This is unfortunately what I found as well. For whatever reason there isn't an apparent docking port. The closest thing I did find was a small detail just above the arrowhead banner:
However other pictures have that detail either missing, or it is now a lit window. I only found it on that one side, not on the other. Which begs the question, if the Travel Pod in TVH WAS going to take them to Excelsior, what would it have done? Fly into the shuttlebay? Somehow I don't think they would have expected them to pull a Dave Bowman to disembark.
On an unrelated note, I did find an aft view of Excelsior showing the glowing shuttle bay thing in TVH:
That at least canonically confirms that that feature was always there in the Excelsior.