Christina O, which for decades was the world’s most talked about yacht, has berthed in Canary Wharf’s South Quay. The 325-ft vessel is usually at home in Monaco, where the only people who step aboard are those rich enough to charter her for 45,000 to 65,000 Euros. Now visitors can pay £15 to see how the other half lives, and even have a chance to dine or hold a business meeting (for only 600 Euros!) in what the London Evening Standard has called “by far the costliest restaurant in the capital”.
The Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis bought the ship, a Canadian frigate, at the end of World War II for $34,000, and converted it into his luxurious floating home (which cost him approximately $4 million), naming it after his daughter and living on it from 1954 until his death in 1974. This is where he wooed and won the heart of Maria Callas, casting her aside for Jackie Kennedy. He married the US president’s widow on Skiathos, the island he owned, and celebrated with a reception on board. Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly of Monaco also had their wedding reception on Christina O.
After Onassis passed away, his daughter Christina took the yacht only to gift it to the Greek government, thus causing its near ruin.
The last owner of the yacht was the late Pavlos Papanikolaou, who bought it in 1998, rebuilt it in 2001 and had it chartered for the first time in 2006. The owners of the yacht remain unknown ever since.
Its exploitation as a restaurant could allow possible buyers to admire it and finally lead them to its acquisition.