Those who charter Christina O join a roster of passengers who have included John F. Kennedy, the Aga Khan, Winston Churchill, Maria Callas, Rudolph Nureyev, J. Paul Getty, Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, and King Farouk. Built in 1943 by Canadian Vickers as an Atlantic convoy escort, she was converted into a pleasure yacht by shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1954. Onassis cruised extensively and invited an array of tycoons, heads of state, and entertainment industry stars to join him. Such onboard galas as the wedding reception for Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly and the celebration following the nuptials of Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy only enhanced the yacht’s reputation as its era’s premier floating party palace.
When Onassis died in 1975, the yacht passed on to her namesake, Aristotle’s daughter, Christina. She donated the yacht to the Greek government in 1978, but it subsequently fell into disrepair. A consortium of investors acquired the then-derelict yacht in 1998 and spent $50 million rebuilding her. With the suffix O added to her name, she began hosting charter passengers in the Mediterranean in 2001.
At 325 feet long and with accommodations for 36 guests in 18 cabins and vast interior and exterior spaces, Christina O may not be the best option for a honeymoon couple seeking an intimate charter experience, but it is ideal for a large family reunion or even a corporate retreat; the dining room seats 24 at one table. In Ari’s Bar are the seats that prompted Aristotle Onassis to ask Gina Lollobrigida (and probably many other comely female guests), “Madame, do you realize you are sitting on the world’s largest penis?” Those bar stools, covered with the foreskin of sperm whale penises, remain in place, as does the swimming pool with the mosaic bottom that rises to become a dance floor.
Our charter route took us from one Greek island to another, from Corfu through the Corinth Canal to the Saronic Gulf and on to the Cyclades. As most cruise ships do, Christina O sailed at night and reached a new island by morning, enabling us to spend the days visiting the ruins at Delphi, riding donkeys on Hydra, sightseeing in Santorini, and meandering through Mykonos.
When you arrive on any of these islands, in one of the vessel’s HackerCrafts, you might want to don your darkest sunglasses. Paparazzi constantly trail Christina O, for after $50 million worth of nips and tucks, she has regained her beauty and reclaimed her star status.
Yachting Partners International
from about $58,000 per day