That's what makes the "Lost Ship" thing unsustainable and uninteresting after a while. TOS was going to do the same "Lost Ship" thing until Roddenberry realized it wouldn't work.
What they should've done is make them truly lost to the point that they don't know how to get back to known Space, or have there be something keeping them from going home. That gives them reason to do genuine exploring and flesh out the area.
For example, by the time they can go home or at least begin to, the 8472 aliens have begun an invasion of our Universe and then they go through a time portal that shows them that in the future, if they don't do something NOW, the 8472 will overwhelm and destroy the Galaxy including the Federation. So they have to put off going home so to put together a Delta Federation to stop them first. That's the driving plot of the show.
Yeah I guess being truly lost would work, although all it would take is to acknowledge that Voyager cannot travel far without scouting for supplies etc and the show can retain it's original premise and still have a reason to explore and build relationships.
I'm not a big fan of driving plots like the one you mentioned. I personally think the best shows either don't have one, or the characterisatation, writing and acting is so good that the show outgrows it's plot to the point it actually becomes the least interesting element.