True, they kinda force you into a different playstyle while leveling up. On the other hand it is kind of a sampling mode for endgame where you can make an informed decision on what kind of ship might be best suited for you in the long run. You can fly everything from a raider, to escort, to destroyer to cruiser.... just no science ship incidentally.
At T5 you get a choice of escort, cruiser, science with variations of their new original space whale/separable ship.
In the end I will pick the T'varo because it is the most Romulan ship in all of Trek. Updated design of the original Bird of prey and the TNG warbird just doesn't cut it (same fate as the Galaxy Class).