In 2361, the Potemkin was the last Federation starship to make contact with the failed colony on the planet Turkana IV until 2367. The personnel of the Potemkin were warned by the colony's ruling cadres that anyone transporting to the colony would be killed. (TNG: "Legacy")
It was also in 2361 that Lieutenant William T. Riker was assigned to the Potemkin. During his tenure on this ship, Riker led an away team to evacuate the science outpost on Nervala IV because of a dangerous energy distortion field covering the planet. It was not realized at the time that this distortion field caused the Potemkin's transporter to malfunction, materializing a duplicate Riker on the planet's surface. The Potemkin left orbit, unknowingly abandoning the duplicate Riker for eight years. The original Riker was promoted to lieutenant commander after this rescue mission. However, his duplicate was discovered in 2369 by the USS Enterprise-D and subsequently began a new life as Thomas Riker and reassigned to the USS Gandhi. (TNG: "Second Chances"; DS9: "Defiant")
The Potemkin's officers routinely held a poker game. As a young officer, William Riker took up the game so he could ingratiate himself to his seniors. Fortunately, they realized he was young and inexperienced and decided not to hold it against him, something Deanna Troi reminded him of when Riker later believed Ensign Sam Lavelle was doing the same thing aboard the Enterprise-D. (TNG: "Lower Decks")
It was also on the Potemkin that Riker tried an unconventional tactic of positioning the ship over a planet's magnetic pole and shutting down the power, in order to confuse an opponent ship's sensors. (TNG: "Peak Performance")
During the Dominion War, the Potemkin was part of the Ninth Fleet around Bajor. In 2374 she visited Deep Space 9 to be repaired along with the USS Exeter, the USS Sutherland, and the USS Akagi. (DS9: "You Are Cordially Invited")
|USS Berlin • USS Cairo • USS Charleston • USS Crazy Horse • USS Enterprise-B • USS Excelsior • USS Farragut • USS Fearless • USS Fredrickson • USS Gorkon • USS Hood • USS Lakota • USS Malinche • USS Melbourne • USS Potemkin • USS Repulse • USS Valley Forge • Unnamed|
In an internal list of starships, from 26 September 1990, the Potemkin's registry was NCC-8253.  The non-canon user manual for the video game Star Trek: Starfleet Academy, released in 1997, listed the ship with the registry NCC-18253. It is unclear where this new number came from.
In the original Star Trek Encyclopedia (1st ed., p. 321), the ship's registry from the ship list was mentioned, while the newer Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 176) mentions NCC-18253 as the Potemkin registry.
The LCARS graphic appearing in "Second Chances" depicted the Potemkin with the silhouette of an Ambassador-class starship, contrary to the ship's earlier appearance as an Excelsior class. The number, 42547, that was next to the silhouette might be the ship's registry; however, this was uncertain.
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 2, p. 176), the Potemkin, like the previous ship of the same name, was "named for Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin (1739-1791), a Russian military figure under Catherine II."
In the Doctor Who crossover comic Assimilation², the Potemkin joined the USS Lassiter in responding to the joint Borg/Cybermen invasion of Delta IV on stardate 45635.2. The Lassiter was destroyed by a Borg cube almost immediately, while the Potemkin was heavily damaged. Its commanding officer at the time was Captain Marcus Bertrand, who was captured and assimilated into the Borg Collective. The work of the Enterprise crew and the Eleventh Doctor and his companions led to the prevention of the Borg/Cyberman alliance, so the events at Delta IV were erased from history beyond the people involved maintaining their memories of the events.