Play what you enjoy, not what other players tell you to do. Everyone playing style and goals are different.
I would add one thing to this, Spec to your specialty. You can run whatever ship you want successfully if you know your class and how your skills, attributes and abilities function.
It's complete BS to say cruisers suck in endgame, because it all depends on the player piloting it. II;ve seen tacticals who don't even use debuffs, at a bare minimum tact should be carrying attack pattern beta, especially in elite. DPS is important in elite endgame I agree with that, but underestimating the differing clases of ship is a terrible mistake to make.
Personally I have 2 fed tact VA's, 1 Fed Engy VA, 2 Fed Sci VA's, 1 Lt.Gen KDF Tact, 1 LT.Gen KDF Eng, 1 LT.Gen KDF SCI. These having been maxed for a good while now, I have had alot of time to test and play with all my different ships and factions, and varrying skill choices and across the board there is no class that outranks any other in my opinion, if anything it reaffirms my position that if you spec to your specialty and play a ship you like you will do well, and who cares what anyone else thinks.
Don't listen to the min/maxers and number crunchers, fly whatever ship floats your boat. Just do it smartly. Stick with one energy type( rainbows fail, for pve at least). The variety of the builds you can put together is part of the fun. The day that I HAVE to run a certain specced escort or cruiser to finsh an stf or other event, that is the day I quit this game. Too many MMO's have fallen into that trap "If you are a tank, you have to be specced like this and only this to succeed", or "healers have to have this list of spells to be a part of my group". That is all a bunch of fail. Just please don't bring a cruiser with 7 or 8 turrets on it into an stf, there is so much fail in that, I don't even want to get into it.
If the Cruiser cannot A) Keep the DPS ships alive or B) Draw and HOLD Aggro from the enemies while staying alive then it is NOT helping in an STF.
Which is why if an Odyssey offers to defend the Kang, I am going to helicopter around it wil my Defiant anyways no matter how much you yell at me.
Its also why I will not be pleased with you and will not defend or aid you in the slightest if you don't draw aggro first with your cruiser while I'm moving in cloaked. Me turning on the cloaking device is an invitation for you to hit the cube first and draw its fire.
I flew Cruisers for 95% of my 2 years on here and much of it was pretty good. The last cruiser was the Excelsior which I loved until Season 5. I flew that ship longer than any other. After Season 5 it lost something and became a pretty weak ship to say the least. I could never get it back to being the killer it once was.
Most everything having to do with ANY ship boils down to Build and Piloting. If you have a lousy build, don't have your skills set just right, don't know how to fly, how to do a mission, or have a lousy BO setup, ANY ship is a bust.
After the bad experiances with the Excelsior I decided to try an Escort. I found 'The STF Escort Build Thread' and read it about a milltion times and built my Escort around that. Now I wouldn't go back to a Cruiser if it was advertised as being the most tanked and powerful ship in the fleet.
There seem to be a lot of folks who don't view cruisers as a valid choice for many things: PVP, Endgame content, etc. A lot of people have angrily compared them to space whales or whatever in other threads, and I'm not sure where the disconnect is.
As an engineer, I've happily chugged along in a cruiser since I started (up to level 43 so far). I've participated in massive battles in which enemies made the mistake of targeting me just to find out I can't be exploded, and my damage output is on par with most klingon opponents I've observed. Turn rate isn't much of a problem if you know when you need to pivot to rotate shields (using abilities) and understand that gearing up a cruiser for damage is a lot different than gearing up a ship that faces forward at all times to do battle. Isn't this really simply a play-style choice?
Despite the fact that The Odyssey has fallen short on a lot of levels, I was looking forward to being able to fly this thing around endgame only to find out that it for some reason "doesn't work." I get that a ton of ships instantly explode whenever the borg look at them funny in higher difficulty modes - and its my understanding that the cruiser ability to "tank things" does not make up for this fact, but does this really invalidate cruisers in endgame content?
The Odyssey isn't really the best tank in terms of cruisers. And it isn't the best choice of DPS in terms of cruisers. The +1 Odyssey may indeed end up being a lot more viable, but if you're going to fly a cruiser at end-game, use a better cruiser than the free Odyssey. You'll be fine.
I am talking about Elite really though I have seen Cruisers struggle very hard with the probes and spheres on Normal KA as well.
So have I, though I'm more prone to attributing that to the skill of the pilot more than the effectiveness of their ship. A Klingon cruiser captain will typically be less likely to screw these things up than his Fed counterpart, but the former is a much rarer sight than the latter's dime a dozen.
And a good Fed cruiser captain in an STF is just as rare!