Obviously there are many recurring characters over the span of the Star Trek canon.

Some obvious examples: Q, Lwaxana Troi, Gowron, Lursa, B'Etor, Adm. Nechayev, Lt. Barclay, Gul Dukat

What ship appears in the most episodes/films?

What is not admitted:

  • Enterprises
  • Runabouts
  • Defiant
  • Voyager
  • support craft for the above ships (Delta Flyer, shuttlecraft)
  • space stations and docks
  • ships from different eras with the same name which are not the same ship. (Do not argue that we technically don't know whether a TOS-era and a TNG-era ship are the same or not - there's no precedent for that)
  • multiple mentions/appearances/instances in the same episode/film count as one

What is admitted:

  • refits are the same ship
  • mentions of the ship in dialog
  • on-screen mentions/representations of the ship on displays
  • we need positive identification. The ship must be positively identifiable. For example, in a battle or debris scene, we must be able to either see the name or serial number or it must be mentioned in dialog. No speculating that it's "probably a certain ship". The basis for that speculation would usually already count as a mention (e.g. previous dialog)
  • parallel universes, hallucinations, Q-creations, etc are in-bounds as long as it represents 'the same ship form the same era'

COMMENTS ON THE GIVEN ANSWERS

It's become clear I'm not going to make anyone happy by selecting an answer.

  • There is a legitimate position that @Valorum's answer, the USS Leeds, is not a suitable answer because (a) he needed to use out of universe information to identify the ship and especially (b) appearing in the credit sequence doesn't qualify as a recurring role

  • There is a legitimate position that @Praxis's answer of the Stargazer in over a hundred episode because a model appears in Picards's ready room is not a suitable answer because that's not a recurring role either. For example, if Picard had a picture of Kirk on his wall, would we say that Kirk has a recurring role in hundreds of episodes?

  • Of the remaining answers, it looks like @kl78's answer of the Rotarran has the biggest role.

  • I actually believe @Shwern's answer may be the most useful one, but since it doesn't currently subsume @kl78's answer, it can't be correct.

I have my personal position on when I try to focus on the intent of the question, but others get upset when I clarify after they've already given answers. Therefore I will not accept an answer and I ask everyone please just acknowledge there are merits to all the answers and we'll leave it at that. Everyone please just enjoy yourselves -- I think all the answers are interesting.

  • 7
    Countdown to people not reading the text and answering "Enterprise" in 3. 2. 1.... – ThePopMachine Oct 1 '15 at 15:26
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    How do we know that ships mentioned in dialogue are the same ship? – user001 Oct 1 '15 at 16:15
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    There's some starship with blow-dryers for nacelles that appears in the two of the films. Does that count? :-) – Praxis Oct 1 '15 at 18:50
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    Aren't all Borg cubes essentially the same thing? ;) – Raphael Oct 2 '15 at 7:38
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    Are ships the official designations of which are unknown but are certainly the same ship admissible? I feel that the ST:ENT's "Xindi weapon" (third, final iteration), though not known by its official name, owns the most mentions/views of the same vessel, giving it the unequivocal most appearances. It was a ship (self propelled, had a crew), and was I think in 15+- eps of ENT. May I submit this as an answer?; the question stands as "what ship appears..", not "which ship we know the official name of appears.." Anyway, if isn't right—in my view—it belongs here with the contenders. Thanks! – 1252748 Nov 4 '15 at 2:08

The 'Nebula-Class' USS Leeds appears in no fewer than 104 episodes of DS9.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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    /drops the mike. – Valorum Oct 1 '15 at 19:06
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    If I gave upvotes to people with more rep than me, I'd upvote this. – Jack B Nimble Oct 1 '15 at 19:09
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    @corsiKa role: an actors part in a play or a movie, this ship has a role, its very minor, but its filling the part of a ship docking at ds9, the question doesn't ask for major reoccurring ship, just a prolific reoccurring ship. its essentially the of the tree you give to the socially awkward kid in grade school at the school play. – Himarm Oct 1 '15 at 19:42
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    @corsiKa If you aren't going to accept the Leeds because it lacks a role in the opening, then you can't in good faith accept mentions of a ship that are unrelated to the appearance of said ship. If a character is simply mentioned in an episode they wouldn't be said to have had a role in the episode. Example: Gowron is a major recurring character, that is often mentioned without ever appearing in the episode. – Xantec Oct 1 '15 at 20:30
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    Surely since the credits are always repeating the same scene, this should only count as one? – user36551 Oct 3 '15 at 9:26

The USS Stargazer appears in at least 150 episodes of The Next Generation.

enter image description here

According to this interview with Rich Sternbach (a designer on TNG and co-author of the TNG Technical Manual), the model is the Stargazer, Picard's first command.

  • 4
    I challenge you to go through the trouble of proving it actually appears in every episode. Anyways, no, I won't take Richard's or your tricky answers. But I will smile at them. – ThePopMachine Oct 1 '15 at 19:14
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    @ThePopMachine : I'd love to put this ship, but I've found confirmation that it is the Stargazer. Now in answer. – Praxis Oct 1 '15 at 23:10
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    Clearly a support craft for the enterprise. It supports the ship by decorating its captain's cabin. – Yakk Oct 2 '15 at 14:14
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    @Mazura : But the ship did appear on-screen. It appeared in "The Battle", when a Ferengi captain gave it back to Picard as a "gift". – Praxis Oct 3 '15 at 1:32
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    If mentions and schematic displays are explicitly permitted then a model certainly is as well. The mere presence of the model keeps "mentioning" that Picard was once on the Stargazer – Hagen von Eitzen Oct 4 '15 at 13:26

Here's a list of starships I recall being mentioned a lot, plus other people's suggestions, and how many times they appear in the transcripts.

If you count only what we see and hear on screen, it's probably Stargazer, though it's only seen once. If you include notes in official scripts, it's probably Rotarran.

If you count the model on Picard's desk, it would appear Stargazer wins hands down. However, apparently that is not the Stargazer and it's never referred to as such.

  • +1 Also, I see now that you had already pointed out the Stargazer model (which technically counts, given the wording of the question). :-) – Praxis Oct 1 '15 at 19:19
  • As long as your listing runner-ups, I'm counting 6 mentions of Riker's previous assignment, the USS Potemkin (5 in TNG, and once in DS9). – Caleb Hines Oct 2 '15 at 4:04
  • @CalebHines Good spot. I also added its TOS counterpart. – Schwern Oct 2 '15 at 5:42
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    Here's another thought: what about Chakotay's Maqui ship? A cursory search found that it wasn't given a proper name in Voyager's pilot episode, though it's name was later shown on a screen as the Val Jean (so that's at least two episodes). It's been a while since I've watched Voyager, but I wonder how many other episodes, especially in season 1, might have Chakotay or one of his crew referring to it (e.g. "On my ship..."), or might even contain flashbacks. – Caleb Hines Oct 3 '15 at 19:55
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    Kudos for completeness, but you've left out the Defiant (NCC-1764) which appears in 3 episodes, one TOS and a two-parter ENT. – Jherico Oct 5 '15 at 0:00

My guess would be the IKS Rotarran. According Memory Alpha it has 13 appearances in DS9 Episodes.

enter image description here

(DS9 Season 5)
"Soldiers of the Empire" "Call to Arms"

(DS9 Season 6)
"A Time to Stand" "Sons and Daughters" "Favor the Bold" "Sacrifice of Angels" "You Are Cordially Invited" "Tears of the Prophets"

(DS9 Season 7)
"Shadows and Symbols" "The Emperor's New Cloak" "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" "Penumbra" "Tacking Into the Wind"

  • I only count nine in the transcripts. For example, it isn't mentioned in A Time To Stand. I'll have to rewatch the episodes. – Schwern Oct 1 '15 at 18:40
  • @schwern: I must admit, i only checked memory alpha for this post. I did see all DS9 episodes and remembered the ship is seen often, but did not count by myself. Not sure how reliable the linked post is. But we are talking about "positive identification", maybe it is only visible for a short time in the episodes without further mention or only an interior shot. – kl78 Oct 1 '15 at 18:43
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    @schwern: maybe in a time to stand it only references to this: en.memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/… Its also mentioned in this transcript:st-minutiae.com/resources/scripts/525.txt – kl78 Oct 1 '15 at 18:53
  • Official script > transcript. :) – Schwern Oct 1 '15 at 18:57
  • The link to the script i posted should provide the official script, according to the webmaster of the page.Can not see what makes your linked script more official then mine linked, but i must admit i am no expert in this. – kl78 Oct 1 '15 at 19:01

Another strong contender is Chakotay's Maquis ship, the Val Jean. Oddly enough, it's name is never spoken (making transcript searches much more difficult!), but it is seen on a computer screen in one episode. While its crew is referenced heavily throughout the series, I count at least 10 or 11 episodes where the actual ship is mentioned (depending on if you count Caretaker as one or two episodes). Without rewatching the whole series, I can't guarantee there aren't more.

  • 1x01/02 - Caretaker - The ship has a prominent role, and is destroyed.

  • 1x03 - Parallax - Chakotay asks Janeway if she'd have served him if they "were on the Maquis ship now instead of Voyager"

  • 1x11 - State of Flux - Chakotay, commenting on Tuvok's and Seska's both being spies, asks "Was anyone on board that ship working for me?"

  • 1x16 - Learning Curve - An ex-Maqui tells Tuvok "On our ship, when something went wrong, you fixed it," to which Tuvok replies he is "no longer on a Maquis ship."

  • 2x05 - Non Sequiter - Paris tells Kim that Janeway asked him to "help her track down that Maquis ship".

  • 5x24 - Relativity - An admiral assures Janeway that Tuvok is "aboard Chakotay's ship."

  • 6x09 - The Voyager Conspiracy - Seven believes Chakotay was deliberately trying to use the Caretaker array as a weapon against the Federation, "offering his vessel as bait". Janeway tells Seven that "Tuvok was a spy on Chakotay's ship."

  • 6x25 - The Haunting of Deck Twelve - Chakotay admits he "used to have long conversations with my Maquis ship."

  • 7x04 - Repression - The name of the ship, Val Jean, is seen on a computer screen.

  • 7x11 - Shattered - Janeway tells a time-displaced Chakotay that "we're about to chase your ship into the Badlands".

Of course, admitting oblique references like "my/your/that ship" might also increase the number for some of the other contenders.

enter image description here

enter image description here


EDIT: Sticking with the same series, and going for runner-ups, Neelix's "freighter" the Baxial, was apparently shown or mentioned in 8 different episodes, according to memory alpha. Granted, this may count as a support ship or shuttle, given that it fit within Voyager's shuttlebay.

USS Stargazer

Based only on googling

site:chakoteya.net Stargazer

It appears Capt Picard's previous command, the USS Stargazer, is mentioned in at least ten episodes:

"The Battle", "Relics", "The Wounded", "Allegiance", "The Measure of a Man", "Chain of Command", "The Child", "Coming of Age", "Tapestry", and "Family"

Off the top of my head I'd guess Excelsior, Farragut, Hood or Endeavor.

A brief wiki search of those:

  • Hood: five mentions in TNG and DS9.

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