Core ships are default ship designs that come with Galactic Civilizations II. A player unlocks core ships by discovering the technologies required to build them; this information can be seen in the technology window. Core ships designs may not be modified by the player, but individual ships can be upgraded like normal.

Core ship designs include:

Note: many core designs use hull types that do not match the ship's hit points. Designs that have more hit points than their hulls are marked with a single asterisk; designs that have fewer hit points than their hulls are trailed by two asterisks. These notes only apply to Human-style hulls and may not be applicable to other styles.