So after reaching level 50 with Selenia, I took a leap and got a Defiant Refit with my RA-UH (didn't even have VA's at the time...) ship token and loved it.
Your memory is a bit fuzzy. They did have Vice Admirals at the time you got your Retrofit Defiant.
The level cap at launch was Rear Admiral, level 45. But in July of 2010, Season 2 came out. With that season came a bunch of things. Levels 46-50, the rank of Rear Admiral Upper Half, Level 51, the Rank of Vice Admiral, and ... the Retrofit ships, including the Defiant that you got with your token.
Those ships were Vice Admiral ships and could only be flown at level 51 when they debuted.
and decided I wanted to try to be a healer because she just couldn't keep up with the damage output of a Tac in an Escort. So I went and bought an Excelsior Refit.
As far as healers go, the Excelsior isn't exactly the best ship for that.
I've actually been flying a Heavy Cruiser Retrofit and been having a blast with it. Using an Aux2Battery setup, there doesn't seem to be much PVE content that I have trouble with. I even placed 1st in Crystalline Catastrophe in it.
That is all I flown for a while. Until here recently I started to level a tactical for an escort. I have really enjoyed my cruisers. They have a learning curve over the escort, but once you got that. They are easy to use and fun.
You build it right, you will be impressed what you can live through. I been through some intense battles and like how I lived through that.
I put a couple million EC down today on buying and kitting out a mirror universe sovereign, and honestly I enjoy it quite a bit -- though I wish I'd gone for the mirror space whale instead, I find myself really missing TT. It's the most fun I've had since my Defiant-class, and my Nova- before it back in tier 2.
No mention of the amusement at simply soaking the worst hits in the game without caring? There's just something supremely satisfying about eating stuff like Borg high-yields or the Crystalline Entity's discharge, seeing that they didn't even crack your shields, and thinking 'that all you got?'
I used to fly nothing but cruisers, loved the lasting power on them for PvE play. I always tried to fly the heavy tank in STFs, but a few seasons ago they made it significantly harder to do that (even with my mostly-casual fleet as team mates) and I switched to the Chimera escort (which is about as close to a cruiser as you can get with an escort). I may take another stab at a heavy tank cruiser once my fleet gets a little higher on the Embassy tiers and we gain access to the better +Threat consoles. That said, the upcoming Emergency Power changes on Tribble are going to make some people have to massively alter their cruiser builds, so I'll reserve judgement until next month.