the best ship is the ship you have most fun playing in and one which enhances your personal playing style. buy a bunch of cheap ships from the exchange and try them out. once you know go for a fleet version or better variation. even the mirror variations can be great. i would never give up my mirror qin heavy raptor.
OP, I hate to come across like this, but you need to figure out the game some more if you're asking an elementary, generic question like that. You need to figure out the basics of the game more. A personal style of play. Proper ship setup. BOFF / DOFF setup. All to get the most of your ship. And after all this, you still need to learn how it all plays once the phaser banks and torpedo tubes start firing.
There's lots of different ways to play, even within the Escort grouping of ships.
Figure the game some more, and you will never ask that question again, because you will know the right answer for yourself.
Again, figure the game out some more. Because if you're new enough to ask that kind of question, I guarantee that with more time down the road, your taste as to what the best ship is may change because you've learned more and your style will change.
Last edited by warmaker001b; 03-17-2013 at 12:37 AM.
Best fed ship for damage output and survivability is the Fleet Patrol Escort. Has the most ideal Boff layout for full cannons, and has crazy durability and survivability. Also has a very low shipyard requirement.
If there were a best Fed ship, there wouldn't be anything else anyone would flying. All three of the major types have several fundamental differences in style and utility, and while a good captain can make most of them work in a variety of roles, they are also typically what is best for that particular player, not as a whole.