I remember reading in Phil Farrand's old Nitpicker's Guide how he felt that it would be inconceivable that Riker, Geordi and Data would still be serving with Picard during wartime. I agree with him, but obviously within the confines of the episode's production, that wasn't going to happen.
And I also agree with Christopher that the Enterprise-D of this timeline should have looked radically different. But since they were barely able to even get the budget to built the Ent-C model, there was no way they'd built an alternate Ent-D. But that would have been quite cool