I'm in the Neptune at the moment and for the most part, the entire class plays the same captain skills. You will need the superintendent captain skill as you will burn all your smoke. I purchase a fourth one and often use it if I make it to the 15th minute. I also recommend smoke screen expert as other players will often join you. Concealment on the ship and captain from the Fiji on up is a good idea too. Everything else, personal preference imo. Belfast, add the Demo expert and IF skills. You'll burn everything around you.
Lower tiers are fine and fun. I couldn't get out of the Lender fast enough. I don't know why. Figi, I call mine" Lil' Miss Lethal". Expect to be targeted over DD's if you're seen (at least, it feels this way to me). Edinburgh, I liked it but found it lacking the Figi's nimbleness and it's just bigger. Neptune, larger and faster shooting then the Figi. Call this one"Big Miss Lethal". Seem to get targeted over DDs in this one too. Minotaur is next, woot!
Use smoke and islands. Always have yourself set in the direction you want to move to next (or escaped too). Expect to be blocked by other players at times. Longer ranged targeting skills I've found are a must and these ships are as fragile as DD's.Torpedoes are just icing on the cake. Eat anyone that gets too close.