Chrisitna O is an iconic piece of maritime history.
By Diana Holguin
There are some lovely yachts in the world, and then there is the Christina O. She began her illustrious life as a Canadian anti-submarine frigate in 1943, and after World War II she became a surplus navy vessel. Little did anyone know that her seafaring life would make a 180 degree turn in 1954 when Greek ship owner, Aristotle Onassis, purchased her for $34,000.
Once acquired, an unprecedented investment of $4 million ($45 million today) was made towards gutting and converting the ship. Christina O became one of the most luxurious private motor yachts to ever sail the seven seas. Over the years, she hosted such distinguished guests as Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy when they first met, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, and of course, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Maria Callas, just to name a few.
The Onassis Suite retains its original fireplace, a Renoir painting and unique Baccarat light fixtures, and Ari’s Bar still has its famous bar stools covered in whale scrotum, as well as the bar handles made of whale fangs and engraved with scenes from the Odyssey. As far as luxury yachts are concerned, the Christina O outdoes any other, for if walls could speak, we can only imagine the kinds of stories and secrets they would reveal about the politicians, movie stars and other celebrated guests who reveled over the years on her decks and in each one of her 17 painstakingly decorated staterooms.
After Onassis's death in 1975, his daughter Christina bestowed the yacht to the Greek government to be used as the presidential yacht and for decades it served that purpose. In 2001, a team of experts was brought together to refurbish the yacht and bring her back to her original opulent glory. The ship has been available for charter for up to 34 guests, the ship's maximum capacity. This kind of luxury, of course, would come with spectacular meals prepared by 3 Michelin starred chef, Alfonso Iaccarino, Italian Chef of the Year in 1999.
This 325-foot classic, fitted with state of the art technology, a full spa, library, sports room and beauty salon, is available for charter. ■
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