It was the preferred place to be seen by the world’s luminaries – sitting on Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis’ 325-foot-long yacht with his wife Jackie Kennedy Onassis – hobnobbing with the world’s richest and most connected and with each other.
Many of the 20th Century’s most famous figures were on the vessel – the Christina, named for Onassis’ daughter – including Winston Churchill, ballerina Margot Fonteyn, John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and the great opera singer Maria Callas, infamously dumped by Onassis who preferred scooping up Jackie O to stick it to the Americans.
The wedding reception of Monaco’s Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly was held on board the grand ship that has 17 staterooms, a dining room for 40 people and a swimming pool that can be converted into a dance floor, and the Onassis Suite, which has a hot tub.
With Greece on a record run of tourism seasons and high-end super-luxury resorts being built to accommodate the uber-rich, the yacht is up for rent, if you can swing the fancy price tag too, starting at 80,000 euros ($89,836) – a day – or 560,000-700,000 euros ($628,852-$786,056) a week depending on which season you prefer – billionaires prefer Greek islands in the summer.
The rates don’t include the 20,000 euro ($22,459) security deposit or APA (Advanced Provisioning Account) fee, which goes towards the yacht’s extras such as fuel, food and drink) according to Valef Yachts, a Greece-founded company with offices in the United States.
The vessel is in high demand for special events like Cannes Film Festival or Formula One, a representative for Valef told CNN Travel which previously reported the yacht was sold in 2013 for the asking price of $32 million.
Christina O “is for charter all over the Mediterranean in the summer season, and in the winter she charters in the Caribbean,” Kassandra Lefakinis of Valef Yachts told Barron’s.
The Christina O was bought from the Canadian government by Onassis, in 1954. It was renamed “Christina O” by another owner following Onassis’ death and has amenities you just can’t buy or top almost anywhere, including a library and piano.
The interiors are primarily pale and muted colors, with the notable exception of the cobalt-blue elements on the stunning spiral staircase, the report said, making it more of a floating palace and playground that just for sailing around the Aegean or Mediterranean or Ionian.
During the decades he owned it, the ship became Onassis’ de facto residence, headquarters, and vacation home, until his death in 1975 before being donated by his daughter (now deceased) to the Greek government in 1978.
It was bought by a family friend who restored it and added updates, keeping it fit for a king, tycoon, or media, social media, and Internet magnates. It can accommodate 34 people for overnight stays or 250 for a party and has a crew of 38, jacuzzi, fitness lounge with therapists, two massage rooms, a beautify parlor, dance floor, central atrium and bar.
“I don’t think there is a man or woman on earth who would not be seduced by the pure narcissism shamelessly flaunted on this boat,” Richard Burton famously said. “I have found that to be so,” the Telegraph reported.
When he described the Christina O himself, Onassis – who could afford to say and do what he wanted and be accountable to no one – would often tell women aboard: “Madame, You are sitting on the largest p—s in the world,” Town and Country said. Talk about being blunt.