For sale: a trip on Onassis's yacht - for £1m

Yacht that hosted Hollywood legends available for two-week hire, complete with Michelin chef and use of private jet
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The Independent Travel

It is billed as the most expensive holiday of all time - £1m for a two-week Mediterranean cruise aboard one of the world's most famous yachts. The Christina O, formerly owned by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, was a favourite summer haunt of Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Elizabeth Taylor during the 1950s and 1960s.

It is billed as the most expensive holiday of all time - £1m for a two-week Mediterranean cruise aboard one of the world's most famous yachts. The Christina O, formerly owned by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, was a favourite summer haunt of Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo and Elizabeth Taylor during the 1950s and 1960s.

Now it's available for hire in a luxury package deal, scheduled for next May. For the £1m, holidaymakers will also get unlimited champagne for the fortnight, the use of a private jet and helicopter, a double Michelin-starred chef and 36 staff.

The holiday, which went up for sale on the website lastminute.com this weekend, takes in the south of France and the Italian riviera, including VIP visits to the Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival, as well as glamorous onboard parties and firework displays.

The yacht's 16 state rooms can accommodate up to 32 people. The holiday begins in St Tropez and takes in several destinations before passengers disembark at Cala di Volpe.

Rental of the yacht for two weeks costs around £520,000, with the remainder of the cost coming from entertainment, transfers and "provisions". The private jet alone costs £80,000 for the fortnight, with the day at the Grand Prix - including a private apartment overlooking the race - costing £50,000.

Brent Hoberman, chief executive of lastminute.com, said the website was prepared for a lot of genuine inquiries about the holiday despite the price."We are anticipating a lot of interest, although I imagine there will only be a handful of people who have pockets deep enough to afford it," he said. The former floating home of multi-millionaire Onassis, Christina O was named after his daughter. The yacht has played host to a host of Hollywood stars including Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Grace Kelly.

Originally conceived as the most luxurious yacht of all time, the Christina O is now more than 60 years old, but at 100 metres long, she remains the eighth largest private yacht on the seas.

Mike Kopman, of the magazine Yachting World, said whoever bought the holiday could look forward to an unbelievable trip - but should be aware that, despite a recent major refit, the Christina O's glory days were behind her.

"She was by far the most luxurious of her time - completely decadent and over the top. Some of the bar stools were even rumoured to be upholstered in whale penis skin," Mr Kopman said. "But a lot of people say she's very ugly. She looks a bit like a 65-year-old movie star after two facelifts too many."

Despite this, Mr Kopman said the price tag was not fanciful. "There are boats out there going for between £300,000 and £400,000 a week, so £1m for a fortnight is possible. That sort of money is mind-boggling, but there are undoubtedly people out there with it, and willing to spend it."

The Christina O is now owned by an old friend of the Onassis family, Greek shipping tycoon John Paul Papanicolaou, who spent £50m on a three-year refit. But Keith Betton, of the Association of British Travel Agents, was sceptical of the likely popularity of the offer. "I think it's a holiday we'd all like if we had 30 friends with £30,000 each, but when you're paying that much - it's about being seen and the publicity it will bring," he said. "If I was paying that much, I'd want to be able to meet the Pope, George Bush and Madonna too."

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