Like almost everything on a boat, a centerboard
compromise, trading a benefit here for a different benefit there.
In the case of the centerboard you are trading some performance and adding some additional gear
to deal with to get a more shallow draft
and upwind performance better than a shallow draft
boat without a centerboard.
Well constructed and inspected and maintained a centerboard I think is perfectly safe and acceptable on a cruiser.
A centerboard boat definitely points better with the board down. Theoretically you can also pick up some speed downwind since the smaller keel of a centerboard design has a lower wetted surface area than a similar keel design.