The Christina O

Yesterday while driving towards Monaco we came across The Christina O in all her pride and glory… she stood out between all the other boats around her even though they were much bigger…. She was  truly magnificent …. I must admit that I was a little bit too excited and asked my husband to stop the car so I could take this picture

Christina O was originally a Canadian River- class frigate and was launched in 1943. She served as a convoy escort during the battle of the Atlantic in World War II. After the war the Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis bought her for just $34,000 …. He spent $4 million (equivalent to $ 45 million today) to convert her into a luxurious yacht and renamed her Christina after his daughter. She was designed by Cäsar Pinnau and the children’s room was designed and painted by the illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans.

The Christina was Onassis’s pride and joy…..His first wife, shipping heiress Tina Livanos, said, “The yacht is his real passion. He is like a housewife fussing over it, constantly looking to see that everything is impeccable.” ……..A crew member once explained, “You could smash up a $20,000 speedboat into pieces and not a word would be said, but spit on the Christina’s deck, and you were out of a job.”.

Onassis entertained a lot on the Christina … so many events happened on board that defined 3 decades of the very essence of the Jet Society…… 

During the 50s Onassis regularly entertained celebrities including Frank Sinatra, The Aga Kahn, John Paul Getty, John D Rockefeller, Eva Peron, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolf Nureyev, John Wayne, Greta Garbo and Dame Margot Fonteyn.

John F Kennedy was first introduced to Sir Winston Churchill on the Christina…… In 1956 the private wedding reception of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace took place on board.

 Aristotle Onassis and Sir Winston Churchill in the yacht’s swimming pool. It doubled as a dance floor – Onassis’ party trick was to flood it while people were still dancing.

For nearly 9 years the Christina was a stage to one of the world most famous love affairs …. Aristotle Onassis and Maria Callas ( the ultimate Diva and one of my style icons)

One of my favorite pictures of the couple … They looked so happy together!

In 1968 Onassis married Jackie Kennedy on board of the Christina at his private island of Scorpios…. The Christina from then on entertained a new generation: the Kennedy children ofcourse, as well as dignitaries from both sides of the Atlantic.

Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis at their wedding reception on board the Christina. ( Jackie’s dress was by Valentino)

When Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, he left the yacht to his daughter, who gave it to the Greek government for use as a presidential yacht. The Christina was renamed The Argo but was left to decay in a port in Greece until finally in 1998 was purchased by Greek shipowner John Paul Papanicolaou (who had sailed on her as a child). He changed her name to Christina O and undertook a major refurbishment between January 1999 and April 2001. In 2006 she became available to charter at between 45,000 and 65,000 Euros per day.

Christina O has a master suite, eighteen passenger staterooms, and numerous indoor and outdoor living areas, all connected by a spiral staircase. Compared to a typical 21st-century super yacht, the staterooms are relatively small and Christina O doesn’t have an indoor boat storage that is now standard for all sorts of boy toys; but on the other hand, the number of living areas are quite large, and the outdoor deck space is large. The main deck has an outdoor pool with a mosaic floor (with ancient Greek design) that rises at a push of a button to form a dance floor, and there is a heli-plad on the promenade deck. In Ari’s Bar, the barstools retain the original upholstery made from a very soft, fine leather made from the foreskin of a Minke Whale.

Here are a few photos I’ve found of the old interior

For more information: Christina O.

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