Been using Cubase for 5 years, I think. Started with a bundled in version, I got with my first Audio Interface a 'Tascam US-144MKII' (still use it as a little demo set up in my living room, recording to Audacity). Tried a few other DAWs, Cubase felt the most intuitive to use.
Upgraded to Artist, after 3-4 months and finally upgraded to Pro a year and a half ago. Currently using 8.5. Like other posters, I use UAD, some Waves plugins - I'm really impressed and enjoying playing with with iZotope plugins.