Mario de Monti wrote:
The term "battle cruiser" would indicate "a cruiser built for battle" - as our real world battle cruisers were. Since the main mission of the Enterprise and her sister ships is peaceful exploration, armed only for self-defense, Starfleet would definitely not classify her as a battle cruiser! And that regardless of the firepower she possesses.
How the Klingons designate Starfleet vessels doesn´t necessarily have anything nothing to do with their "real" classifications. The Klingons will have different designations for their vessels, especially since the purpose of the Klingon fleet is obviously battle, war and conquest.
When you send your "explorers" armed with enough weaponry to destroy civilizations, don't be surprised when your neighbors misinterpret your intent.
But, since the Constitution-class seems to be the Federations front line defense, I never bought the "oh, don't mind us we're explorers" non-sense.
Errand of Mercy wrote:
KIRK: I'm a soldier, not a diplomat.
A soldier with a massive arsenal at his disposal.