His hospitality was renowned, his attraction mythical, his prowess unstoppable, his power formidable, his lot of money unsurpassed. In 1954 Aristotle Socrates Onassis created the best yacht of all, Christina. Named after his beloved child, she was a modern, 325-foot, shimmering-white masterpiece proudly exhibiting the Onassis signature, the yellowish funnel. 4 million, into the largest, modern, and most exalted yacht of her era. CHRISTINA O became his floating mansion and headquarters for over 2 decades until his death in 1975. Onassis’ guests on board the yacht were some of the most famous and influential people of the time.
At night time, CHRISTINA O offered as the stage for Onassis’ celebrated social life, as he played web host to Perfect and Presidents Ministers, film and royalty stars. Churchill was a frequent guest and he didn’t care for the diva Maria Callas. Whether he is at Monaco or at Skorpios, his private Greek island, Onassis’ real home was Christina.
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His first wife, shipping heiress Tina Livanos, said, “The yacht is his real enthusiasm. At the time of Onassis’ loss of life in 1975, the ship was turned over to his daughter and only heir, Christina. She donated the vessel to the Greek authorities for use as the presidential yacht in 1978. Sadly, the Argo (as the Greek Federal government renamed her) was little used and eventually fell into despair.
16 million. Interested parties surfaced, but it appeared no one was prepared to pay that amount for what would obviously end up charging much more through the refit stage. 220,000 deposit check bounced-and the yacht continuing to languish. All had not been lost, however. In 1998 John Paul Papanicolaou, a Greek nationwide in the delivery business and a vintage friend of the Onassis family who got cruising aboard the yacht as a kid, guaranteed the yacht at a new government-sponsored public sale.
He made it his goal to restore Christina in a way that could have awed Onassis himself, renaming her Christina O as a tribute. Embarking on the most comprehensive refit project ever launched Proudly, and using his considerable knowledge and delivery background, Papanicolaou set up a gifted team of experts. Naval architect Costas Carabelas spearheaded the group. Interior construction and architecture were done by Apostolos Molindris and Decon, respectively.
The refit work was executed by Viktor Lenac, a Croatian shipyard. A significant priority was improving the physical integrity of the yacht and re-powering her. Upgrading systems and reconfiguring her interior were key also. The original survey showed that 65 tons of steel in the hull would have to be replaced.
When she was devoted dry dock, it turned out to be 560 lots actually. Fifty-six miles of new wiring and 140 tons of pipe work were replaced. 50 million. Now she was ready for charter and cruises for a special worldwide clientele. Around the technical front, to boost her efficiency, the original 1943 vapor engines and boilers were removed. Two new MAN diesel engines and three-MAN lenses were installed. This change exposed a cavernous space in the center of the yacht, how big is a three-story NY brownstone.
New accommodations were added. The middle deck houses a banquet-size, split-level, formal dining area that seats up to 40 guests. Its Baccarat wall structure lamps are original. As with Onassis, only the best is available: The porcelain service is by Bernardaud of Limoges, Waterford crystal by Rochas, and silverware by St and Ercuis. Hilaire of Paris. Alongside the dining hall is a raised-music room with grand piano and a pair of conversation areas. A collection is included because of it of Maria Callas memorabilia, including the only Silver Record that was granted to her ever.
On the primary deck there is a new gym, and for guests in need of a bit more pampering, there are a new massage beauty and room salon. The Italian master Renzo Romagnoli created the new Sports Lounge, featuring Onassis’ original sextant wall lamps and gaming tables with large, comfortable seating. New visitor and service elevators were installed for efficient blood circulation onboard. Much of the splendor Onassis created has been retained.
Spanning her substantial stern is the open pool deck where opera diva Maria Callas liked to relax during her tumultuous romantic relationship with Onassis. Its centerpiece is the bronze-bordered pool inlaid with Mosaic frescoes of ancient Crete. Towards the delight of the guests, at the drive of the button, underneath boosts to the deck level, becoming an instant dance floor.