When it comes to judging the richest man of our time, there are no published figures by which to measure him. There is the Aga Khan's weight in diamonds, the Gulbenkian legend, an oil baron's gushers. And there is Aristoteles Socrates Onassis' yacht. More than his reputed $300 million, his million tons of tankers and freighters, his whaling fleet, his casino at Monte Carlo, the yacht Christina speaks of the Onassis fortune. This modern Midas, his wife and two children live on this splendid vessel, a 322-foot, 1,800-ton converted destroyer escort, staffed by a crew of 48. She carries every modern navigational gadget and is so mechanically perfect that the captain's greatest challenge is to push the correct button. Her twin Vickers-Armstrong reciprocating engines produce a horsepower of 5,700, a speed of 20 knots. When this is not sufficient for Onassis, there is on board a motorboat that will do 60 mph, an amphibious plane that will do 200. But her real distinction is her interior: as the pictures on the following pages show, she is beyond doubt the most lavishly fitted vessel of her size that ever rode the ocean wave.
"Christina," once a Canadian destroyer escort, was refitted with superstructure of aluminum built onto original hull. Twin-engine amphibious plane rests on afterdeck.
Onassis takes it easy on pool deck of his floating villa.
Athena Onassis, the yacht owner's 26-year-old blonde wife, takes the sun on stern of the Christina.
Swimming pool's bottom of mosaic tile can be raised to form a dance floor or deck for alfresco lunch.
Onassis children, Christina, 5, and Alexander, 8, have supper with their governess, Kathleen Lehane, in Bemelmans-decorated dining room.
Vertes Murals, gifts of the artist, decorate the yacht's formal blue-and-crimson dining room. They represent the four seasons, with Mrs. Onassis, as Winter, skating in the panel at left, the children, as Spring, in the one at right.
Game room, part of the master suite on upper deck, is paneled in teak. It has a working fireplace and is furnished with Chinese bric-a-brac from the Onassises' collection. This room and the pool area are favorite spots.
El Greco Madonna, over desk in game room, is finest of many paintings on the Christina.
Well-Stocked bar, paneled in oak, has stool tops of whale leather, footrests and handles of whale teeth engraved with the story of Ulysses.
Drawing room is done in ecru and deep rose. Although the upholstered furniture was made especially for the yacht, most of the accessories are favorite possessions of the Onassises that came from their Antibes house.
Master bedroom of the most luxurious yacht afloat is part of the owners' four-room suite. The Onassises decorated the Christina themselves.
Master bathroom, like the other 12 baths aboard, is of marble. It has gilt dolphin spigots, quartz knobs to match the marble, mosaic dolphins in the sunken tub.