The former Americal Idol finalist and 2006 Academy Award winner performed "One Night Only" and several other songs for some 200 people at the Cutting Room in Manhattan, where Carnival's senior vice president of guest operations, Mark Tamis, announced the launch of Carnival Live.
According to WebProNews, this won't be the first time Hudson will be singing on a cruise ship.
"I used to work on a cruise ship, a long time ago," said Hudson, prior to Wednesday's news conference. "That's what I did before I did 'American Idol.'"
This time, however, she is a household name and will be the headliner, which she describes as coming "full circle."
The new concert series is being announced as Carnival tries to restore its image after three ships broke down last year. Subsequent publicity reportedly depressed ticket prices and revenue.
Other performers and bands scheduled to perform in the Carnival Live series are Chicago, Daughtry, Foreigner, Gavin DeGraw, Jewel, Kansas, Lady Antebellum, LeAnn Rimes, Martina McBride, Olivia Newton-John, REO Speedwagon, STYX and Trace Adkins.
So far 49 shows are confirmed for the year. Styx will kick off the series with an April 7 show on the Fantasy in Nassau. Tickets will only be sold to individuals taking the cruise.
Tamis described it as new initiative to increase entertainment options for guests, saying "we are turning up the music," and calling Hudson "the first lady of Carnival Live."
The concerts will be held evenings when ships are in one of three ports: Cozumel, Mexico; Nassau in the Bahamas, or Catalina Island off the coast of California. The 75-minute shows will be held in ship lounges that seat 800 to 1,500 people, depending on the ship.
Tickets will be priced $20 to $40, with a $100-$150 VIP option for premium seats and a photo op with performers.
Departures for the eight ships participating in Carnival Live — Sensation, Fascination, Fantasy, Imagination, Inspiration, Paradise, Breeze and Ecstasy — will be from Los Angeles, Charleston, S.C., Miami and Tampa, Jacksonville and Port Canaveral in Florida.
To plan your trip and concert, click here.