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$750K a Week to Sail or Party on Onassis’ Legendary Yacht

Onassis yacht
Christina O sailing the Aegean Credit: Stef Bravin, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

$750,000 will purchase a week’s worth of cruising — or partying — on Aristotle Onassis’ legendary luxury yacht Christina.

Set for cruising the Mediterranean this summer, the vessel, now known as Christina O, can accommodate 34 passengers. Morley Yachts handles chartering for the ship, which was once owned by the Greek tycoon.

The luxury yacht can be chartered for an event or travel. The Christina O can host up to 157 at sea. Docked, the vessel can host events for up to 250 people.

Onassis Creates Myth Through Luxury

Perhaps Christina O’s most interesting feature is the ship’s legendary guest list. Prominent politicians, businessmen, and Hollywood actors traveled on the Onassis yacht. The notables were Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy, Rainier III Prince of Monaco, Grace Kelly, J. Paul Getty, Rudolf Nureyev, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Maria Callas.

Those who board the Christina O this summer can contemplate the mystique of the VIPs partial to Onassis’ hospitality. But they can also help themselves to the modern amenities on board such as the beauty spa, a children’s play room, a sports lounge, fitness center and a pool that transforms into a dance floor.

Beast Becomes Beauty

The yacht was originally a frigate in the Canadian Navy used in World War II. Onassis bought the vessel in 1954 for $4 million, when it was decommissioned.

The 325-foot vessel, which morphed from frigate to luxury palace, is ranked the 45th largest yacht in the world. The Christina O is comprised of 18 passenger staterooms including a master suite and many indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Through a complete refurbishment and repowering of the vessel, originally launched in 1943, the intent was to keep the image of the former ship with its original external splendor and internal luxury.

The original conversion made full use of the Navy ship’s size and powerful naval engineering systems to create large, ornate interiors and elaborate luxuries, such as a mosaic swimming pool that drained and can be raised up to deck level to become a dance floor.

The Christina O set a new standard for lavish personal yachts, especially as she was rebuilt amidst the austerity of post-war Europe.

While Onassis sailed on the yacht, the library was full of works by Greek classical authors, while the bar stools were covered with white whale skin.

The Greek shipping magnate kept a four-room suite, with a blue Siena marble bathtub, imitating a bath from a Minoan palace. The walls were covered with Venetian mirrors. Each suite was named after a Greek island. The most distinguished guests always stayed in the “Ithaca” stateroom.

Onassis left the yacht to Christina

When Onassis died, he left the yacht to his only surviving child, Christina Onassis. She donated the yacht to the Greek state to be used as a presidential yacht. The storied ship was renamed Argo by the Greek government at the time, but sadly it was soon abandoned and was left to rust.

In 1998, Greek shipowner John Paul Papanicolaou, a friend of the Onassis family, bought it and renamed it, adding the “O” to the original name of the ship. Papanicolaou refurbished the vessel from 1999 to 2001, spending over $50 million, according to reports at the time.


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