We very much enjoyed the Freestyle dining when we sailed on the NCL Wind. It allowed us to eat when we wanted to and not when we had to. Some nights we wanted to eat early and other nights we chose to eat at 8 or 9pm.
We never made reservations except for the one night we ate at the restaurant that had a cover charge. We found if you want to eat at the busiest time you should have a reservation. Otherwise we never waited more than 15 - 20 minutes for a table.
We were also asked if we wanted to join another table. If yes we would be seated almost immediately. If we wanted to dine alone we would have a small wait. The only downfall is if you enjoy your waiter you do not see him every night like on set dining times but we were told we could always request a specific waiter if you dined in the same restaurant. Also if you do not like your table mates you know the next night will be other mates or not.
We were planning on sailing the Pearl in Nov and looking forward to the freesyle dining but yesterday we changed it to HAL new ship Eurodam.