I like iCloud/Apple email, and have been using for many years, back long before iCloud was a thing. It is my primary email account. If you are reasonably sure you'll keep using Apple stuff, it's awesome for it's tighter integration with Apple's other services and apps.,
BTW, you do not lose it by not using Apple stuff, it just looks a bit odd; like putting a Dodge Ram hood ornament on your Chevy pickup. It's a standard IMAP account that can be used with most email clients. Not just Apple Mail. The account does not require a registered Apple device to work. (to the best of my knowledge)
I also have gmail and Yahoo. I don't recommend Yahoo. I had a pretty bad reputation for problems a few years back, and while nothing much has popped up on the news or forum recently, I suspect it is because very few people use them anymore. I'm not sure why I still have it in my Mail app, other than habit.
Gmail is a good, reliable service. I use Google for a quite a few things. Mostly when I need to cooperate with others who use Google's apps. If it weren't for the inherent conflict between their business model and customer privacy I'd feel better, but I'm not enough bothered by it to stop using their services when they are more convenient.
If I were forced to give up my Apple email account, I'd probably switch my primary account to a Microsoft version of email. I have an Office 365 account (for much the same reason I use Google apps), so it would't be to much of a leap.