favorable. After all, you never know that you may have to cancel your trip unexpectedly. You can take out a cheap cancellation insurance through our insurance partner.
|reservation prior to 07/11/2021||2000 euro||
|reservation after 07/11/2021||3000 euro||
|second deposit prior to 07/11/2022||4000 euro||
|third deposit prior to 07/11/2023||4000 euro||
|balance prior to 07/07/2024||outstanding balance||
|cancellation prior to 07/05/2023||750 euro||
|cancellation between 07/05/2023 and 06/11/2023||20% of the total travel sum||
|cancellation between 07/11/2023 and 06/05/2024||30% of the total travel sum||
|cancellation between 07/05/2024 and 06/07/2024||50% of the total travel sum||
|cancellation after 07/07/2024||100% of the total travel sum||
STARLING arranges everything for you down to the last detail: the complete registration procedure, follow-up of necessary documents, help with additional questions and helps you book flights, extra overnight stays and extra excursions.
Included in the price is the extra night on 6/11/2024 in Ushuaia. In the evening a dinner is provided for the whole group, this is included. The meals on 7/11/2024, the day of departure with the ship, are also included.
If you wish, you can book additional nights. Closer to departure, we offer various day excursions and extensions. Of course we can help you organize and book extra services.
Transport from the airport in Ushuaia to the hotel and transport from the hotel to the ship is included. Upon arrival after the boat trip in Ushuaia, transportation from the ship to the hotel or airport is included.
The flights are not included in the price. They can be booked through us at a later date. You can and may also book your flights yourself.
For this itinerary, we recommend foreseeing departure flights on 6/11 (with arrival 6/11).
If you wish, you can build in more margin. The return flight can be scheduled from 26/11 (arriving on 27/11). The cost of the flights currently varies from 1000 to 1500 euros per person.
The weather conditions are impossible to predict, but it is best to prepare for cold and windy situations. Temperatures are often around freezing, especially as we approach Antarctica. Precipitation is not common, but a forewarned expedition member is worth two.
Warm, waterproof clothing is necessary for the comfort of this trip. It can be chilly especially during the journeys with the zodiac and you can get wet from the spray. Sturdy, high, waterproof bottines or boots, sunglasses and sun screen are also recommended. Boots can be provided for you on board (included in the price!).
Although it is cold, the sun can still hit you. Sun screen is recommended and polarized sunglasses work wonders. During the excursions you warm up quickly during which it is useful to be able to take off layers of clothing against perspiration.
Before the start of the trip you will receive a very extensive information package with all information about material, clothing, etc.!
During this voyage, there are several sea days during the crossing from the Falklands to South Georgia and Antarctica. Fantastic moments where you sail desolately in the middle of the ocean like a true adventurer.
Don’t let your fear of seasickness put you off! Many who have dreamed of traveling to South Georgia or Antarctica have stayed home for fear of seasickness. But every participant who eventually signed up has never regretted it!
For almost everyone, motion sickness is only a problem during the open sea passages. The days and nights when we go ashore, or cruise in between landings, are quite calm as we are always close to land.
It is impossible to predict what weather we will get. There is a chance that it will be a very calm trip, it can just as well be turbulent. The Southern Ocean, especially Drake Passage, is known as one of the roughest seas in the world. Not because there are always waves (on an average day it is actually quite calm!), but because the contrast can be so great. If we are hit by bad weather on a crossing, the experience will be memorable and a worthy conclusion to a sublime trip.
Several of our frequent travelers are prone to seasickness. Yet they do not hesitate to book such a dream trip, because it is worth the effort! Unless rough seas don’t bother you at all, carry a supply of medicine for seasickness. Read our suggestions for managing seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.
This expedition cruise is possible for anyone with a normal basic condition. The trip is not very demanding physically. We take individual profiles into account during the trip.
During the landings you can almost always choose different themes (photography, bird watching, some walking, leisurely strolling, …). In addition, zodiac cruises are often organized simultaneously or additionally. Of course you are never obliged to go on an excursion, you are also welcome to stay on board the ship.
On board, you move from one deck to the other via stairs. To participate in the excursions, a gangway is laid from the ship to the water to board the zodiacs. The guides help with getting in and out and with some practice this becomes easier and easier.
On land it can be slippery and rocky, so always be careful. We travel to remote areas without access to advanced medical facilities or medical evacuation.
To notify us of health issues, please complete the Personal Information Form. You will receive this form well before departure. If you have any questions or would like to discuss something, please contact us first.
Because insurance is a special subject, we started looking for a partner to assist us in this. Via Lycke&VanHuffel it will be possible to book assistance insurance and/or insure yourself for the entire travel amount of this expedition cruise. You will be able to sign up for an advantageous group policy that we developed especially for this trip!
Please note: the policies are not settled and concluded through us, but directly through Lycke&VanHuffel.
As a traveler, assistance insurance with repatriation is mandatory for all our trips. In addition, as a traveler you may also want to book cancellation insurance, especially for this type of travel.
This is an insurance whereby you as a person are insured for, among other things, health problems during the trip. The following guarantees are covered:
Premium: 6 euros per day and per personFor example: 1 person during 23 days = 6 x 23 = 138 euros
This is an insurance against cancellation, change or interruption of the trip. The following events qualify as a valid reason to cancel your trip or return early:
Premium = 5.5% of your total travel sum
For example: total travel sum 5.5% of 15,000 euros = 825 euros
Vacation Package: Travel Assistance + Cancellation
This package bundles the above coverages together with insurance for your luggage.
You can find the terms and conditions of the insurance here:
The limit of the amount to be insured is 20,000 euros per person and 50,000 euros per family.
In the coming weeks we will be launching weekly information about this unique expedition cruise. Below you will find an overview of the information that will follow. Count down with us to the next launch.
Do you want to be the first to be informed? Then ask to stay informed via the mailing list!