The cruise ships generally moor at the new-ish cruise port, from where you can get a taxi or water taxi to Philipsburg very easily.
This is an island of two nations – Philipsburg is the capital of St Maarten and is Dutch, with Marigot the capital of St Martin – the other side of the island – which is French. Philipsburg is a shopping paradise where there are almost always deals to be done, particularly on electronics. It’s still pretty though, with a lovely beach area where family members who can’t face yet more shops, can wait happily for the one waving the credit card! Taxis are available to Marigot – both in the cruise port and at the pier where you get off the water taxi. Marigot is reputed to be very chic and very french where duty free shopping definitely isn’t the focus! The famous Orient Beach is also on the French side – again, taxis available from the port.