For the DS9 episode with a similar title, please see "The Ship".

The term ship or vessel was a generic term that defined any large craft that was not limited to ground or air travel. According to naval tradition, a "ship" was to any ocean-going vessel, while a "vessel" was the civilian equivalent. As mankind took to flight, the term "ship" would be applied to airships. Eventually, as mankind ventured into space, space terminology defined such vessels as spaceships or starships, and as these ships began traveling through time, they became known as timeships.

In 1999, Shannon O'Donnel described herself to Henry Janeway as "kind of an explorer." Janeway disbelieved her claim, stating that "That station wagon of yours doesn't exactly look like a sailing ship." She explained that it was actually "a rocket ship". (VOY: "11:59")

According to Tom Paris, "ancient sailing ships were always my first love. I had it all planned. Finish high school, join the Federation Naval Patrol. But my father had other ideas. [...] As far as he was concerned, the only ship I was going to serve on had to have a Starfleet insignia on it." (VOY: "Thirty Days")

In the novelization of Star Trek, one of the reasons that Iowa was chosen as the construction site for the USS Enterprise was its proximity to shipping lanes along the Mississippi River – suggesting that, on Earth, maritime activity was still alive and well in the 23rd century.