An Excelsior-class, Federation starship, the Potemkin's registry number is NCC-18253.

In 2361, the Potemkin was the last Federation starship to make contact with the failed colony on planet Turkana IV (prior to the Enterprise-D's visit in 2367). Potemkin personnel were warned by the colony's ruling cadres that anyone transporting to the colony would be killed.

In 2361, William T. Riker joined the Potemkin crew as a lieutenant. 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, Thomas Riker, for eight years. The original Riker was promoted to lieutenant commander after this rescue mission.

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.

On Stardate 45587 (2368), the Potemkin ferried Dr. Toby Russell, a neurogeneticist, to the Enterprise-D in order to help Lt. Worf recover from a severe spinal injury.