Warning: wall of text. TL;DR at end. Plus a bonus P.S.
When I first started WoWS, I went up the IJN bb, ca, and dd lines. I progressed up to Aoba pretty quick, slowed down while playing Fuso and Nagato (first t7 ship I got I believe) and Mutsuki/Hatsu. My cruiser playing took a real backseat once I got Amagi (unlocked Izumo before Mogami, even though I started IJN bbs, cas, and dds at the same time). It was only when I got Takao that new life was brought back to IJN cruisers, but not because of the heal. It was really because of the forward facing torps. Unfortunately, those games where I got to torp a bb or 2 were few and far between, but a Nurnberg helped change that. I came around an island where a Nurn sat waiting at 4km. I came around expecting to troll him with HE. I was dead wrong. 1 salvo and 20k hp gone. BB fire finished me off. It was then that I started using AP. Then I started using Takao, and later Atago, as a cruiser brawler. Citting Fijis at 10km, and getting cits on Hippers at 5 km was more fun. Unfortunately, those games too were few and far between. Especially in t10 games, no one wanted to get close. I was only able to spam HE.
Enter the Santa Event, which gave me Leander. I rapidly fell in love with her. Who needs HE at 15km when you can AP at 10. Who needs armor when you have smoke? I went up Leander like a bullet, and it's only been getting better (at Edinburgh, close to Neptune). I'm now at Ibuki, but Edinburgh's so much more fun. It's hilarious when I charge into cap, a bunch of people start focusing me, and I pop smoke and vanish. Then I proceed to nuke the dds in cap with hydro and make my escape (rinse and repeat). Melting bbs while in smoke is hilarious, hydroing dds is hilarious, citting helpless cruisers is hilarious. Even if I have a bad game (40k), I have a ton of fun. And then there are the monster games where I delete a full hp Fletcher and torp a full hp Balti. On top of melting a Monty and torping it in the face. On top of raping a Bis with AP (netted me 2.7k base xp I think, bottom tier FTW). And I have monster games, or at least good games, pretty frequently. They're fun and exciting, torpbeating a Benson's wall of skill, dodging a bb to get close and torp, wiggling your tail when radar hits. Wins and losses, most every game is fun.
Oh yeah. I forgot the one game where I was in a pretty beat up Leander and had a full hp Benson firing at me (6-8km I think). A few salvos later, I'd only lost 1k hp or so, while the Benson had lost 3/4 of his hp. Only the island coming between us saved him. Who says bottom tier can't [edited] face?
In light of all that, I've found that the rest of the cruiser lines have started to pale in comparison. In no other cruiser line can I rush cap. Can't actively get close to dds either. I have no get out of jail free card or invisibility cloak (more like 4 of them). And I don't have super heals (full hp to 4k then back to 3/4 FTW!!!). And I have 3 of them, starting a tier lower than all other cruisers get their heals.
The RN line is countered by literally everything: bb cits, cruiser radar/hydro and WAY better armor, dd concealment + torp walls of doom BUT
In proper situations, RN counters the everliving [edited]out of any of them. It's fun getting into those situations, and even if it doesn't work out perfectly, even if it goes to hell, it's still fun. You got outplayed, but you still get to brawl, even if its one salvo before the bb hammer of doom. And when it does work, it works wonders. Nuking dds is insanely fun, particularly since it means 1 less dd to spoil my BB melting.
Especially after playing Edin, my disappointment playing Yorck and Schors has been profound. One turns like a rudderless bb while the other has huge guns and horrible HE. They rely on fire dmg too much, but it takes so long to light 1 fire (either that or RNG hates me). In addition, most of the hits to the superstructure, at least for Schors, are shatters (maybe I suck at aiming). The rest of the time you're wiggling and camping islands.
Even when an RN CL is bottom tier, it can carry. My Edin has carried quite a few games, bottom tier or not. It seems much harder for another cruiser to do so though. Even at T10, you can get in close and [edited] (at the beginning of the game I might add), while in other ships it's much harder/impossible, at least early game wise.
RN CLs are cruisers that think they're destroyers, and I love them for it. They combine the best aspects of cls and dds (great concealment, fast firing guns, SMOKE, HEAL, HYDRO, AA (at 9 and 10 ofc)). They're the ship class I play when I want to relax, cuz I know I'll have a fun time with them. Even if the team just sucks, I'll have fun, with a good performance to boot.
This might also explain why I'm coming to love Tash. She removes the weak hp pool t7 Kiev had. So now she can actually speed tank from 12km. Who cares about caps when you're melting bbs to the waterline? With AP from 12km no less. I'll light fires as it suits me. The rest of the time it's AP, even at bow/stern on bbs. It reminds me of the time I played invisifire the bb with my Farragut (nvm I take back my earlier remark on being a bad aim. USN dd arcs are way worse than RU ca arcs). RU DDs are destroyers that think they're cruisers. It's a lovely mixing of contradictions, isn't it?
RN cruisers have, at least for me, taken a lot of the fun out of playing other cruiser lines.
Now all we need is a BB that thinks it's a cruiser. Oh wait. We already have that. Might explain why she's the only T7 bb that kept a spot in my port. Maybe a BB that thinks it's a destroyer next? With GASP, smoke?