Hi J and S, welcome to Cruise-Chat. Not sure about the refitting part, but the Sea Princess is absolutely fantastic. She's my favorite ship from the fleet so far. We've sailed her twice and she's always been in perfect shape. She already has the Movies Under the Stars, so if they're refitting her, it's probably to add the International Cafe and Vins. I hope they still have the Rondezvous Lounge on her, that was our favorite spot to meet before dinner. It was right outside the art gallery and the photo shop. She's not too big and not too small. Very easy to get around. And both times we sailed her, the food was marvelous. We usually budget $100/pp per day for shore trips, they'll let you use your ship card for the casino, but I'd bring $100-200/day for that. You really don't need much cash, you put everything on your ship card that you secure with a credit card. They will add gratuities that were $10/pp per day, but I think they're $10.50 or $11/pp now (can't remember). The staff earns every cent and then some. We normally tip extra to those that go out of their way for us, too. Bartenders, bar staff, casino staff, etc. But you don't have to. If you use room service, $2-3/tip per delivery is normally what we leave. You can also add it to your receipt. I hope you love her as much as we do, she's a great ship. Best wishes!
You can use a bank card, but be aware that they will put a hold on your account. You can call Princess to find out how much they will hold against your bank account. You can also settle your bill on board with cash, but there will probably still be a hold for a nominal amount on your bank card. We have cruised many times in October and have had absolutely perfect weather. There is always a possibility of a hurricane, if it does happen, they will reroute the ship to stay clear of danger. Sometimes they will reverse the ports of call, sometimes they will divert to another port. The safety and comfort of their passengers are always top priority, so not to worry.
where the ship docks at St Maarten and if this is close to Maho
You dock a little south of Philipsburg and it is best to take the water taxi from the pier to the town. If you look at this map you'll see that Maho is about 7 miles west of town. I don't know how much it would cost to take a cab there and back.
J and S, also, please look a little further down on the main page. There's a Caribbean Port Chat section, with tons of posts on your ports of call. You can use the "Find" feature in your upper left hand corner and type in your ports. It will pull up all the posts made about them. I'm not sure about the cab fares on St. Maarten to Maho, either. They charged us $18 to go to Orient the last time we were there.