...Now just ramp that up to show a six-deck, 170 m ship and you have solved most of the mystery.
The other issue is how the DS9 end of things is supposed to work. There are those fancy clamps on both sides of the circular door, precluding rather than facilitating docking. It seems there has to be some telescoping action involved on the part of the space station, too. If the telescoping system is flexible enough, the question of starship docking system configurations becomes rather academic.
Indeed, we have seen a Miranda
dock bow first, even though this shape of bow cannot penetrate into the docking port "bay" at all and there is no hull opening anywhere near the bow anyway. Somehow, the station docking system is doing pretty interesting and involved grappling, even if we assume there is no personnel tube being connected and the Miranda
docks merely for stability (?), the people moving exclusively by transporter.