Setting out on a ship, landing a ship on a new island/area, securing a ship, loading a ship and sailing the ship home with the dangers involved is a game in itself. Really, it is the game. Personally, I would like to see portals reduced to a summoning mechanic that allows friends to catch up to each other so they can play together.
In our current map, Bonemass and the huge swamp surrounding him is a 15-20 minute longship journey. In order to land the longship, we landed on a Meadows island nearby and built a camp. Dropped a portal. Gathered wood, portalled back and forth a bunch repairing, etc. Finally prepared, we sailed to the swamp and stopped short, swam in and sneaked/fought for a landing spot. Built a camp with a protected spot for the longship. Dropped another portal. Back and forth again, sometimes only so we could repair. Then started plundering crypts for iron, bringing it back to the longship. More portal trips for repairing. Still haven't sailed it home, not quite full yet.
Even portalling without ore breaks the experience. It would have been much more epic if we left home and didn't return until we had the ship fully laden with ore.
The problem is that previous progress doesn't become streamlined and itemization doesn't become aggregated. "Kits" would go a long way to solving this. Once I build a level 4 workbench I should unlock a recipe for a level 4 Workbench Kit. The Workbench Kit aggregates all of the materials. Let the kits stack up to 5 and give them reasonable weights. Same thing for Forge and Cooking. It just isn't feasible right now to create a new camp incorporating the progress that you have already made. Actually portals make it feasible but it is still painful and the repeated trips break the immersion. I could outfit the longship with some kits and hit the water and not look back until the hold was full.
Another idea is to put the workbench, forge and stonecutter on a cart. Especially the stonecutter.