I was thinking on the currency front we wouldn't need much, we'll want to get DD something nice, but we won't be buying for the rest of the family, except for my PIL who will be looking after DD and the dog while we're away.
I might cut it to £400, which will be easier to save up anyway.
We have a day in Bergen, which might involve a bit more shopping , but the other days, you're right we'll be in small villages with lovely scenery, but not much in the was of shops and tourist attractions.
Yes, it was nice. Like all older ships, she's a bit tired in places. But she's clean and very friendly.
Norway is absolutely stunning. We went last year with Cruise & Maritime on the Ocean Countess. Depending on your itinerary, the only excursion I would recommend you might want to consider is the Flam Railway. You may also find that some of your ports of call may be quite small villages so there may not be a lot to do. But cruising around the fjords is amazing.
I'm afraid you won't find water coolers. I've been looking through the Fred Olsen brochure for next year and also on their website and I can't find mention of a soft drinks package. I'd be a bit surprised if they didn't offer one as most companies do these days. Enquire in one of the bars as soon as you can and also ask if bottled water is included (I have a feeling it might not be). Having said that, water is certainly available at meal times and I would think also in the bars at other times (other than bottled I mean). If you don't ask, you don't get.
Jeans are absolutely fine during the day. The dress code only applies in the evenings, generally from 6.00pm onwards. The only day time restriction is no swimwear in the bars / restaurants.
Zombie and DZH did an 18 night cruise on Boudicca about 18 months ago. It was fab.
The dress code isn't strictly enforced although most people do make the effort. Also there's a lot of scope as to what is and isn't formal / semi-formal.
Duty free booze and tobacco on board are a real bargain. But, you can't collect your purchases until the end of the trip. If there's a soft drinks package on offer it's probably worth getting if you're likely to want more than a couple of juices (free with meals usually but not in the bars) or sodas per day.
Late every evening a newsletter with all of the next day's activities and a port guide (if you're going to be in port the next day) will be delivered to your cabin. That really helps you plan your days.
Excursions can be expensive. We normally just wander around whatever port we're in on our own. If where the ship is docked is some distance from the town centre, free courtesy coaches are normally provided.