A ship is a common waterbound mode of transport in the Dragon Quest series, thanks to which the Ocean becomes avayable for exploration. The concept of giving the Hero's party a ship first appeared in II and has appeared in all of the main series' subsequent games.
Gaining access to the use of a ship is typically the result of completing some sort of quest or objective. Normally, the point in the game when a ship is acquired is near the mid-point of the game, as having a ship allows access to areas already visited and new areas which are fundamental to the next portion of the game. In the case of both II and III, acquiring the ship is a segue to quests which requires the Hero to travel all over the world to retrieve specific items.
The ship is given to the Hero after bringing the king of Portoga some Black Pepper. After obtaining the Boatman's bone, the Hero & party encounter a Ghost Ship which contains the Lover's locket necessary to dispel Olivia's curse and access the Shrine of Shackles.
A second ship it's gifted to the party by a gent who has no further need for it once they pass through the Pit of Giaga and reach the lighthouse of Tantegel. Thanks to this second ship the seas of the Underworld can be explored.
In Chapter 5, the Hero/ can use Torneko's Ship, the ship purchased by Torneko Taloon after helping the latter relight the sacred fire in the Pharos Beacon. Prior to Torneko's return to Porthtrunnel, a mini medal can be found on the ship and can be missed entirely if not obtained at that point.
After persuasion by a Spirit, the elder of Ghent allows the Hero and party to use the ship, dubbed the Providence, but only with Nevan accompanying them. Until Murdaw's defeat, the ship will only be able to travel to Murdaw's Keep. After obtaining Lorelei's harp to use for underwater travels, the Hero & party eventually come across a sunken ship which contains many treasures, including the ultimate key.
Two ships become avayable to the party during the story. The first one was a small vessel that Prince Kiefer and the Hero had secretly spent many months restoring to sailing condition, before it being used successfully for the first time to travel to the village of Ballymolloy recently restored in the present.
The second ship, the colossal Sea Dragon had, since time immemorial, belonged to a long legendary legacy of heroic pirates protected by the Water Spirit's blessing, up to the unmatched pirate captain Sharkeye, who faithfully served and protected the kingdom of Buccanham, even marrying its princess Lady Anaïs. However the Sea Dragon was eventually frozen alongside its crew by Orgodemir for many centuries as punishment for their defience against him, before being finally thawed out in the present by the re-awakened Fire Spirit. After being contacted by the Water Spirit, Captain Sharkeye's mark of the Water Spirit faded away, while the one on the Hero's arm became complete. Recognizing it as a sign of him being his heir to pass his sacred duty to, Sharkeye decided to aid the party by putting his ship and crew under the orders of the Hero, unaware of the fact that the youth was in truth not simply his successor, but also his own time-displaced son, who had been transported by the Water Spirit from the womb of his wife Anaïs in the past, into the womb of another woman, Pearl, in the present.
While initially only able to steer itself towards either Pilchard Bay or Alltrades Abbey, once the Cathedral of Blight revealed itself the Sea Dragon became able to set sail towards any locations, its crew even assisting in battle against any sea monsters encountered.
The Sea Dragon is massive, being more akin to a waterbound small citadel than a ship, so much so that it posseses five different shops aboard of itself, not to mention various treasure chests, a pub, a church, a prison, a small vegetable patch, a garden with fountain on the deck, captain's quarters designed to be essentially a throne room and even a cabin to sleep inside.
The Magic ship was stranded in a dusty wasteland south of Trodain, having laid there ever since the wasteland was part of the ancient ocean floor. The party obtain the ship after retrieving the Moonshadow Harp and returning it to Ishmahri, who can use the magical music produced by the harp to briefly make the memories long since passed of the old ocean reappear, dislodging and lifting the Magic ship from the ground and gently returning it to the water. According to Ishmahri, the ship is hundreds of years old.
The Hero/Heroine is given a ship from Ms. Marion Bloom, after saving her substitute from her kidnappers.
Sylvando owns a ship, christened the Salty Stallion, a masterpiece of nautical engineering created exclusively for him. After the party escapes from Gondolia, Sylv offers his friends in the Luminary's party its use, commanded at the helm by the expert Dave, one of Sylvando's oldest and loyalest friends.
After obtaining the Lorelei's harp from a kind mermaid named Michelle, the Salty Stallion became able to use special columns of light in order to travel to the underwater kingdom of Nautica or pass through underwater tunnels and reach otherwise locked off bodies of water.
Initially the Builder was kept prisoner, alongside Lulu and other unlucky souls, inside a slavery ship belonging to the very last remnants of the Children of Hargon, Hargon's despicable religious adepts. Captained by the surprisingly not-so-bad Captain Whitebones, the ship was sank during a storm by the spirit of Hargon himself, in order to drag the Builder into the Illusory World. While the majority of its passengers and crew perished, the ship iself was somehow transported alongside the Builder to the illusion, ending up stranded in Malhalla across an inter-dimensional rift. Captain Whitebones, who had survived the ordeal, then out of pride for his vessel began to defy the teachings of the Children and repair his ship the best he could.
Transported into the Illusory World, the Builder then met Captain Brownbeard, a self-proclaimed pirate and owner of a small boat, who likewise had accidentaly wandered inside the illusion. As the only free owner of a sea-faring vessel in the entire illusion world, having they been banned by the dictatorship of the Children, the Builder enlist the help of the captain to travel across the sea to the various islands, including the mysterious Explorer's Shores.
The Isle of Awakening was then attacked by the vessel commanded by Shane of the Children of Hargon, who commanded his troops into several attacks to the island, until he was slain, leaving his ship abbandoned and empty anchored not so far from its shores.
Traveling in the ship is much like traveling on land. Typically, the ship travels at the same rate of speed as travel by land. The party also will continue to encounter monsters while on the ship. Encounters are unavoidable in games with pseudorandom encounters, as enemies cannot be seen on the map; in addition, many foes will be of the aquatic family. The ship also follows the Hero whenever the Zoom/Return spell or chimaera wing is used. The ship relocates to the nearest body of water to the return point. This keeps the player from having to remember where the ship was last used. In Dragon Quest XI, the Salty Stallion can only dock at a port or jetty, and thus Zoom will park her at the nearest dock.
|v · e · dDragon Quest II|
Cave to Rendarak • Dragon's Horns • The Dragonlord's Castle • Gwaelin's Gate • Hall of Hargon • Lake Cave • Lighthouse • Pillar of Winds • Quagmire Cave • Sea Cave • Tower of the Moon • Wellspring of the Hero
5 Sigils • Celestial skein • Echoing Flute • Eye of Rubiss • False idol • Golden key • Jailor's key • Moonshard • Ra's mirror • Ship • Silver key • Subtle shuttle • Sunken treasure • Teleportal • Floodgate key • Windbreaker • Yggdrasil leaf
|v · e · dDragon Quest V|
The World • Littlehaven • Whealbrook • Roundbeck • Faerie Lea • Faerie Realm • Coburg • Heaven's Above Abbey • Fortuna • Lodestar Harbour • Hay • Zoomingale • Scuttlebutt • Mostroferrato • Stockenbarrel • Pontoon and Ventuno • Knick-knackatory • Helmunaptra • King Dominico's Dominion • Knot Welcome Inne • Battenburg • Gotha • Northminster • Lofty Peak • Faerie Palace • Zenithia • Nadiria • Precaria
Whealbrook Adit • Uptaten Towers • Dwarf's Den • Winter Palace • Ancient Ruins • Abovitall Tower • Scary Lair • Mount Magmageddon • Cataract Caves • Mount Batten • Gotha Pass • Rite of Passage • Knightmare Towers • Estuary Sanctuary • Neverglade • Stairway to Zenithia • Diggery-Pokery • Talon Tower • Crocodilopolis • Mantleplace • Mt. Zugzwang • Estark's Labyrinth
|v · e · dDragon Quest Builders 2|
Lulu • Hairy Hermit • Captain Brownbeard • Rosie • Bonanzo • Perry • Pastor Al • Britney • Wrigley • Clayton • Lillian • Saffron • Babs • Digby • Dougie • Den • Magrog • Goldirox • Serge • Ordelia • Jules • Warwick • King • Gerome • Anessa • Zara • Sister Esther • Jeremiah • Haydin • Captain Whitebones • Molly • Arisplotle • Griswold • Gremville • N04H • Hellen • Zebadee • Drackson • Adamn • Gillian • Finn