Yes, absolutely a surprise for me. I remember there be much discussion about what would happen to the ex-Enterprise crew. As has been mentioned, some thought that--as in the DC Comics version--Kirk and Crew would be assigned to Excelsior.
"Canon is only important to certain people because they have to cling to their knowledge of the minutiae. Open your mind! Be a Star Trek fan and open your mind and say, 'Where does Star Trek want to take me now'." - Leonard Nimoy