It is now possible to charter the luxurious yacht of Aristotle Onassis. Greek shipping magnate Onassis and his wife, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, enjoyed a lifestyle in the late 1960s that was endlessly talked about, particularly when gossip columnists speculated on life aboard the couple’s 325-foot-long yacht. After Onassis’s death, the yacht, Christina O, had a life of its own, and now, following a huge restoration, it is available for people to charter–for $100,000 per day during the summer.
“It was once the most exclusive bar in the world, where stellar fame and fortune gathered by invitation only,” according to The Telegraph.
In Onassis’s lifetime the yacht was referred to as a “floating palace,” and among its guests were Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo, and Princess Grace of Monaco. It was also where Jackie and Onassis held their wedding reception in October 1968.
“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 reportedly said. “I have found that to be so.”
The Christina O can today fit up to 36 guests in 19 staterooms, according to Valef Yachts. It “is for charter all over the Mediterranean in the summer season and in the winter she charters in the Caribbean,” said Kassandra Lefakinis of Valef Yachts. It comes with a crew of 38 and features a saltwater swimming pool, jacuzzi, library, a fitness lounge (with therapists included), two massage rooms and a beauty parlor, a dance floor, a central atrium, and a bar, said the Robb Report.
Onassis bought the vessel as naval scrap for $34,000 after World War Two. He then spent at least $5 million improving it, and named it after his daughter, Christina, from his first marriage. As well as being a floating party for the A-list, the yacht was where Onassis conducted much of his business.
He had a net worth of $500 million at the time of his death. In 2003, when his granddaughter, Athina Onassis Roussel Athina Onassis Roussel, turned 18, she inherited one of the world’s most renowned shipping empires. The media suggested that Athina’s inheritance, held in trust since her mother, Christina, passed away in 1988, was then worth as much as $3 billion. She inherited luxury real estate in London, Paris, and St. Moritz as well as the Greek island of Skorpios.
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According to The Telegraph, “He was a compulsive wheeler and dealer… For Onassis, corporate empire-building eventually became a game. He said, ‘After a certain point, money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts.’ ”
Onassis was for years involved with the opera star Maria Callas, but he married a much younger Jacqueline Kennedy, “the world’s most beloved widow,” which horrified some of her admirers. “The gods are weeping,” said The Washington Post. A German newspaper announced: “America has lost a saint.”
The former first lady would later say that Onassis “rescued me at a moment when my life was engulfed in shadows.” In 1973, Onassis’s son, Alexander, perished in a plane crash. From then on, his health fell apart, and in 1975, he died of respiratory failure. His widow received $10 million, although the amount is disputed.
Onassis’s daughter inherited the yacht, but she donated it to the Greek government. It fell into decay before being sold in auction to another Greek shipping magnate, John Paul Papanicolaou. He reportedly spent $50 million to restore it to its former glory.
Barrons said, “When guests are ready to leave the vessel, there is a hydraulic swim platform, two Sea-Doo Spark jet skis, a hoverboard, and a flyboard. There are also two Hacker-Craft passenger boats, which each carry eight passengers.” All aboard for anybody who wishes to charter the history and luxury of Aristotle Onassis’ legendary yacht.
Nancy Bilyeau, a former staff editor at Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and InStyle, has written a trilogy of historical thrillers for Touchstone Books. Her new book, The Blue, is a spy story set in the 18th-century porcelain world. For more information, go to www.nancybilyeau.com