The boat originally served as a Canadian anti-submarine River-class frigate called HMCS Stormont, launched in 1943. Onassis purchased the Stormont after the end of World War II, as it was one of the many surplus naval vessels. Purchasing the ship at scrap value of US$34,000, Onassis then spent an additional US$4 million to convert the vessel into a luxurious superyacht, named after his daughter Christina.
The conversion made full use of the navy ship’s size and powerful naval engineering systems to create large, ornate interiors and elaborate luxuries. A perfect example could be mosaic swimming pool that once drained can be raised up to deck level to become a dance floor. Christina O set a new standard for lavish personal yachts, especially as she was rebuilt amidst the austerity of post-war Europe.
Guests included John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and John Wayne.