The non-player bridge crew is a fine idea. Especially for an MMO.
How would you like getting your ass stuck somewhere because your helmsman is AFK because his dad told him to mow the lawn? Multi-group raids are hard enough as is in MMOs, and those are usually done in special circumstances. Imagine having to corral multiple people just to have a functional ship.
That's the smartest decision Cryptic made, IMO. Everything else is not so confidence-inspiring, though.