Monday, September 17th, 2018

Christina O 75 Years Old and Still Chartering

Christina O

Christina O an almost legendary superyacht is celebrating her 75th birthday this year.

Christina O may be 75 years old but in 2018 she remains the undisputed grand dame of the seas and is now welcoming enquiries for the 2019 yacht charter season.

This luxury motor yacht available through Mediterranean yacht brokers Morley Yachts who act as her central agents is a one of a kind and offers a totally unique yachting experience with a story worthy of Hollywood.

Christina O Her History

In an era dominated by modern, multi-deck motor yachts, certain vessels stand out for their classic or distinctive design. Then, there are those whose enchanting history and sense of romance place them in a league of their own.

The pride of Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who acquired her for little more than scrap value in 1948 and lovingly transformed her over six years into a private yacht of unprecedented luxury,.

Wartime Service:

She was launched in 1943 from Canadian Vickers in Montreal as a 1724-ton frigate in the Royal Canadian Navy and went to war as HMCS Stormont.  During the Battle of the Atlantic, she was a guard and escort for merchant ships and witnessed the D-Day landings in Normandy.  In 1948 she was sold for scrap value ($34,000) by the Canadian Government to Aristotle Onassis.

The Onassis Era:

Onassis converted the warship into a private yacht at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft yard in Kiel, Germany at a cost of $4 million.  The refit was completed in 1954 and Onassis named her Christinaafter his daughter born in 1950.  The finest materials were sourced across Europe and used in the conversion, to ensure she became a vessel fit for Royalty.

Special features included a sea-plane stored on deck and nine tenders, including a glass-bottom boat. An incredible list of royalty, politicians and celebrities world were hosted on board, including Maria Callas (with whom Onassis enjoyed a romance), Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Eva Peron, John D Rockefeller, and the Aga Khan.

It was on-board Christina that Sir Winston Churchill first met John F Kennedy in 1957 and the yacht hosted the wedding reception of Prince Rainier III and Grace Kelly in 1956.

Onassis himself celebrated his marriage to second wife, Jackie Kennedy, on board the yacht in 1968.

Rise and Fall

On Onassis’ death in 1975, his daughter Christina inherited the yacht.

In 1978, she gifted the yacht to the Greek Government, who rechristened her Argo with the intention to transform her into the country’s Presidential yacht.

For 20 years, the yacht remained docked at Salamis, a Greek naval base off the coast of Piraeus, where she fell into a state of total disrepair.

In 1998, another Greek shipping magnate, John Paul Papanicolaou, purchased the yacht.  A three-year refit would follow between 1999 and 2001 at the Victor Lenac shipyard in Rijeka, Croatia to return her to her former glory while increasing her guest capacity. Upon completion, the yacht emerged as Christina Othe name she still bears today.

Onassis Yacht Christina O Today

Christina O is one of the few yachts classified as a passenger vessel and has the capacity to sleep 34 guests.

The Key Features of her Interior include Ari’s Bar, the legendary place where the likes of Sir Winston Churchill enjoyed a private drink.  The actual bar is made from an ancient Spanish galleon.  The bar stools are covered in leather from the foreskins of sperm whales.

The stately dining room can seat 42 guests (28 seated around the main table).

Other features include a Steinway piano. While in the Callas Lounge named after the singer Maria Callas, the walls are decorated with original memorabilia from the Onassis era. The lounge also features an original Steinway grand piano and guests can listen to the entire collection of Callas’ recordings.

The Lapis Lounge has as its centrepiece a stunning fireplace, made from Lapis Lazuli, while the room also has a self-playing electric piano.  The master suite now called the Onassis Suite is made up of a bedroom, sitting room and bathroom.  Key features include a Sienna Marble fireplace and an original Renoir artwork.

On deck, her aft-deck dance-floor is an original feature from the Onassis era. A mosaic that recreates a scene of a Minoan bull and gymnast at the Palace of Knossos on Crete, it can be lowered to form the bottom of the swimming pool.

To cruise onthe Onassis yacht Christina O is to walk the same decks and corridors as some of the world’s most illustrious names and, in doing so, add your own to a piece of yachting history.  The yacht continues to be used in the entertaining spirit Onassis intended with large deck areas, three public lounges, a spa, a gym and a Jacuzzi.

She is the perfect setting for functions such as birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and corporate events with a capacity of 157 guests cruising and 250 when static.  Her Executive Chef, Damian Perrinel, has a Michelin-star background.

Zac Posen, the fashion designer believes Christina O, to be “The finest vessel on the French Riviera.”  Tim Morley the broker  though who all charters are booked agrees and has said,“Christina O is more romantic than any other yacht I know.  The yacht offers the very best experience for larger groups, be it for family fun or celebrating a birthday, anniversary or wedding.  She has the deck space and interior accommodation that people are looking for.  There is an emotional reaction when the guests come on board, as they get the feeling of the history and the vintage romance.  In my opinion it’s probably the food that people will appreciate the most during the charters, as the Chefs are quite exceptional by any standards.  From a practical standpoint the yacht offers the chance to cruise significant distances during a charter as the yacht can relocate during the night to have guests wake up in a new bay each morning.  We have had a great summer season in 2018, and we are taking bookings now for 2019 and even 2020.”

Tenders & Toys

The yacht has two restored Hacker-Craft tenders.  Other water toys include two Zodiac RIBs, two SeaDoo Spark waverunners and a 120hp SeaDoo GTI (jetskis), Flyboard, AquaGlide inflatable slide, OBRIEN ringo, towable banana, jet board, wakeboard, water skis, paddleboards, and kayaks.

Specification

  • Length: 99.13m
  • Cruising speed of 14 knots
  • Built in 1943 by Canadian Vickers Limited in Montreal
  • Refit: 2015-17
  • Cabins: 17
  • Guests: 34
  • Crew: 38
  • Charter rate: €560,000 – €630,000

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