I'm a commander and my cruiser I believe is good at stopping in front of a target and do what klingons do to my ship. I use dual beams and photons for fore weapons, 1 photon, 1 dual, and 1 normal beam, and rear has 1 beam, a plasma turret, and a photon. I have resiliant shields, and I try to use the best shield and hull buff's I have in combat (Rarely needed) but I can't decide if I should be a weapons platform of a warship. Really, I'd like to know if I should boost shields or weapon power. Any opinions on this?
#1: learn to broadside. Use Beam Arrays fore and aft, with maybe a torp thrown in for good measure. A broadside of 6 Beam Arrays (more if you have a Cruiser with additional weapon power boni - each ~25 weapon power over 125 allows for one additional beam to be effective) can be pretty devastating if done right.
#2: as you can already guess from the above, weapon power is terribly important if you want to be useful on a Cruiser. Set it to max, and stack what boni you can get away with: Emergency Power to Weapons is key, and later on you'll get access to the M.A.C.O. shield from STFs. Some endgame Cruisers also come with either Saucer Seperation (Galaxy Refit, Odyssey) and/or higher weapon power bonus (Regent, Odyssey, Galor, D'Kora).
#3: shield power is the second most important - set it to 50 base, and make sure you cycle Emergency Power to Shields, at as high a rank as you can. Two copies.
Btw: cycling = run two copies of the ability, so that one is active while the other is on cooldown.
50 base power + EPtS + what you can get as a bonus from skills is enough to keep your shields up and at a high resistance. Some Cruisers allow for running two copies of Transfer Shield Strenght in addition to that, making them ... pretty tough.
#4: if you don't like broadsiding with beams, you can try Single Cannons front, Turrets back - this gives you a 180? frontal fire arc where all your weapons can hit, instead of the side arcs. Only recommended on Cruisers that can actually turn fast enough, though.
#5: in any case: stick to ONE energy type. Use tactical consoles that boost that type of energy. All your tactical console slots should be filled with those, and nothing else. Don't mix.
#6: the only real good resilient shield is the M.A.C.O. one from STFs. Until you can get that, Covariant Shields are usually a better choice, giving you enough shield capacity to get out of trouble if you manage to find some. On a cruiser, you have enough ways to keep your hull healed up that some bleedthrough is rather uninteresting.
Best heals: Auxilary to Structural Integrity Field (Aux2SIF) and Hazard Emitters (HE). Aux2SIF can be cycled with a single copy and should always be running (for the hull resist effect), and at least one of your Sci BOff slots should be HE.
Try Single Cannons (3 up front) and Turrets (3 in back) with Tactical Team 1 and Cannon Scatter Volley 1 as your Tactical Powers. Mix with an Eject Warp Plasma 1 (Engineering LTC). With Attack Pattern Alpha you can boost the damage of all your powers quite nicely. Catch a bunch of enemies in Warp Plasma, come about, and cut them to ribbons with your cannons (always have your weapon power pegged at 100 if you're looking to hurt things with your guns). If you have Tactical Intiative (not 100% certain on when you get it) you'll be able to keep CSV 1 and TT 1 up a lot for situations where you need to mow down lots of ships.