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had my household goods shipped by boat.
Including your camera(s)? Why not carry you're gear on the plane with you back to the States?
I of course had a weight limit when flying back from Japan, along with a wife and baby, so traveling back was not easy. I decided to take the 5DIII and my 3 prime lenses, leaving the rest in the original Canon packaging. I do have insurance against any damage and photos of all of my gear in the state it was in just before leaving, so if anything is broken, there's a slim chance that they'll repair or replace the gear. And no, I can't grab my stuff by myself and deliver it to my own home since that takes all liability for damages out of the hands of the delivery company. So if anything's broken, it becomes my fault basically.