What’s It Like to Visit Aristotle Onassis’s Yacht?

The Christina O has a long history

Onassis yacht
The Christina O in 2002.
Jean-Claude Deutsch/Paris Match via Getty Images

The Christina O might not be a household name, but it does have the distinction of being one of the better-known yachts in the world. That fame largely stems from its onetime owner Aristotle Onassis, who hosted star-studded parties there along with Jackie Onassis in the 1970s. More recently, the yacht in question was in the news when it was made available to rent on a week-by-week basis.

All of which begs the question: what’s it like to set foot on a yacht where the Onassis family hosted some of the biggest names of the 20th century? In a new piece for Air Mail, Oline Eaton visited the Christina O and offered an evenhanded take on the good and bad aspects of the Onassises’ onetime vessel.

First and foremost, Eaton’s article punctures some illusions about the yacht’s reputation. “I wouldn’t say it was opulent,” Eaton writes. “I would say it was dumpy.” Eaton’s not just citing her own experience of the yacht here, however. She also cites comments made by both Aristotle and Jackie Onassis about the frustrations they had with the vessel during their lifetimes, from the overall condition of the yacht to the size of its swimming pool.

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That isn’t to say that the version of the Onassises’ yacht that Eaton saw in person was quite the same boat that it was in the 1970s. Eaton writes that “the yacht was severely corporatized” by the time she set foot on it. But she also writes of one of the more insightful aspects of visiting it — becoming more aware of the yacht as a home, with all of the quotidian details that comes with. The Christina O has plenty of history, it turns out — but in a different way than some visitors might expect.

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