- Tarsus: The Tarsus, a merchant scout, is the starting ship in Privateer. It is somewhat balanced in combat and merchant capabilities, and especially when it is modified for taking higher levels of engine upgrades and shields, it performs quite okay in both categories. The Tarsus is also used by the Merchants faction.
As the production of this ship is discontinued, if they player sells this ship to buy another, they can never get another Tarsus again.
The other three playable ships can be bought from a shipdealer. There are shipdealers on several planets and bases.
- Orion: The Orion is the most heavily armored vessel in Privateer besides capital ships, but it has rather limited carrying capacity for commodities. Relying on armor and sturdiness, it is classified as a merchant gunship. The Orion is also used by the Bounty Hunters faction.
- Galaxy: The Galaxy is a heavy vessel with by far the largest capacity for commodities. It is the preferred ship for merchant activities. However, it lacks maneuverability for combat. The Galaxy is commonly used by the Merchants faction.
- Centurion: A heavy fighter, the Centurion is the most expensive and combat-worthy ship available for purchase. It carries the heaviest load of weapons among the four and is by far the most maneuverable. However, the Centurion has the smallest capacity for commodities, and its cargo hold cannot be expanded. The Centurion is also used by the Bounty Hunters faction.
- Talon: The Talon light fighter is one of the most common ships in the sector, even though it is outclassed by most fighters and even some custom freighter vessels. Used by Pirates, Retros, and Militia. This ship makes a cameo appearance in Privateer 2: The Darkening. where it's known as an "Unknown Ship". A possible jab at the fact that Privateer II was a sequel only in name.
- Gladius: The Gladius light fighter has all of maneuverability of the Talon but with more armor. Used by Militia and the Confederation.
- Stilletto: While lightly armed and armored, the Stilletto is the fastest ship. Flown only by the Confederation.
- Demon: The Demon is a fast and heavily armed ship, making it a dangerous encounter. Used only by Bounty hunters.
- Broadsword: Classified as a bomber, the Broadsword is the most heavily armed and armored fighter-sized ship other than the Orion, but lacks speed and maneuverability. Used only by the Confederation.
- Dralthi: A common occurrence in Kilrathi forces, the Dralthi is the basic ship of the Kilrathi fleet. It is reasonably well-armed and fast.
- Gothri: The Gothri is heavy fighter flown only by the Kilrathi. Faster, more heavily armed, better armored, and almost as maneuverable compared to the Dralthi, the Gothri is arguably the most dangerous enemy fighter commonly encountered in Privateer.
- Steltek Drone: The Steltek Drone was programmed to eliminate all who rediscover lost Steltek technology. Equipped with superior technology, the Drone's shields cannot be harmed by conventional modern-day weaponry.
- Steltek Scout: While the Steltek civilization has retreated from most parts of the galaxy, their scouts still travel around when peculiarity arises.
- Salthi: (Righteous Fire only) The Salthi is a Kilrathi-built light fighter sold to the "Retros" of the Church of Man. Although an old design, it is the still the most maneuverable fighter in the sector, and the Church of Man has modified it with secret stolen technology.
- Drayman: The Drayman is a large merchant transport, lightly armed and armored compared to ship of its size. It is a favorite target for pirates.
- Paradigm: The Paradigm is the Confederation's destroyer present in the Gemini sector. It is heavily armed and protected by thick armor.
- Kamekh: A Kilrathi destroyer, the Kamekh is the Kilrathi counterpart to the Confederation's Paradigm.