I grew up there and stayed at the Radisson a year ago because we hold our class reunions there. It's a very nice hotel but on cruise day, in our experience, it's too crowded. Everyone was pushing and shoving to get to the shuttles even with scheduled times. Now I heard they also shuttle cruisers from the Quality Inn so it can be even more crowded.
This past August for our trip on the Mariner we stayed at the Hampton Inn just 3 miles from the port. They offer a complimentary continental breakfast. We rented a car from Budget from the airport in Orlando and the return is located across the street from the port. They shuttled us to the port for free too and we were one of the first ones to arrive. Other cruisers staying there were using Art's shuttle for a very nominal fee.
The Comfort Inn and Suites are also about 3 miles from the port and a nice place to stay, walking distance to Ron Jon Surf Shop.
Have a wonderful time on the Mariner and be sure to check all the art work in the stairways both stern and aft.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
My dad is driving down on Christmas and often stays at Hamptons. Do you know if the Hampton will allow you to leave your car there while on the cruise? Some hotels allow this and will shuttle you to the port as long as you stay there, avoiding the $70 parking fee at the terminal.
Give the Hampton Inn a call directly. Many Cocoa Beach hotels were not re-open as yet after having suffered extensive hurricane damage. I can not recommend the Best Western. It did not have week long parking and the rooms smelled very bad of stale cigarette smoke. Do try to get to Grills on the fish pier for dinner and to watch the Disney ships and others sail out of port. Be there before 4:30 p.m. as it does get really crowded.