The transitions between the Excelsior and Galaxy I thought was like going from a submarine to a luxury liner,
Subs and luxury liners serve completely different purposes. As far as I can tell, both Galaxy
-class and Excelsiors
served as explorers/heavy cruisers.
Personnel serving on both Excelsior
-class ships (the latter considerably bigger than the Galaxy) vessels couldn't see out of all those windows?
That might make sense if we were discussing cephalopods. However, vertebrates seem mostly arranged by limbs, body, neck and head. The body is where the heart (power source, analogous to the warp core) is placed, the head is where the brain (analogous to the main computer and bridge on a starship) resides and the limbs/wings are pretty close, in placement and purpose, to the struts and nacelles of a starship.
Rockets (using a Newtonian principle commonly found in nature, as evidenced by any sea-going creatures which use a well-placed jet of water to escape predators) are quite real. Since Trek
starship-designs are exercises in total fantasy, I suppose one can make a head and chest analogous to an oversized saucer if one wishes.
Dreadnoughts need not squeeze through a tight gap. As the AGT-prise showed against two Negh'Var
-class ships, dreadnoughts make
the gap bigger.
I like the way the two-nacelle version as the the side profile of the saucer (which I always compare the a plane wing) isn't interrupted by another nacelle.
The side view of the Gal
class was certainly better than other elevations because it de-emphasized both the saucer's size (relative to the rest of the ship) and the relatively-thin neck section just above the secondary hull. The amount of energy wasted in structural-integrity fields, trying to hold all that together under rapid-manoeuvre situations, may well have been one reason why the far-superior Sovereign
design had no "neck".