By far the best way to go if sailing from Port Canaveral. We have sailed out of Port Canaveral several times and got it figured out. Fly into Orlando the night before the cruise, ( our airfare was much lower versus flying in the morning of the cruise ) stay at one of the many Orlando airport hotels, ( all of them have free shuttle to the hotel from the airport (we chose Holiday Inn Express which was very nice and had a free hot breakfast buffet all for only $79 + tax) use a shuttle service that actually picks up at hotels ( we only found a few of them that offer that service, and we chose Tropicana Transportation and glad we did) also if you are flying back home the day the cruise comes back, book a flight around 12 noon, but not before 11:30am for sure.
The schedule on our cruise papers was wrong though. It said the ship comes back in at 8am. The ships come back in the middle of the night around 4 or 5am and starts unloading at 7am and cleared by 10am. That is information from a crew member that says that is the schedule for all ships that sail out of Port Canaveral and has been the case every time we have cruised out of there. We were also surprised on how smooth the process was. It took us just shy of 35 mins to get off the ship and be at the shuttle pick up area.
Renting a car is too much of a hassle and can turn out expensive in the end. The buses at the airport are a joke and cost MORE than shuttle service. (waiting in line for a hour just to board then wait again for another 30 mins before it even moves? NO thank you)
We found our plan to be the best and we hope this helps many.