Following the end of the Dominion War, Starfleet was ready to once again return to its primary mission of peaceful exploration and diplomatic outreach. To that end, large, long-range exploratory cruisers were once again being developed by shipyards all over the Federation. One such design was the Ross class, which built on the success of the Galaxy class, but incorporated a variety of technological advancements made during the last decade.
The first ship of the class, named after Earth engineering pioneer Mary G. Ross, was launched in 2381 under the command of Orion Captain Azeri Sull, and was assigned to exploration of the Shackleton Expanse out of Narendra Station. The ship incorporated the first holographic first officer in Starfleet, Commander EXEO, who runs on a dedicated computer core with its own holographic matrix.
Other inclusions are a large diplomatic promenade on deck 8 for receptions; a secondary warp core on the saucer section, capable to either power the main nacelles or provide warp capabilities to the saucer when separated; and a Cetacean Ops department on deck 13 crewed by 22 Odanian officers.