Originally Posted by hersch
Finally, I suggest you not head out on a "5-year voyage". Start the voyage with the idea that you will continue as long as you are all having fun.
Do get it touch if you are able. Also check out our video clip at http://www.3sigma.com/sailing/Final/BigPicture.html
Marc, thanks for the link to the video clip. It was a relaxing way to finishing the day.
Your points about "back doors" and over preparation are important. I don't think we'd have a problem stopping early if we wanted to, and if the trip takes ten years of preparation then our kids are going to be waving good-bye before we go. Of course, committing to something too big ("We're going to circle the world!") can also lead to the never-ending preparation loop.
We're also open to the idea that one to two week cruises might turn out to be prefect for us, even in the long run. We could cruise for three weeks in a row this summer if we wanted to, depending mostly on our spirits and energy level. By the same token, we may cruise just a week and then take a break, so as not to push things too hard on the kids. It's great to hear stories of "our kids crossed the Pacific when they were 4 years old and loved it," but all kids are different, and we try to recognize our little one's loves and passions as much as our own.
So, in that regard, we may always fall short of the five year cruise, at any time. That's part of the planning-- the "as long as its fun" sort of thing. The hard part for me to figure out is the financial plan of sustaining a five-year cruise and then a re-entry of some sort. I'd like to have the option open of continuing if we really love it, and that means "starting at the end" and working backwards with our plans for overall stability.
As someone noted on another board, financial problems have prematurely ended more cruises than any boat, skill, health or weather problems. Others have noted that it seems like many or most of the cruisers they meet are in retirement age. We may also end up in that group, but not without making an honest effort at designing a 1-5 year cruise financially and kids-wise, not to mention "pucker factor" and motivation-wise.
Given all the possible show-stoppers, maybe I shouldn't even worry about a major cruise. For good or bad, however, my family is pretty solid as a unit, and we're used to relatively rugged travel and outdoors experiences. If we were to start a cruise tomorrow, I don't think we'd need too many luxuries aboard to be happy.
Thanks again for your replies!