I agree that eliminating middle management is also a great way to cut costs and the similarities are as you described.
I have to say I am a little surprised they would cut Lisa Bauer. Now, I really love Vicki Freed, but she is a Joanie come lately to the RCL party. Plus, you never really hear that much from her, whereas Lisa was at the forefront of design options for Oasis, etc.
But Vicki's focus is on travel agents. Just maybe cruise ship design has "peaked out" in many cases, and the focus going forward will be on selling cruises, not so much designing ships.
It feels like maybe they have run out of (affordable) ideas for new ships and the new thing is only building more of the same (Carnival has been doing basically that for 10 years, just upping the size). And Celebrity does not need any more ships right now. Princess have also all been the same for over a decade now - just getting bigger but no huge design changes.
BUT - all that is assuming the retirements are coming from the cruise line side. What if they are quitting, not being fired? Didja think of that? Maybe it is that bonuses are not what they used to be. Maybe they have had too many years of no "performance" bonuses because the stock prices have been languishing? Maybe its because they know something we don't know - like that the new rules for fuel and (possibly - though I doubt it) taxation will eat cruise line profits like crazy.
Maybe we are in for a real cruise recession where they really can't fill ships and have to scrap half of them. Ugh - that would be ugly.