A motor yacht for charter through Mediterranean yacht brokers Morley Yachts, the Onassis Yacht CHRISTINA O is a legend who is celebrating her 75th birthday.
The legendary yacht CHRISTINA O is now welcoming enquiries for the 2019 yacht charter season. This luxury motor yacht for charter through central agents Morley Yachts is a one of a kind and offers a totally unique yachting experience with a story worthy of Hollywood. To cruise on the 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.
CHRISTINA O: The 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, the CHRISTINA O may be 75 years old but in 2018 she remains the undisputed grand dame of the seas.
- HMCS Stormont launched in 1943 from Canadian Vickers in Montreal as a 1724-ton frigate in the Royal Canadian Navy.
- During the Battle of the Atlantic, she was a guard and escort for merchant ships.
- She 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:
- Converted 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 Christina, after 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).
- 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.
Fall and Rise:
- 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 O, the 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 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.
- The Executive Chef, Damian Perrinel, has a Michelin-star background.
- 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.
The Key Features:
- A 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.
- Named for 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 centrepiece is the stunning fireplace, made from Lapis Lazuli, while the room also has a self-playing electric piano.
- The master suite is made up of a bedroom, sitting room and bathroom.
- Key features include a Sienna Marble fireplace and an original Renoir artwork.
- The 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.
Tenders & Toys
- The yacht has two restored Hacker-Craft tenders.
- 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.
- 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
What they’ve said:
- “CHRISTINA O, still the finest vessel on the French Riviera” Zac Posen, Fashion designer.
- “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.”
About Morley Yachts
Morley Yachts is a Mediterranean yacht brokerage with an office in the Principality of Monaco. First established in Antibes in 2005, the company was founded by Tim Morley, and offers a personal service to customers seeking to buy, sell or charter a yacht. In 2014, Tim Morley was joined by broker David Jakabovic. In addition to the sale and purchase of yachts, Morley Yachts is one of the leading companies in the sale and purchase of marina berths (leasehold) for yachts over 15m in the Mediterranean. The size of yachts it brokers ranges from around 15m to the largest in the world and its area of expertise and database of yachts extends throughout the Mediterranean and to the Caribbean and Florida.
For more information, visit www.morleyyachts.com.
Photos Credit: @Stef Bravin
Author: Chrissie McClatchie