The terrible Costa Concordia disaster—a cruise ship ran aground off the coast of Italy, killing 17 people (with 16 others still missing)—has provoked the usual panic. Tourists are cancelling bookings and not making new ones; every ship in the harbor looks like the next Titanic waiting to happen.Royal Caribbean Cruises FT has posted “first-quarter earnings per share . . . 20-60 percent lower than expectations as a result of the January 13 capsize off Italy”, and it surely won’t be the only cruise line to experience a sharp decrease in bookings and share price.Consumer nervousness is understandable. Tales of captains disporting themselves with entertainers, deserting their command, and sailing unnecessarily close to reefs and rocks are not exactly reassuring. And it’s reasonable to believe that what one captain has (allegedly) done, others might also do from time to time.But right now is probably the best time to take a cruise. Cruise ships are likely to be safer in the wake of the disaster. Companies will crack down and enforce safety. Staff will be jumpy — nobody wants to be the next internationally vilified sea captain. Fewer corners will be cut.Via Meadia‘s advice: book now. Few things are more restful than a long ocean voyage, and there are always bargains on transatlantic cruises when the cruise fleets are moving from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean (fall) or back (spring). Prices are down, and bargains are good; sometimes companies will pay your airfare to Europe to get you on board. A free flight to Rome, a nice little Italian vacation followed by a relaxing cruise back across the Atlantic, all for a bargain price. If Via Meadia had more time this spring, that’s what we’d be planning ourselves.