|Subject: Alaskin cruises|
Keep in mind that L.A. is not the only option for starting out. There are also direct flights from Syndey to San Francisco and Vancouver. Since they will have plenty of time, perhaps book a flight through Hawaii and they can spend a couple of days there before moving on?
There are any number of types of cruises in Alaska, from the giant Carnival/Celebrity type ships down to small casual or educational ships like World Explorer or Cruise West. You'll want to determine the kind experience they are interested in first.
Good luck with the planning, I think it's wonderful!
Michele Oakland, CA