In St. Thomas, the Haven Site mall is directly across from the cruise ship's dock. There are plenty of shops there and you just walk across the street. Very easy to so. Down town is not very far and is worth taking a cab to.
both ports are very safe for shopping.
St. Thomas - Havensight Mall- your ship will dock within walking distance of this mall. You can also take a cab into downtown Charlotte-Amalie to shop.
St. Maarten - take the water ferry from the pier into downtown on the Dutch side and just walk around. Or you can take a cab over to the French side and walk around.
BTW - For both ports, the taxi's are quite reasonable. St Thomas is $3 or $4 one way, the water taxi in St Maarten is $5 or 6 for an all day wrist band.
The shops right off the ship for both ports are mostly a sampling of the biggest stores downtown. As your daughter's 9, she'll most likely enjoy the trinkets and local jewelry items (and don't forget the DelSol stores that are at EVERY port in the world it seems ). I like downtown St Thomas for picking up things for my niece and nephew - pirate themed kids stuff, kids books, better selection of souvieniers/t-shirts/etc
IMHO, I would think both ports are considered safe to shop, just always be aware of your surroundings like you would in any busy shopping area and be sure to have your daughter stay right with you and not run off, just some common sense.
I like the mall in St. Thomas, lots of nice shops and right next to the port, no need to take a taxi into downtown. Same with St. Maarten, nice shopping close to the pier as well.
off Main Street between Post Office Alley and Hibiscus Alley, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
SS Norway (12 times) '85 - '97; Radiance OS 06/01; Island Princess 11/04, Grand Princess 11/04/05, Golden Princess 7/21/06, Golden Princess 2/24/07, Explorer of the Seas 12/23/07, Island Princess 11/15/08
In St. Maarten, there is a water taxi at the end of the pier ($5 per person round trip), that takes you to the downtown shopping area, a 5 minute ride, which is very clean and has nice shops (expensive and very inexpensive). I took my grandson shopping there and felt perfectly safe. In St. Thomas, don't even bother taking a taxi into town, the Havensight Mall at the pier has plenty of nice shops (including a pharmacy where I always pick up bottled water to bring back on board).
Havensight St Thomas has everything from souveniers to expensive items & is in walking distance from ship--appears very safe--no need to hassle traffic Plenty of time to takes a ship's excursion to see thebeauty of St Thomas & then shop...
The water taxi was really easy in St Martin--even for solo travelers...just stay on the main shopping street--too many stores to choose from. Got nice gold jewelry there for a good price Also some cute eateries....