LONG BEFORE IV was released there was fan talk of the excelsior, but by the month or two months before the movie was released materials started coming out. Interviews on TV, magazines, ect that left it very clear that the ship would be the same.
You didn't have to look for spoilers, to discover that.
But of course it's like Trek II, I didn't know the ship got destroyed until the ads ruined it.
Say what you will with the reboot Trek, and its far superior in keeping some things from fans.