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Christina O, the Yacht of Aristotle Onassis

Aristotle Onassis was one of the most well-known public figures in Greece, the owner of a shipping and cigarette empire and one of the richest men in Greece. Of his belongings was an entire apartment building in New York, a Greek national airline, and the Greek island of Skorpios. 

 

Perhaps his best known possession was his yacht Christina O, one of the most glamorous private yachts ever built. This was his private palace where he threw parties for the rich and famous.

Compass Deck | © Morley Yachts

History of Christina O

The boat was originally in the Canadian Navy and was built in 1943. It was a part of the Normandy landings and eventually Onassis bought Christina O in 1952 with 9 other ships from a Baltimore scrap merchant.

Obviously, Aristotle Onassis turned the former warship into a luxury yacht. Ex-King Farouk of Egypt, who was on board Christina O many times, and was known for his luxurious lifestyle, once called the yacht “the height of opulence.”

Aerial View of Christina O | © Morley Yachts

Suites on Board

Each suite on the boat was named after a different island in Greece. For example, the Santorini, Mykonos, Lesbos, Andros, Crete, Rhodes and Corfu suites hosted the guests. Each room had custom wood and stone work with materials from the Greek islands. 

 

The most impressive suite was without a doubt the suite of Onassis. It had 3 rooms – the stateroom, the office, and a luxurious custom bathroom.

Onassis Suite | © Morley Yachts

Ari’s Bar

One of the most popular areas for guests was Ari’s Bar, with special seats covered with whale skins. The footrests had whales’ teeth and ivory armrests that showed scenes from the Iliad and the Odyssey, Onassis’ favorite books.

 

In Onassis’s days, inside the boat was an elevator, an operating theater, and a network of 42 telephone lines.

Ari's Bar | © Morley Yachts

Famous Visitors

Among the guests on the boat were Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli and Rudolf Nureyev. Heads of state and famous businessmen to come on the boat include: John Kennedy and Sir Winston Churchill, the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, Paul Getty, Prince Rainier and Princess Grace. 

 

Winston Churchill famously visited many times, and Onassis gave up his own suite whenever Churchill visited, something he didn’t do for anyone else. Churchill joined for 8 cruises in total. 

Liz Taylor & Richard Burton on Christina O | © Morley Yachts

Christina O Capacity

According to Morley Yachts, Christina O can take up to 34 guests on board in 17 staterooms. At anchor, it can hold 157 guests or for short cruises, so she is ideal for cocktail events or dancing. The most popular place to dance is on the jacuzzi deck, because of the outdoor bar. The dining room has space for 40 people and the biggest suite is now called “the Onassis Suite.”

 

Perhaps the most famous part of the boat is the restored swimming pool, which comes complete with a minotaur mosaic and can turn into a dance floor. 

Pool / Dance Floor with Minoan Art Mosaic | © Morley Yachts

Christina O Legacy

Christina O is somewhat of an international symbol for Onassis, who used the yacht as a business tool. Today, the boat is still famous. Netflix TV show The Crown features a fleet of yachts in Season 5 Episode 1, and Christina O is part of the fleet along with the Royal Yacht Britannia.

How to Charter Christina O

Christina O is available for chartering. The current broker for the yacht is Morley Yachts, who offer charters here.

Christina O At Night | © Morley Yachts

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