In the Pacific and in general-- BB is the way to go, IMO.
Personally, I prefer CV SUB FIG over either BB or CA/DD in bulk. Having 2-3 BB is intimidating (psychological), has soak (adsorbs hits), has bombardment–and the BBs are the last stuff to survive in a pyrrhic battle where both sides took great losses.
Numbers have an advantage, and so having 2 units might be better than 1 because they are more flexible.
However, the reason the CA (Cruiser) is so weak is that it can’t defend (either itself, or the fleet) against the subshot. Whether this is psychological or odds-driven, all your CA must be given up before your last DD is. Moreover, the DD is required to cover each fleet, and block other squares–so it has a much higher utility value.
I’ve tried to design a “Cruiser Crush” KGF/ATL and it wont work. You need ##s… the small advantage of novelty and bombardments isn’t worth it. With 5-6 CA in SZ 91, you’re going to get creamed, and you’ll have to lose your higher units first!
To broaden the conversation, the cruiser isn’t overpriced…its correctly priced. There are two rules that nerf it out 1) 1 bombard per amphibious unit drop 2) any interference (scramble, killing defenseless unit or sub, prebattle) blocks all shots.
I think all the rules work flavorfully, though imperfectly with one another. So to make the cruiser better, something has to give which is why people try to repurpose or reprice the cruiser.
Summation: Go big, Go BB instead.