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There are numerous episodes of Star Trek: TNG where Captain Picard uses a shuttlecraft:

  • Time Squared
  • Samaritan Snare
  • Liasons
  • Final Mission
  • Timescape
  • Genesis

The Enterprise-D also has a Captain's Yacht, the Calypso. According to Memory Alpha, although it was portrayed on display screens, the set needed for filming it was never built due to budgetary costs.

Is there an in-universe reason why Picard would use a shuttlecraft instead of his Captain's Yacht?

Related:

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The largest reason comes from that last question

The Calypso does not appear to have been warp capable.

Several times we see shuttlecraft being used to bridge long distances at warp (remember DS9's early seasons only had warp-capable shuttles as well). So it's likely that shuttles were the preferred mode of transport when the ship herself had to be somewhere else. This was more noticeable in later episodes like Timescape where we see the shuttle go to warp (using a more DS9 styled shuttle instead of the old boxy white ones).

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    The DS9 craft you're thinking of are Danube-class Runabouts, and are in fact classed as ships (with their own registry) rather than shuttles. The craft featured in Timescape is in fact a Runabout too. – Conrad Bennish Jr Sep 20 '18 at 6:02

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