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A cruiser is a capital warship, larger than a destroyer but smaller than a battleship. Various subclasses of cruiser exist including heavy cruisers (generally distinguished by better armor), battlecruisers (generally having better weapons), and light cruisers (generally having better speed). It is notable that there is a class (Deutschland) of WWII-era German cruisers that the British press dubbed "pocket-battleships" because of their size, weapons, and heavy armor when compared to contemporary cruiser designs (it didn't hurt the British press that the claimed tonnage was completely fabricated).

Real World Cruisers

Cruisers in Science Fiction