Santa Claws wrote:
I think, even though the Aventine is one of the largest and one of the most advanced ships of the fleet, it does not really have a long history like the Enterprise has, that should count a bit.
I like both views of a flagship -- a vessel representing the vanguard of the Federation and a vessel carrying the flag of a commanding officer of a fleet. Of course, in "Star Trek," we never really saw a lot of admirals or commodores commanding from single starships (although we did see Admiral Hansen in the "Best of Both Worlds.").
I view Aventine in a light similar to the original Excelsior. The Excelsior was outfitted with transwarp engines and was touted as the future of Starfleet (much to Scotty's chagrin). Only after the experimental stuff was removed and the ship was allowed to prove itself did it become the vanguard of the fleet (as evidenced by the longivity of the Excesior-class).
Did the Excelsior eventually become a "flagship?" Yes, I believe it did. The Federation is big enough to have multiple explorer-type ships carrying its banner (or flag) to the edges of the final frontier.