by Apostolos Kotsambasis
Photographer: Sofia Papastrati
courtesy of: www.onassis.org
With an exclusive photo shoot for MANCODE, we invite you to the interior of the legendary yacht Christina O. Aristotle Onassis’ “headquarters” was essentially the first luxury motor yacht in history and in its cabins hosted important personalities of the time such as John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Maria Callas and the last wife of the Greek tycoon, Jackie Onassis. The unique photographs from ‘Christina O’, bring the aura of the golden era lifestyle of the jet set to today.
There was a time when the deck of the yacht “Christina” hosted the most known men/women in charge of power when the name Onassis was synonymous with power at a global level. Aristotle Onassis had guests at his parties the cream of the crop, and an invitation to “Christina” was tantamount to social advancement. Almost 100 meters long, the ‘Christina’ had luxury and technological means advanced for her time in the 1950s. The famous pool with the ancient Greek mosaic of the Minotaur had a movable floor and was transformed into a dance floor or a swimming pool, at the push of a button, depending on Aristo’s mood. At the famous Ari’s bar in 1957, the then-senator and later US President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, met for the first time on the boat, with the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
In 1968, in the same place, Onassis held the reception for his wedding with Jackie Kennedy, JFK’s widow, who, 10 years before, did not imagine that the then host would marry his wife 5 years after his assassination. The event shocked the world’s public opinion. Aristotle had reached the top. In the luxurious cabins with marble bathrooms and in the famous dining room, the leading representatives of the international jet-set were hosted from time to time. Here Onassis got along with Maria Callas, while in his company were Grace Kelly, then Princess of Monaco, Marilyn Monroe, Rudolph Nureyev, Eva Peron, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, and Frank Sinatra. “Christina” was the symbol of the port of Monte Carlo, where Onassis had his business headquarters.
“Christina” was bought by Onassis as scrap for 34,000 dollars, after the end of the Second World War. He spent 4 million dollars and turned her into one of the most modern and luxurious superyachts of that time. It accommodated 34 people and had a crew of 39, while it also had a helicopter deck. Named after his daughter, ‘Christina’ was built in 1942, her speed was 19 knots (35 miles per hour) and 99 meters long, and had 18 bedrooms. It is worth noting that, during the war, the “Christina” was a supply ship and participated in the Battle of the Atlantic in 1943, as well as the D-Day landings in Normandy in June 1944. Today, she lives again after renovation, named “Christina O”, as a tribute to him. Many of her original pieces, such as the engine, the dining room, and Onassis’ collections, have been transferred by the foundation he created and are displayed in various parts of the iconic vessel.
We thank Mr. Kostis Makropoulos for his cooperation.