25: Christina O

Christina O once was a Canadian River class frigate called HMCS Stormont. Commandeered to serve in World War II, the vessel witnessed the D-Day landings before languishing as a navy surplus vessel. Aristotle Onassis purchased the hull in 1954 for $34,000, and his $4-million refit initiated a popular trend in conversion.
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Christina O (Ex-Christina, HCMS Stormont)

LENGTH: 325ft. 3in. (99.15m)
SHIPYARD: Canadian Vickers, Canada
YEAR: 1943

Christina O once was a Canadian River class frigate called HMCS Stormont. Commandeered to serve in World War II, the vessel witnessed the D-Day landings before languishing as a navy surplus vessel. Aristotle Onassis purchased the hull in 1954 for $34,000, and his $4-million refit initiated a popular trend in conversion. During his life, Christina starred as one of the most famous society venues of the mid-20th century, hosting illustrious celebrities of the time, including the glamorous Maria Callas. Her affair with Onassis heated the social pages until he married Jackie, the former Mrs. Kennedy. The yacht even hosted the wedding reception of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly. After her father’s death, Christina Onassis donated the yacht to the Greek government and, left without proper care, the yacht quickly deteriorated. In 1998, John Paul Papanicolaou, an Onassis family friend, and a group of investors purchased the yacht from the Greek government and set out to bring her back to life. After a substantial investment, the classic yacht was ready for a new public life. She became one of the most exclusive and expensive yachts available on the charter market. As a nod to Christina’s past and to entice opera lovers, her charter company offered a special program called The Maria Callas Experience during select Med charters. Sopranos helped revive some of the yacht’s romance by singing arias from the ravishing operatic diva’s repertoire. Naturally, having such a connection with music, the yacht has a lovely music room with a Steinway Piano once played by Frank Sinatra. In 2011, the refit shipyard H2X in La Ciotat, was honored by a visit from the illustrious yacht, which spent a few months there undergoing the latest update. Currently, Christina O is docked in London and available for tours and private lavish dinners. She will remain there through the 2012 summer Olympics.

ChristinaO-Benoit-Donne-SuperYachtPhoto

Click here to read a feature article from the March-April 2002 issue.

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